- All-purpose flour 2 1/2 cups sifted
- Sugar 1/2 cup • 470 kcal
- Baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons • 156 kcal
- Salt 1/4 teaspoon • 1 kcal
- Unsalted butter 1 stick (4 oz. or 113g)
- Eggs 2 large • 130 kcal
- Vanilla Extract 1/2 teaspoon
- Milk 1/4 cup • 49 kcal
- dried figs 1 lb. (450g) , chopped*
- seedless raisins 1 cup
- Orange juice and zest of 1
- toasted walnuts 1/2 lb. (225g) , chopped
- Honey 1 cup
- Dark Rum 1/2 cup
- Ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
- Powdered sugar 1 1/2 cups
- Orange juice 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed
- colored sprinkles
These cute little cookies (cuccidati) are filled with moist figs, walnuts, rum, raisins and honey, and they are traditionally made in Italy to celebrate various holidays – especially Christmas!
The filling can be a bit fiddly to make, but it’s worth it for the finished product – these delicious little cookies are dipped in a sweet orange glaze and decorated with sugar sprinkles. It would be extremely difficult for you to get the filling texture right without a food processor, so make sure you have some way of blending the ingredients to a fine paste.
The Italians tend to use figs as the main part of the filling because figs are plentiful and not too expensive, but figs aren’t freely available year-round in the UK, so you can choose another dried fruit (such as apricots) if you prefer.
For the dough: Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse again. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk and process until you get a smooth dough.
Shape into a disk, cut into 4 equal pieces, wrap in plastic, and store in the fridge until needed.
For the filling: In a food processor, pulse the figs, raisins, orange zest, orange juice, and walnuts until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the honey, rum, and cinnamon. Mix well.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/180C fan/gas mark 6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
To shape the cookies: Working with 1 piece of the dough at a time, roll it out to an 8 x 8-inch (20x20cm) square and cut it in half.
Brush the bottom inch of each piece with cold water. Spoon the filling from one end of each piece to another (in the center) in a thick ribbon.
Fold the moistened edge of the dough over the filling and press to seal.
Cut each strip into 1-inch (2.5cm) sections. Transfer the cut cookies onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with all the remaining dough. Don't overcrowd your baking sheets – leave some space between the cookies.
Bake the cookies for about 14-16 minutes until their tops are golden. When done, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before covering with the icing.
Meanwhile, prepare the icing by whisking the sugar and orange juice in a small bowl until smooth.
Dip the top of each cookie in the icing and top with the colored sprinkles. Let the icing harden before serving.
If you don’t like walnuts, try with hazelnuts instead. A mixture of a few kinds of nuts can also be used.
You can use marsala instead of rum or brandy if you prefer.
A mixture of figs and apricots, or figs and dates can be used if you prefer.