December 19, 2009

Sicilian Christmas Cookies

Whenever we go on a trip, I always have to search out traditional desserts, in my first trip to Sicily in 2005 for the holidays I found quite a few I loved. This cookie is made all over Sicily in different versions. Shaped like a ravioli, or the smaller cookies shown here, tube like and sliced on top. I have also seen them with large slices and fanned open which is pretty too.

Some families make then closed with a creamy white sugar glaze on top, looking quite festive with the colored sprinkles on top.

In Palermo, it was called Buccellato, most people I know call it Cuccidati ( with some odd-spelling versions) and at lunch yesterday I heard another name, which I forget now, from Southern Sicily near Gela. Whatever you call them, everyone knows that their version is the best.

In Palermo is where we found the most ornate decorations. There is a tradition of decorating dough on the west coast of Sicily. I tried to repeat the lacy look on the larger ring version I made,
perhaps since this dough is different than the original recipe I had, it didn't hold the decoration as well.

Thanks to twitter, I used a new recipe for me, from an Italian American chef.

Here is his recipe although if you read through the recipe, the foto shown is not how the recipe says to make the cookie. I like the icing finish on the cookies, as he shows them it looks quite festive.

Of course, when I went to make the recipe, I was missing a few ingredients.
But since the Sicilian recipe I had was a little different than his, I knew I could switch.

I used dried white figs,raisins, pine nuts, fresh orange rind and honey with some hot water.
I cut the figs into smaller pieces and then heated the mixture on the stove.
I have a Tuscan spice mixture which has ginger, coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon- and added a touch of black pepper.

I pureed the fruit and let cool.

I used his recipe for the dough, although Italian flour "00" is different, it worked perfectly!

The original dough recipe I had is a very "poor" recipe, no eggs no cream.

I like these so much I will make again and post the other shapes!

Buon Natale!

I am getting ready for my Tuscan Week in San Miguel D'Allende at the Rancho Casa Luna in January. Here is information on the week-long program, for locals, day classes are available.


  1. looks amazing! will totally try this next week when i start baking in earnest. thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Ph delicious - will need to try to figure these out. I am baking one Italian cookie a day for 24 days. I'm nuts (almondy nuts) but very happy.

  3. Tascinating! There is a Turkish cookie just like this called ay çöreği (moon cookie). You can see some pictures of well-made ones here:

    And a recipe in English here:

    (neither are definitive, of course!)


  4. Buccellato! In Palermo, there's old school Rosciglione at Ballarò, and to me, they make one of theeee best. Fig stuffing, almongs, orange zest, mmmmm, with a piece of semolina white bread. Thanks Judy for bringing to the surface all these Sicilian specialties!

  5. My Mom's family made one shaped like a square ravioli all covered with a white glaze. I have no idea how to spell the name, but it sounds like Cows-n-gees.

    The round ravioli shaped Christmas cookies were stuffed with an apple or pineapple mixture and brush with egg before cooking. Came out golden brown.