Cuccidati – Sicilian Fig Cookies

Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies - minus the icing and rainbow sprinkles
Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies - minus the icing and rainbow sprinkles

The micro-regionality of Italian life is mind blowing.  Take for example, regional dialects which until recently varied drastically every few kilometers and often divided villages.  In the southewestern region of Calabria near Bagnara Calabra a handful of regional dialects are still spoken and while the 4-5 villages comprising the Comune di Bagnara Calabra (RC) are separated by only 3-5 kilometers you’d be hard pressed to recognize any similarities between, say, the dialect of the Bagnarese from the villagers in Pellegrina or Ceramida.

Thus, micro-regionality is a big theme in Italian life and it cuts across varying areas such as language, culture,  and food.   Cuccidati, or Sicilian Fig Cookies, is a further example of the aforementioned principle.  For many Italian-Americans who have ancestors  hailing from Sicilia, the Cuccidati cookie is a standard Christmas time tradition.  However, for many Italians with  Calabrian roots the Cuccidati may as well be a chocolate chip cookie as the Sicilian cookie filled with figs, dates, raisins, and nuts and tucked into a sweet dough is a foreign food.  The lack of a Cuccidati cookie baking tradition surprises many but it’s a good example of how dishes and food still vary from region to region (and, at times, from village to village) in southern Italy.

The following Cuccidati recipe hails from a Sicilian neighbor; she was also kind enough to share the cookies in the accompanying photos (thank you Karen!).

Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies - minus the icing and rainbow sprinkles
Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies - minus the icing and rainbow sprinkles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Many
  • 10 ounces - 1 pound chopped walnuts
  • 8 - 10 ounces chopped hazelnuts
  • 8 - 10 ounces chopped almonds
  • 40 ounces dried figs
  • 30 ounces (2 large boxes) dark raisins
  • 24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 cups flour
  • 12 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 bars softened margarine
  • 12 eggs
  • 6 teaspoons vanilla
  2. Roast chopped nuts in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Be careful not to burn nuts. Set nuts aside to cool. Soak figs in warm water until soft. Drain softened figs. Remove stems and cut in quarters. Grind figs and raisins in food processor. Bring 4 cups water and 1 cup sugar to a boil. Mix sugar water into fig and raisin mixture. Allow mixture to cool and then add cooled roasted nuts. When mixture is completely cool, stir in chocolate. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let stand at room temperature for at least a couple of hours before assembling the cookies. It will be easier to handle.
  3. DOUGH
  4. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add bars of margarine and mix until the dough is crumbly. Beat eggs and vanilla. Add eggs and vanilla to dry ingredients little by little while working the dough. Work the dough until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. A small amount of milk can be added if the dough seems dry. I mix the dough by hand, but a food processor can be used. I wrap the dough in saran wrap and store it in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. Roll the dough into long strips about 2 inches wide. Place filling along strips of dough. Fold sides of dough up and pinch to close. Cut strips into desired shapes. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 to 375 for a total of 20 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack and for another ten minutes on the top rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.
  7. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so you might want to make only a half or a third of this amount.
Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies - minus the icing and rainbow sprinkles
Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies - minus the icing and rainbow sprinkles


  1. I love Cuccidati – Italian Fig Newtons, but MUCH better! Grazie, Vince e Karen, e buon Natale!

  2. Martha Diecidue Castel

    I love your recipes! They are clear to follow and the picture helps. I would love to make the Cuccidati, but the recipe is much to large to make, I would be eating them morning, noon and night until they were all gone. Please keep up the good work, it shows you really enjoy doing this. May your holidays be peaceful and full of love.

  3. Vince, Merry Christmas to you and your family. My
    family makes the ciccidati also. The only difference is that we soak the figs
    in whiskey or brandy for a couple of months. A few years ago when in the
    process of moving from Los Angeles to Washington State I had a quart of dried
    figs soaking for almost two years – they got lost in the one of the moving
    boxes but showed up in time to bake. The cookies were awesome. Grandma’s recipe
    makes a HUGE amount. So I just freeze the filling and it’s good for a couple of
    years. Fermenting in all that whiskey how can it go bad?

  4. With these pictures I can say that Italy is not all about the historical museums, castles, arts and everything it’s all about food! When you say pasta, what comes into people’s mind is “italian/italy”. So if you are going to travel Italy make sure you don’t just go for a tour and take pictures, go and eat a lot.. 🙂

  5. Hi, can you tell me how much “8 bars” of margarine equals? OK if I use real butter?

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