These Italian Fig Cookies are also known as Cucidati, a tasty fig filling in a sandwiched between a buttery Italian cookie dough. The perfect cookie to have with an afternoon or morning tea or coffee!
These delicate Italian cookies are made with a dough called pasta frolla, which is also used to make Italian Christmas Cookies and different types of Crostate.
- Flour – all purpose flour at least 11% protein
- Powdered sugar – also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar
- Butter – softened
- Vanilla – vanilla extract
- Egg – large room temperature
Fig Filling Ingredients
- Figs – dried figs
- Lemon juice – fresh lemon juice or if you prefer you could use orange juice
- Lemon zest – fresh lemon zest or orange zest
- Sugar – granulated sugar or honey if preferred
- Water – fig water
Where is the origin of Italian Fig Cookies?
Italian fig cookies also known as Cucidati or Buccellati originated in Sicily in the Middle Ages, thanks to a community from Lucca who moved to Palermo. Here it later underwent the Arab influence and became what we know today. The cookie also occupies a place of honor among the Sicilian confectionery delicacies.
Like any traditional dish, it is difficult to establish the fig cookie recipe exactly, since it is found in different versions in the various parts of the island and everyone claims the origin as their own.
There are, in fact, variants filled with dried figs, with almonds instead of dried figs, some fillings contain walnuts, citron jam, orange marmalade, apricot jam, golden raisins, pine nuts, bits of chocolate, orange zest, or quince preserve and even the yellow melon.
In Sicilian pastry shops and bakeries you will even find large buccellati, decorated with sprinkles, covered with icing or even dusted with powdered sugar.
How to make Fig Cookies
Start by making the cookie dough, in a food processor or large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, add the butter, vanilla and egg.
Either pulse until the dough starts to come together or combine with a fork.
Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and gently knead to form a compact dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
While the dough is chilling make the fig filling, in a medium pot of boiling water cook the chopped figs until very tender. Remove with a slotted spoon into a blender or food processor.
Add the lemon juice, zest, sugar and a couple of tablespoons of fig water. Blend until completely mashed, if needed add more fig water. Let the mixture cool before spreading on the dough.
Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and roll into a rectangle, cut into 2 strips.
Spread the filling evenly about a half inch from the edge of each strip, fold the strip of dough over the filling, seal the seams with wet fingers.
Cut eight cookies from each strip, place the cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
While the oven is pre-heating refrigerate the cookies. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes on the pan then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you wish you could brush the cookies with milk and sprinkle with a little Demerara sugar before baking or some people like to dust the cookies with powdered/confectioners’ sugar before serving.
What are the best figs to use
You could use either a dried Calimyrna figs, they are a sweet fig which when fresh are a light green color, when dried they become a golden amber color.
Or Mission Figs, they have a deep purple skin when fresh and becomes almost black when dried. They are a bit sweeter and smaller than Calimyrna figs.
Figs can help promote a healthy digestion, they may also help in decreasing the risk of heart disease, and can help you manage your blood sugar levels.
- Be sure to use a flour with at least 11% protein, this will help the cookies from spreading.
- Be sure to chill the dough, this will also help with spreading and flavor of the cookie.
- Use a good quality butter, apparently in the past year store brand butter quality is not what it used to be. Less fat could mean a drier cookie dough and a not so tasty cookie.
Can the recipe be made in advance?
The cookie dough can be made in advance and refrigerated, it will last for up to 3 days in the fridge. It’s best not to chill the filled logs because the moisture from the filling can make the dough wet.
What substitutions can I make in the fig cookie recipe?
If you wish you could add some finely chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts to the filling, I would suggest about a quarter cup. Instead of fig water you could add some rum or a combination of the two. Instead of lemon you could use an orange. You could add a simple powdered sugar glaze to the cookie after they are completely cooled.
How to store the cookies
Store the completely cooled cookies in an airtight container, they can be stored at room temperature in a cool area for up to 3-4 days. If stored in the fridge they will last up to 6 days.
How to freeze the fig cookies
Freeze the completely cooled cookies in a freezer bag or container, with parchment paper between the layers. They will keep for up to three months in the freezer.
If you are fig lover like us then I hope you enjoy these Italian Fig Cookies and let me know what you think! Enjoy.
More Italian Cookies
- Abbracci Italian Cookies
- Italian Almond Cookies
- Italian Almond Cookies – Amaretti
- Italian Lemon Cookies
Italian Fig Cookies
- food processor or large bowl
- small pot
- Rolling Pin
- 1 baking sheet
FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH
- 1 cup + 1½ tablespoons all purpose flour (135 grams total)
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar (sifted)
- 1 pinch salt*
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup +½ tablespoon butter (softened)*
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
*If using unsalted butter then add ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- 5¼ ounces dried figs (chopped) either Calimyrna or Mission figs
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons fig water
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1-2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- In a food processor or large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, add the butter, vanilla and egg, either pulse until the dough starts to come together or combine with a fork.
- Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and gently knead to form a compact dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- In a medium pot of boiling water (make sure the water is enough to cover the figs) cook the chopped figs until very tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon into a blender or food processor.
- Add the lemon juice, zest, sugar and a couple of tablespoons of fig water. Blend until completely mashed, if needed add more fig water. Let the mixture cool before spreading on the dough.
- Remove the cookie dough from the fridge, place on a flat floured surface and roll (flour the rolling pin) into a rectangle, approximately 14×7 inches (35×18 cm), cut into 2 strips.
- Spread the filling evenly about a half inch from the edge of each strip, fold the strip of dough over the filling, seal the edges with wet fingers.
- Cut nine cookies from each strip, place the cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
- While the oven is pre-heating refrigerate the cookies, about 20 minutes. Bake* for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes on the pan then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
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