Cuccidati are found in Italian bakeries everywhere for St. Joseph’s Day and Christmas. The flaky, rich and delicious cookies quickly become a favorite treat.

Cuccidati (Italian St. Joseph's Day Cookies)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 120 cookies
  • 1/4 pound lard
  • 1/4 pound vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 pound sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons baking powder
  • juice and grated rind from one small orange
  • 4 Cups flour, approximately
  • 1 pound pitted dates
  • 1 pound dried figs such as Calimyrnia
  • 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
  • juice and rind of one small orange
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 stick butter
  • 6 Tablespoons or more milk
  • nonpareils (multi colored sprinkles)
  1. Cream lard and shortening in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs, baking powder, orange juice and rind and mix well. Add flour gradually until you achieve a pliable dough. Dough should neither be sticky or flaky. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
  1. Grind dates and figs together. Put in a heavy bottomed saucepan with remaining ingredients and stir over low heat so that sugar completely dissolves and mixture is smooth and spreadable, about 15 minutes. Cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. Roll out dough to a thickness of about 1/8 to 3/16 inch. (If it's too soft, put it in the freezer for 5 minutes or so to stiffen.) Cut dough into strips about 8-10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Place a strip of filling down the center of each dough strip, lengthwise. Then fold dough over on either side of the filling. Press down on the seam to seal.
  2. Cut the cookies into 2-inch lengths with diagonal cuts.
  3. Bake 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Cool.
  1. While cookies are baking, make frosting by beating butter and sugar together until well blended. Gradually add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a smooth, slightly runny consistency is achieved. When cookies are cool, frost and spread evenly with a knife, then sprinkle with nonpareils.
  2. Makes about 10 dozen cookies. Freeze without frosting, if desired.
These cookies are very rich, and make great gifts. The recipe makes 10 dozen, so you'll plenty to give away. They freeze well too!

Use non-hydrogenated organic shortening in place of vegetable shortening. This will eliminate trans-fats from the recipe.

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