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Sicilian Fig Cookies

Sicilian fig-filled cookies are traditional for a wedding cookie cake. These can be made ahead, layered in airtight tins, and frozen until needed. Arrange them at the bottom of the cookie cake, since they are a little heavier than some of the other cookies. Makes 4 dozen



4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2cup sugar

1 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


2 cups dried figs

2 cups dried dates, pitted

1 1/2 cups raisins

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup orange marmalade

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) walnuts or almonds, coarsely chopped

1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Colored sprinkles


Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl.  Add the sugar and mix well.  Cut in the shortening with a fork and work the mixture until it looks like coarse cornmeal.

In a bowl, beat the egg, milk, and vanilla together.  Add to the flour and work the ingredients with your hands until a rough dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth.  The dough will be soft.  Cut the dough into 4 pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and chill for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.  Lightly grease two cookie sheets.  Grind the figs, dates, and raisins in a meat grinder or in a food processor until coarse.  Or coarsely chop with a large knife.  Place the mixture in a bowl, add the remaining filling ingredients, and mix well.  The mixture will be thick.  Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough at a time into a 12-inch square.  Cut the cough into 4-by-3-inch rectangles.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture down the center of each rectangle.  Carefully fold the long edges of each rectangle over to meet in the center, then pinch the seam to close securely.  Turn the cookies seam side down and seal the short ends by folding the dough under.  Shape the cookies into crescents and place on the cookie sheets.

Make 2 or 3 diagonal slits in the top of each crescent with scissors.  Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle on the colored sprinkles.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool on racks.

Note:  I wrap the crescents individually in plastic wrap, twist the ends, and tie them with ribbons.  They make a wonderful Christmas present.  They can be made ahead and frozen.

This recipe is from Celebrations Italian Style by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company in 1995.


  1. Terri's avatar


    Love these I use my homemade chunky fig jam instead of dried figs
  2. Maria's avatar


    Just made your cuccidati last week. Wish I could post a pic. ❤️ And have a merry Christmas !
  3. Rolseann Bianca Gillig's avatar

    Rolseann Bianca Gillig

    I make Cuccidati every November with my family, the kids cousins, friends it is the BEST time ever. We make over 500 everyone gets to take some home. For lunch we have pasta, sauce, sausage, meatballs, a salad, bread a real feast. Then back to the cookies and when they are cooled the kids get to frost and decorate. They have a blasé and so do the parents. This is my favorite thing to do with my family. It all started with my Aunt who was trying to keep up the tradition, I ran with and will continue until I pass the ball on to my daughter who already has it all down pat! We did not do them this year because I had cancer surgery, but next year bigger and better! Thanks for all you do love your show's and site!!
  4. Michele's avatar


    I love These Cookies My All time Favorite..... I make the Filling in Big batches and freeze it... It stays great.... This way you can make a quick batch without having to make the filling !!!
  5. Jo's avatar


    Just made these delicious cookies.

    Just let you know I found a typo in the dough directions... Lol it says cough

    "Cut the cough into 4-by-3-inch rectangles."
    Merry Christmas

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