If you follow me on Instagram or know me in real life, odds are good that you are aware of my Christmas cookie routine. Specifically, the Sicilian fig cookies I make.
Called cucidati, they consist of a not terribly attractive but delicious filling made of figs, dates, cinnamon, tangerine peel, chocolate and walnuts, wrapped up in a mild cookie dough and topped with citrus flavored icing. They are a Christmas tradition, one that I’ve only in recent years discovered that there are numerous versions of.
My maternal grandparents grew up in the same small town in Italy, and their families lived there for as long as we know. This is interesting and convenient because it keeps pretty much my mother’s entire family history not only in Sicily, but in this town – which was extremely handy this past summer when I found records from the only church in town and was able to dig up records going back to the early 1800s.
My grandparents made these cookies every year. I specifically remember my grandfather’s version, a massive cookie stuffed with the filling. With both grandma and grandpa gone, I’ve taken it upon myself to make the cucidati for Christmas each year.
You know me, I’m a sucker for traditions and old school methods. Carrying on a family recipe is very much a me thing to do.
This year, I stumbled upon my grandmother’s handwritten recipe for the dough, written on a crinkled rectangle of paper and stuck in my recipe binder.
I’ve just finished my third (and likely final) batch for this year. They’re just so good! I’m outlining the general idea below, for if you’d like to give it a try. If you like Fig Newton’s, these are a must.