Biscotti di fichi - Fig Cookies

Today, as part of my series on Regional Italian Cuisines, I want to share with you the recipe for a very traditional Christmas Sicilian sweet: biscotti di fichi.  They are made with the same dough and filling of Buccellato (the traditional Sicilian cake I have shared with you last year), but they are a bit easier to shape.  When I was a child, I did spend a few Christmas holidays in Sicily and one of the things I remember with nostalgia is the aroma of these cookies baking in homes and bakeries around town.  They are that popular!  And delicious, especially when freshly baked.  The filling is very “Christmassy” with lots of dried fruits, nuts and chocolate in it.  They also make for a perfect gift or cookie swap item (they ship wonderfully)!  Make them to impress your family and friends with something a bit different!  Enjoy!

Biscotti di fichi - Fig Cookies

Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: makes 30 to 35
  • 500 gms – 1.1 lbs. dried figs, chopped
  • 250 gms – 8.8 oz. apricot or fig jam
  • 100 gms – 3.5 oz. almonds, chopped
  • 100 gms – 3.5 oz. hazelnuts, chopped
  • 50 gms – 1.75 oz. walnuts, chopped
  • 50 gms – 1.75 oz. pistachios, chopped
  • 200 gms – 7 oz. candied cherries, chopped
  • 100 gms – 3.5 oz. raisins
  • 100 gms – 3.5 oz. candied orange zests, chopped
  • 100 gms – 3.5 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 sachet vanillina or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp clove powder
  • 1 espresso shot
  • 100 ml – 3.5 oz. Marsala or Muscat wine
  • 125 gms – 4.4 oz. honey
  • 500 gms – 1.1 lbs. flour
  • 150 gms – 5.25 oz. sugar
  • 200 gms – 7 oz. lard
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sachet vanillina or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 8 gms – 2 ½ tsp ammonium bicarbonate (or baking soda)
  • Water
  • Icing sugar
  • Hundreds and thousands (nonpareils or confettis)
  1. Start by preparing the filling. I usually do this the day before, so it can cool down completely.
  2. Toast and roughly chop/crush all the nuts.
  3. Chop the dried figs and candied fruits.
  4. Put all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a saucepan, heat it up and let it cook on a slow flame for 5 minutes. Stir well.
  5. Let it cool down completely and then add the chocolate chips. Stir it and keep it aside.
  6. Now, make the dough. Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer with a hook attachment and knead for 5 minutes or until you get a smooth and pliable dough. Wrap in cling wrap and let it rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  7. Take the dough out and roll it into a rectangle of 15 cm by 30 cm (6 to 12 inches). Make a sausage out of the filling and put it in the centre of the rectangle. Lift one long side of the dough over the filling and fold the other side over the top of the first. Press to seal it.
  8. Cut 2.5 cm – 1 inch slices out of the log and gently transfer them, seam side down, onto a baking sheet.
  9. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then bake the cookies in a pre heated oven at 200°C – 390°F for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool down.
  10. In the meantime, make the water based glaze by mixing a little water with some icing sugar. Make sure to add the water little by little so the glaze doesn't come out too runny (though it has to be runny enough to easily spoon it over the cookies).
  11. When the cookies have cooled down completely, spoon the glaze over them and sprinkle with some colourful Hundreds and Thousands and let them dry completely before serving.
They keep for up to 10 days in an air tight container.


Biscotti di fichi - Fig Cookies

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