recipe

Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati): the original sicilian recipe

Total time: 60 Min
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 6-8
By Cookist
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Ingredients
Figs
400g, dried
Sugar
3 tbsp
Butter
2 tbsp
Water
235ml (1 cup)
Walnuts
100g (1 cup), chopped
Cinnamon
1 tsp
Butter
200g, softened
Oil
220ml (1 cup)
Sugar
200g (1 cup)
Yogurt
2 tbsp
Egg
1
Cocoa powder
1 tsp
vanilla sugar
10g
Baking powder
10g
All-purpose flour
620g (5 cups)

These fig cookies go by many names: Cucidati, Sicilian fig cookies, Christmas fig cookies…no matter what you call them, they are delicious. The traditional recipe produces a buttery sugar cookie with notes of orange and lemon. The cookies originated in Sicily, and today most families have their own recipe that has come along for generations, each with their own twist. They would often make it in large batches, ready to be devoured over the Christmas time.

Because of the various influences, the Italian fig cookie is a melting pot of cultures, with figs from Greece and spices (like cinnamon) from the Arabs.

How to make Fig Cookies from scratch

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Cut the figs into small cubes.

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Place the fig pieces in a saucepan. Add the 2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup water, 1 cup walnuts, and 1 teaspoons cinnamon. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

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In another bowl, add 200g butter, 1 cup oil, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 10g vanilla sugar, 10 g baking powder. Use a wooden spoon to mix well.

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Add the all-purpose flour, in small portions, mixing well after each addition.

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Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes too thick, then use your hands to make sure the dough is smooth.

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Roll the dough into a thick log.

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Divide the dough into small portions.

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Place a square of clingfilm on a clean work bench. Add a small portion of dough to the clingfilm and flatten slightly. Add a teaspoon of the fig filling to the center.

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Use the clingfilm to close the ball dough.

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Form a fig shape.

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Put the cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes at 180°C/ 350°F.

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Sprinkle it with powdered sugar.

Can you freeze Fig Cookies?

The baked fig cookies can be frozen. You can also freeze the unbaked cookies. If you want to bake them, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and proceed with the recipe as normal.

The fig filling will keep in the refrigerator or up to 7 days (make sure to keep it covered). The dough should be wrapped tightly in clingfilm, and can be stored for up to 3 days. Store the baked cookies at room temperature in an airtight container.

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Instructions

Cut the figs into small cubes.

Place the fig pieces in a saucepan. Add the 2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup water, 1 cup walnuts, and 1 teaspoons cinnamon. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

In another bowl, add 200g butter, 1 cup oil, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 10g vanilla sugar, 10 g baking powder. Use a wooden spoon to mix well.

Add the all-purpose flour, in small portions, mixing well after each addition.

Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes too thick, then use your hands to make sure the dough is smooth.

Roll the dough into a thick log, and divide into small portions.

Place a square of clingfilm on a clean work bench. Add a small portion of dough to the clingfilm and flatten slightly. Add a teaspoon of the fig filling to the center.

Use the clingfilm to close the ball dough and form a fig shape.

Put the cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes at 180°C/ 350°F.

Sprinkle it with powdered sugar.

Notes

You can top the fig cookies with an orange glaze. Simply whisk together 1 cup superfine sugar, ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, and pour over cooled cookies. You can make them more like the traditional fig cookies with rainbow sprinkles on top. The cookies must be cooled completely before glazing!

You can use other dried fruits like dates or raisins. Feel free to add nuts for crunch.

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