Cuccidati cookies are one of my favorite Christmas time treats and traditions. These cookies are like Italian fig newtons – gooey and chewy! They are not easy to make and require about two days’ time but they are worth it! I recommend using a lot of flour for dusting and a stand mixer to work with the dough. Prepare the filling and dough a day ahead as well. I like to serve these cookies with both frosting and sprinkles as well as dusted with powdered sugar. This recipe yields a couple dozen, depending on how you cut them. Enjoy these incredible cookies this holiday season!
For the dough:
- 4 cups ap flour + more for dusting
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fresh grated orange zest
For the filling:
- 2 cups figs
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup dark rum or brandy
- 1 tsp fresh grated orange zest + juice of 1 orange
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Optional: Sprinkles
- Prepare the filling a day ahead. Using a food processor, pulse the figs and raisins until blended, then add the honey, brandy, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and walnuts. Pulse until well combined. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate covered overnight.
- Prepare the dough a day ahead as well. Note: To make the dough, I recommend using a stand mixer. If you are using a hand mixer, use a large bowl. If you are using a food processor, divide the recipe in two because it may not fit. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Next, add the butter and pulse or mix until you have a coarse texture. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, zest and milk and process until you get a smooth dough.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece. Lay one piece of dough on top of parchment paper, then add another piece of parchment on top, followed by another piece of dough. Layer the rest of the dough with parchment in between and let rest in the fridge covered overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Using a well floured rolling pin, roll out 1 piece of the dough on a well floured work surface to about 1/2 inch thickness and into the shape of a rectangle. Note: This dough can be difficult to work with depending on your homes temperature and humidity, use plenty of flour to prevent sticking. Cut the rectangle into 4 even strips, lengthwise.
- Add the filling down the center of each strip then fold sides over filling to enclose it, pinching edges together to seal. Turn the rolls seam side down and press gently to seal. Flatten slightly.
- Repeat until you’ve used all of the dough and filling.
- Cut the logs crosswise with a floured knife and place the cookies on greased baking sheets about a 1/2 inch apart.
- Bake the cookies 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on the sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- While the cookies are baking, make the frosting by whisking the powdered sugar, vanilla, and orange juice. Alternatively, you can just dust the cookies with powdered sugar or prepare the cookies both ways.
- Frost the cookies and add sprinkles.
- Serve and enjoy!