Sicilian Girl’s Cuccidati Recipe

 

cuccidati cookie and coffeeEach year I put aside a small container of these Sicilian specialties to be enjoyed long after the holidays have passed. As much as I enjoy the holiday season, I’ve always looked forward to the New Year with anticipation of things to come. New projects, new adventures, new beginnings, new people that will come into our lives. But when the last Christmas decoration is tucked away, and the house is quiet … too quiet, I take out my container of Cuccidati. Curled up in a big cozy chair, a cup of coffee in hand, I count my many blessings and reminisce of holidays past and of life itself … and I am grateful. In the event any family members are reading this and I may have told you that ALL the Cuccidati were gone … OOPS!   my bad.

Want to read the story of this special Christmas cookie? Go to The Cuccidati Story

This recipe is in two parts: the filling and the cookie dough. Make the filling a few days ahead. Make the dough when you are ready to bake the cookies

 Ingredients

cuccidatti ingredients

  • 7 pounds dried figs
  • 2.5 pounds raisins
  • 1 pound dates
  • 8oz. citron
  • 8 oz candied lemon or orange peel (I used lemon)
  • 2 pounds walnuts
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 16oz light karo syrup
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound chocolate pieces (I use dark chocolate bars/you could use choc.chips)
  • 1 cup strong black coffee***

Steps

grind ingredients

 

 

Put dried and candied fruits through grinder. Next I grind the walnuts and chocolate together to keep the mixer from clogging up and melting the chocolate. All done? Great! Now, grind it all again. (I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer with the grinder attachment)

 

 

 

In a large bowl with the filling, add the Marsala, syrup, nutmeg and mix very well.

This may look like a cutting board but it’s actually a very very large wooden bowl. It is so large I often joke that I used it to bath my son when he was a baby. It’s that big, but I didn’t … really.

 

 

Now make a pot of strong coffee…have a cup or two. Even when I wasn’t old enough to reach the counter, my grandmother always made a cup of coffee for me too(of course there was more milk than coffee)

***To tell you the truth, I can’t remember if we just drank the coffee or we put it in the filling. I do, however, put it in. I think the heat from the hot coffee helps mix the ingredients.  The coffee is the last ingredient to add to the filling, mix well.

Cover & let mellow for several days.

The filling makes enough for approx. 15 wreaths (7-8”) and a couple batches of cookies.

Cookie Dough

Makes about 84 cookies
(I think I made 5 or 6 batches for all the filling, I lost count!)

Ingredients

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 T baking powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup Crisco
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • ¾ whole milk

Steps

Make the dough:

  • Cut Crisco and butter into flour, sugar and baking powder. (I do this in my Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment).
  • Make a well into flour mixture, add eggs, vanilla and milk. (Now, I take off the whisk attachment and use the paddle).
  • Mix until well blended. Tear off chunk of dough.
  • Roll into strips about 12”long-4”wide-3/8”thick.

Add the filling to the dough:

filling on dough

dough fold onedough fold twoPut a strip of fig filling down the center and crimp dough on top. I turn the seem side down. You now have a rope.

 

 

Now it is time to decide between cookies and a wreath.

For Cookies:

Split for cookies

 

 

Cut the dough log diagonally. Bake @350 degrees-approx. 17-18 minutes until very, barely lightly golden (not brown).

 

 

 

Decorated Cuccidati

 

Decorate the completed cookies.
Mix 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 3 tablespoons whole milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until smooth and there are no lumps. Ice a few at a time and sprinkle with (nonpareils).
Store at room temperature in airtight container or wrap well and freeze. ENJOY!

 

 

For a wreath

shape dough

 

 

Shape rope into circle.

 

 

cut dough for wreath

 

 

Cut slits into the dough and place it on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

 

 

separate dough

 

Fan the slits out slightly.

 

 

 

cooked wreath

 

 

 

Bake @350 degrees-approx. 20 min. until very lightly golden (not brown)

 

 

 

The final wreath will look something like this:

Decorated Cuccidati Wreath

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10 Responses to “Sicilian Girl’s Cuccidati Recipe”

  1. Eric
    November 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Hi,
    I’m getting ready to make cuccidati with my two sons next weekend. My grandmother was Sicilian, so I can’t wait to try this out! When you let the filling rest for several days, do you refrigerate it? Or just cover it and let it stand at room temp?
    Thanks for this great recipe!

    • Catherine
      November 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      The bowl I always use is so big that it doesn’t even fit in the refrigerator, so it didn’t occur to me to mention it sits on the counter (sorry for the lack of clarity). Because of the high sugar content in the dried fruits and the fact that the filling has no eggs or dairy makes it pretty safe to not need refrigeration. I hope the making of cuccidati becomes a long lasting tradition with you and your boys!

  2. September 7, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    This recipe is great, just the correct flavorings , They are worth the time that goes into them. I priced them in an Italian Deli , the cost fifteen dollars a pound,

    • Catherine
      September 9, 2016 at 9:18 am #

      Even though this is not an inexpensive cookie to make, it is more economical, they are made with love and they just taste SO much better! Thank you for your comment.

  3. Jeff Pucciarello
    November 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    My Family has made these cookies forever! One of the truly Italian traditions passed down from generation to generation. We actually have a day that we all gather together as a family to make these for Christmas. My Father grinds the filling and my Mother, Sister, My Wife and I roll the dough and fill. We make individual rolls and they look different than yours but the recipe is similar. We divide the cookies, I know that my sister always gets more. Lol We enjoy them throughout the season. It reminds me of my Grandmother, who was an Angel and my childhood. Some recipes go deeper, I guess, and this one warms my heart.

    • Catherine
      November 16, 2016 at 9:33 am #

      Now that my son (only child) is married and has just become a father, I am beyond excited to gather as a family and make this Sicilian specialty. Your story made my heart smile, thank you for sharing!

  4. Janet
    December 28, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    Where do you purchase your ingredients for the cuucidati? In reading your recipe, I believe these are the very cookies my family made in masse every Christmas season. I’m thrilled I discovered your website and your most helpful information.
    Merry Christmas + Happy New Year!

    • Catherine
      December 28, 2016 at 11:33 am #

      Janet,
      You should be able to find all of the ingredients in the market. I use organic NON-GMO figs that are sun-dried and unsulfured (and there is no added sugar). They come in 40 ounce packages and are available at Costco. Hope this helps. Happy Baking!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cuccidati - Sicilian GirlSicilian Girl - December 5, 2011

    […] Cuccidati are Sicilian Christmas cookies. Every year for as long as I can remember, my grandmother made these delicious biscotti. […]

  2. Cuccidati - Sicilian GirlSicilian Girl - January 25, 2012

    […] Cuccidati are Sicilian Christmas cookies. Every year for as long as I can remember, my grandmother made these delicious biscotti. […]

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