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!)

Ingredients:

Filling:

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

Dough:

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

Icing:

1½ cups (190 grams) icing sugar, sifted

juice of 2 lemons

multi-colored sprinkles

Directions:


  • 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.

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