Holiday Baking has Begun!

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I don’t consider myself a baker, using exact measurements is a difficult thing for me to do, as regular readers of my blog well know, but there are certain things I must bake every holiday season and one thing is Italian fig cookies or Cucidati, they’re truly a family favorite.
I’ve posted them a few times before but since my blog chronicles my life in food I thought I’d share some recent pic’s of the day we made them. I say “we” because I never make them alone, always with family, we make a day of it, we start early, I usually always make a pot of soup or chili to eat for lunch because we go way beyond lunch time!

I have a big dining room table, I clear everything off and cover it with wax paper, after they cool on racks they get placed there waiting to be frosted.

There were four of us, we ended up making a little over 400, we started at 9:00am and ended at 4pm, not bad! We each took 100 plus for ourselves.
We started off drinking coffee as we worked.
But as the day went on we were sipping this! Have you tried? Dumante, it’s a pistachio liqueur, luxurious, smooth and might I add, it went very well with our cucidati taste testing!
I love it so much I made a zabaione with it a couple of days later, a light boozy custard usually made with marsala wine, but I replaced it with Dumante Verdenoce.
Here’s how you make it in case you happen to pick up a bottle.
1/4 cup of Dumante** 1/4 cup granulated sugar** 1/4 cup heavy cream** 3 egg yolks**
Set up a pan of simmering water** place a heat safe bowl on top of the water filled with all the ingredients** whisk the mixture continuously over simmering water, not boiling.** cook until you get a consistency of a thin pudding with the internal temp of 145 degrees** remove and continue whisking until you reach room temperature** if it’s too thick add cream or water.**
I make the same recipe every year for the fig cookies, it’s so similar to my mother-in laws except butter is replaced for the Crisco that she always used, here’s the link.
We never made them in the form of X’s but rather like above. You can change up the nuts, sometimes I use walnuts instead, and in place of orange peels I find a good orange marmalade to work wonderfully, you could also replace whiskey for the rum. As I mentioned before we never put chocolate in ours but it’s optional.
We always glaze them by using confectioners sugar mixed with water or milk, vanilla, and sometimes a little anise extract. Non- perils for sprinkling.
Happy Holiday Baking!

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  1. Oh Marie – You’re killing me. Can I be an “honorary” cousin?

  2. I wish I had a plate of these wonderful cookies right now to nibble on! I miss baking for Christmas this year but I know I’ll make up for it next year when i’m with my family in Colorado!

  3. I was just looking for fig recipes too.

  4. Seeing your annual cucidati post always brings happy memories for me, Marie! Your cookie started me on the idea for our blog…I’ll be making my x version this Christmas Eve and Day, my new tradition. I like the change up of whiskey…Mmmm, right up my alley. 😉 Thanks to you, I’ve discovered SO many amazing Italian treats and savory dishes. Thank you for sharing with us! Happy Holidays!! Lv, me

  5. I love fig cookies, I think my whole family did. Not sure I ever made them. Now I am having “oven” trouble, happened while baking a Thanksgiving pie, spill on the oven floor, won’t for the life of me come off, I’ve tried everything. Oven can’t be lit even low it smokes!! Every day I keep at it, but doesn’t look like I’ll be baking cookies this year. 🙁 xo

  6. I love fig cookies and apparently my fiancee loves them even more than i do. He ended up eating a bunch of them. I was one of the helpers and I really enjoyed it. Thanks to Marie, for a wonderful day with family and food and drinks. Marie S.

  7. Yum, looks delicious! I love fig cookies!

  8. What an absolutely wonderful day that must have been! And I must try that pistachio liqueur — even if I never get around to the cookies!

  9. First the ravioli marathon and now this? Where do you find time to sleep? You have my undying admiration (but then again, you have always had that).

    I tried Dumante once as an after dinner drink at an Italian restaurant in NYC on my 40th birthday. It was a treat. I wanted it more. However, it is almost impossible to find in my neck of the woods. I suppose there has to be a liquor store in teh city that sells it. The question is whether or not it will be conveniently located to my office.

  10. These cookies bring back so many memories. My Sicilian Nana made them, then my Mom made them for us….they are my Dad’s favorite. I never knew anyone else who made them, until my daughter married a nice Sicilian boy. His family makes them too! Thanks for sharing these every year!

  11. Cucidati are my favorite cookie! Happy baking Marie. xo

  12. I was just looking at one of those cookies at a local Italian bakery, and wondering what it was. Now I know. Yours look much better. These look like a sophisticated Fig Newton… only better. Pistachio liqueur? Count me in! OMG, I would love that. I need to see if it’s anywhere near my part of California.

  13. Wow! You are truly awesome! I can’t wait to experiment with some of you recipes. They look simply delicious.

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  15. Marie,

    We made cucidati every year with my grandmother. After she passed away I started hosting the annual event. All of my cousins and their children come and we make hundreds of cookies. We also use orange marmalade and a little orange zest. Next weekend we meet again to make the ravioli. Thank you for the post!

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  17. I’m just about “cookied” out, Marie, but I hope to find time to make your Cucidati this year – and some Struffoli! All the best to you and yours – buon Natale!

  18. Superb recipe


  1. […] Marie of Proud Italian Cook introduces her readers to Dumante Verdenoce in her holiday inspired Dumante […]