Gay Dad Life

Grandma Helga's Cucidati Cookies


I grew up in my Italian parents' bakery with an endless supply of cookies. It was any kid's dream come true! Still, no amount of bakeshop treats could compare to my grandma's homemade cookies. My grandma lives in Buffalo, New York and comes over for the weekend to stay with us. She is an amazing cook and always made the best treats for us! I would look forward to her lemon-iced shortbread, rum balls and lily cookies. My favorite cookies are her cucidati, fig-filled cookies with a hint of orange and a dash of whiskey. No wonder I like these so much! I asked my grandma for her secret recipe and she happily shared it. I have been making them as gifts for friends, co-workers and neighbors, or when I'm craving that fix of childhood sweets. I will now share the recipe with you. (But shhh, don't tell my grandma!)



1 lb (454 grams) dried figs, hard pieces removed from the tips

1 cup (150 grams) seedless raisins, rehydrated (soaked in water)

zest of 2 large oranges

½ lb (225 grams) walnuts or hazelnut meats, roasted and chopped (optional)

1 cup (340 grams) honey

½ cup (120 ml) bourbon whiskey

1 tsp cinnamon


5 cups (625 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted

1 cup (200 grams) sugar

5 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup (225 grams) butter, softened

4 eggs

1 tsp clear vanilla

½ cup (240 ml) milk


1½ cups (190 grams) icing sugar, sifted

juice of 2 lemons

multi-colored sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
  • Prepare baking sheets with parchment  paper.
  • In a food processor, grind figs, raisins, orange zest and nuts. (Add juice from oranges, one teaspoon at a time, if consistency is too thick for the processor.)
  • Stir in honey, whiskey and cinnamon. The filling will get very thick. Set aside.
  • In large mixing bowl, sift flour, then add sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Cut butter into flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal or breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and milk until dough is smooth. On a flat surface, knead dough with your hands and form into a ball.
  • .

  • On a flour-dusted surface, roll out dough with a rolling pin until dough is approx. ¼" [6 mm] thick. Cut into 4"-wide (10 cm) strips.
  • Fit a piping bag with a round tip. (If you don't have a piping bag, you can fill a Ziploc bag and cut a corner off.) Fill the bag with the fig filling and pipe in the center of the strip of dough. Carefully envelope (fold the dough over) the fig filling until it is completely covered.
  • Cut the dough on an angle into 1.5" (4 cm) pieces.
  • Place cookie pieces on the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, approximately 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven).
  • When cooled, decorate with icing sugar mixture and sprinkle with multi-colored sprinkles.
  • Keep extra filling in an airtight container in the fridge for one week.

    Show Comments ()
    Personal Essays by Gay Dads

    Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

    Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

    Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

    Keep reading... Show less
    Gay Dad Life

    10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

    Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

    Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

    Keep reading... Show less
    Gay Dad Life

    What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

    We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

    March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

    The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

    Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

    The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

    "Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

    Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

    The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

    "My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

    "This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."

    Expert Advice

    4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

    Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

    There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

    Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

    Keep reading... Show less
    Change the World

    After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

    After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

    Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

    We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

    Keep reading... Show less
    Personal Essays by Gay Dads

    How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (A Guide for Gay Dads)

    Turns out David Blacker is, in fact, experiencing a midlife crisis — according to the very official results of a Buzzfeed quiz

    Today I took one of those Buzzfeed-like quizzes to determine whether or not I am having a midlife crisis. I know what you're thinking. How can 29 be considered mid-life? God bless you, but I'm actually 35. Fine, 41. The Buzzfeed results — granted, we're not talking a true clinical assessment here — implied that I am, in fact, showing symptoms of a midlife crisis. But instead of shopping for a new sports car, I'm looking around for something else.

    Problem is, I don't quite know what that is yet.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Fatherhood, the gay way

    Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

    Follow Gays With Kids

    Powered by RebelMouse