Referred to as cucciddati or buccellati, this popular Sicilian Christmas cookie takes on many variations of shapes and fillings. Served in one large donut-shaped cake, cut into half-moons and carefully sliced to expose the fillings, or molded into X’s, the soft pastry dough holds in delicious fruit and nut fillings, and is drizzled with icing and festive rainbow sprinkles. From apricot jams to figs, dates, pistachios, hazelnuts, and orange rind, these cookies’ variations depend on who’s making them and where. Brimming with soul-warming spices, they speak to Siciliy’s history, bursting with flavors from its time under Muslim, Greek, and Roman rule.
Filled with figs, spiced rum, toasted pistachios, ginger, nutmeg, and orange zest, our spice-filled and hearty cookies are both delicious and decorative. Adaptable and versatile, these cookies are great to make with the whole family. We’d love to see what shapes you come up with! This recipe has been adapted from Food52’s Buccellati recipe.
Makes 24 Cookies
For the Filling
▢ 1 cup dried mission figs
▢ 3 tbsp spiced rum
▢ 1/4 cup candied ginger
▢ 1/4 pitted dates
▢ 1 cup toasted Pistachio nuts
▢ 1 tsp ground cinnamon
▢ 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
▢ 1/4 tsp ground cloves
▢ zest 1 orange
For the Pastry
▢ 3 cups all purpose flour
▢ 1 cup confectioners sugar
▢ 1 tsp baking powder
▢ pinch of salt
▢ 8 tbsp chilled unsalted butter
▢ 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
For the Glaze
▢ 1 egg white
▢ 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
▢ 1/2 cup toasted Pistachio nuts, crushed
- Make the filling by whisking together the all purpose flour, 1 cup of confectioners sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk.
- In a food processor, add the flour mixture and butter and pulse until the butter resembles pebbles. Add the eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Add a sprinkle of flour if it’s very sticky, or a drop of water if it’s very dry. You’ll want the dough to come together into a disk and hold together, but you don’t want it to be sticky or crumbly. Wrap well in beeswax paper or clingfilm and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Cover the figs with boiling water and let them soften for 20 minutes. Blend them in the food processor with the dates and candied ginger until a paste comes together. Put the paste in a large mixing bowl.
- Pulse the toasted pistachios in a food processor until crumbly, but not pasty. Add to the fig paste with the spiced rum, spices, and orange zest. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- When you’re ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.
- Cut your dough into quarters. Roll one piece of dough into a log. On a floured surface, roll out the dough lengthwise to create a long rectangular strip, roughly 3-4 inches across and 10 inches long. Line the filling along the middle of the strip into a long snakelike line about ½ inch in diameter. Lift one edge of the long side of the dough and fold it over the filling, tucking the end under the filling to create a seam. Cut off any excess dough from the other side. Roll out this log into a nice snakelike log. Cut the log into 4 inch pieces using a sharp knife. To create an X shape, cut 1 ½ inches into the log from both ends and carefully separate the ends to create the shape. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling until you run out.
- While the cookies bake, make the glaze. Whisk the egg white until foamy, then add the confectioners sugar and whisk until smooth and glossy. When the cookies are done baking, dip the top side into the glaze, then dip the glazed top into the chopped pistachios. Bake for an additional 5 minutes for the glaze to set and become nice and shiny.