Carolina Cucidati (Southern Italian Fruit Cookies)

Brenda Watts


When my family and I first moved to the upstate part of South Carolina we moved next door to sweet neighbors. The mother was Italian and every holiday, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter she would make these spectacular cookies. She would make her recipe from her grandma's with honey and orange marmalade, which was very delicious too. But wanting to put another spin on them, I tried the sorghum and peach preserves, my family and friends absolutely loved them.

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Yields: 3 to 4 dozen cookies
1 Hr
15 Min



4 c
all-purpose flour,(*plus extra flour for dusting)
1 Tbsp
baking powder
1/4 tsp
1/2 tsp
ground cinnamon
1/2 c
1/2 c
butter, unsalted
1/2 c
vegetable shortening
1 large
2 tsp
vanilla extract
1/2 c


1 c
dried figs, roughly chopped into small pieces,
1 c
dried dates, roughly chopped into small pieces,
3/4 c
golden raisins,
1/2 c
walnuts, finely chopped into small pieces,
1/4 c
sorghum syrup, (*can substitute with 1/4 cup honey),
1/4 c
peach preserves,(*can substitute with 1/4 cup orange marmalade),


2 1/4 c
confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp
almond extract
4 to 5 Tbsp
almond milk,(*can substitute with 4 to 5 tablespoons whole milk)


1In a large bowl, combine 4 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar until blended. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until coarse and crumbly. Add in egg, vanilla extract and 1/2 cup buttermilk, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until blended and cookie dough is smooth.
2Divide dough into 4 equal pieces, wrap each dough piece in plastic wrap, and place in freezer to chill for 30 minutes, or until dough is completely chilled.
3Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a medium bowl, combine figs, dates, raisins, walnuts, sorghum and peach preserves, stirring until well combined; set aside.
4Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheet pans with large sheets of parchment paper.
Lightly flour dust a work surface. Remove and working with one piece of chilled dough at a time. Roll the dough into a 12-inch even square. Cut dough into 2-x 3-inch rectangles each. Place a spoonful, about 1 rounded teaspoon filling, into the middle of each dough rectangle. Fold the short dough edges over to meet in the center and pinch to seal edges and sides. Repeat process until all cookies are made. Should yield about 4 dozen cookies. Place the prepared filled cookies each seam-side down, onto the prepared lined cookie sheet pans, leaving 1- to 1 1/2-inches apart.
5Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are a pale golden brown. Place baked cookies onto a wire rack to cool 15 minutes, or until completely cooled.
6Meanwhile, prepare icing . In a medium bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, almond extract and 2 tablespoons almond milk, stirring together until blended, gradually add remaining almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing reaches a spreading consistency. Drizzle or spread icing onto tops of each cookie. Let icing set over cookie at least 15 minutes before serving. Store cookies into a airtight container.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Cookies
Main Ingredient: Fruit
Regional Style: Italian
Hashtag: #holiday cookies