My Italian fig cookies recipe is here to round out your holiday cookies! Looking for that last treat to give a hearty, deep pop of fruit flavor? Want desserts that are iconic Italian cookies? Are you saving that final spot on your Christmas cookies tray for something truly special? Look no further than this delicious bite of food!
Italian cookie recipes are notorious for bringing the best ingredients with the most decadent cookie techniques. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this recipe! I’m here to guide you.
Let’s get baking up some delicious Italian fig cookies!
From the soft cookie dough to the hearty filling, every bite of this Italian fig cookies recipe sings with Christmas cheer!
- Age-old recipe
- Old world charm
- Flavorful filling!
This Italian fig cookies recipe may seem daunting at first, but trust me, the final result is well worth it! In the meantime, I’m here to calm your cookie fears. Consider me the cookie equivalent of the Butterball Turkey Hotline!
Mission Figs: What exactly is a dried mission fig? This is the most popular type of fig grown in the US. It’s great for all types of baking that call for figs, bringing that iconic deep fig flavor! But be sure to cut off the stem of your dried figs — that is definitely not good eating!
Soak: With all this dried fruit, it seems counterintuitive to add liquid and rehydrate it, doesn’t it? Actually, the opposite! Adding liquid to dried fruit reconstitutes it without fully bringing it back to fresh fruit, so you retain all that deep, hearty dried flavor.
Brandy: This recipe tastes positively perfect with brandy on the dried fruit, but if you don’t want to do with the alcohol, you can always swap the brandy 1:1 with apple juice.
Butter: So many pastries call for butter — ever wonder why? Butter works miracles to the dough in the cooking process. It brings delicious flavor, of course, but it also releases steam and contributes to the rise and texture of the dough.
When a recipe calls for unsalted, room temperature butter, listen! Your cookies will be better for it.
This Italian fig cookies recipe has a yummy filling — does that affect storage? Read on!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! My Italian fig cookies recipe gives you some deliciously freezer-friendly treats. I always prefer cookies straight out of the freezer, especially ones with filling! Be sure to store your cookies in an airtight container, and you’ll get up to eight months of yum out of your cookies!
And the quality of your filling will be just fine after being frozen. Luckily, dried fruit is extremely hearty, and can take any storage you throw at it!
BUT, I will say that if you are planning to store this in the freezer, avoid putting the icing on. This icing contains milk, and dairy is known to be a bit wonky in the cold temperatures.
Make Ahead Tips
Like many Christmas cookie recipes, the dough in this is make-ahead magic! Follow the steps, and when you have a finished dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to three months or the fridge for two days.
When you’re ready to bake, thaw your Italian fig cookie dough, and finish the recipe!
You can also make the fig filling in advance too. Some fruit cake recipes have been known to soak dried fruit in alcohol for up to three months! You don’t need to go that extreme, but you can definitely get a few days out of your fig mixture.
How Long Can You Keep This?
As I said in the freezer section, dried fruit is hearty! So even though these cookies have a filling, they’ll be just fine stored at room temperature, for up to a week.
But, again, that frosting throws it off a bit! I like reserving the frosting in the fridge right before I eat these cookies. That way, I get a longer shelf life out of the cookies themselves.
Cookies, cookies, and more cookies! What else can you whip up?
What Other Types Of Christmas Cookies Can I Try?
There are so many iconic holiday cookies! If you liked this Italian fig cookies recipe, you must try my Italian Christmas cookies recipe, equally delicious and well-loved!
Can I Turn These Into German Christmas Cookies?
The world of international Christmas cookies is wonderful! German Christmas cookies, in particular, have some of my favorites, from crescent-shaped vanillekipferl to beautifully embossed springerle. You’ll wow with these!
Can I Add Almond Flavor?
Yes, yes, please! Italian almond cookies are over the top delicious. Almond crescent cookies are perfect for dunking in hot cocoa while let’s not forget the original beverage-dipping cookie, my almond biscotti recipe!
Can I Add Lemon Flavor?
Bring on the fruit! Lemon ricotta cookies are my go-to fruit treat — that ricotta makes them so creamy! But you can’t go wrong with a simple classic like lemon drop cookies. Great for bringing citrus bursts to your tray!
Can I Make This Recipe More Italian?
Everyone recognizes — and loves — pizelle! You won’t regret learning how to make these. They’re so fun and the perfect addition to an after-dinner coffee. Amaretti cookies celebrate the best of Italian cookies. They’re small but packed with flavor!
Italian Fig Cookies
- 1 cup soft dried Missions figs, stems removed
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon fine orange zest
- In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, pulse together figs and raisins until finely chopped. Add the remaining filling and pulse just to combine. Transfer filling to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-sized lumps.
- Using a large fork, mix in eggs, milk, vanilla, and orange zest until soft dough forms. Divide the dough in half and form each piece into a rough rectangle. Place each rectangle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll dough into a rough 6X4 inch rectangle. Remove the top plastic sheet. Cut dough into 4- 10X3 1/4 strips.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spread 1/3 cup of the filling lengthwise down the center of each strip, in a 1-inch wide log. Fold the sides over the filling then pinch the seam together to seal. Turn rolls over, seam side down, and gently press rolls down to flatten seams and form an elongated log, flat on the bottom and domed on top, like the shape of a biscotti. Using a floured knife, slice cut logs crosswise into slices just over 1/2 inch thick. Place cookies flat side down on prepared baking sheets 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Bake cookies one sheet at a time in the preheated oven until edges are golden, about 16-20 minutes. Allow cookies to cool 2-3 minutes on cookies sheets then transfer to a wire rack to cool until warm, about 5 minutes.
- While the first batch of cookies bakes in the oven, make the glaze. Whisk together confectioners' sugar, vanilla, 2 tablespoons milk, and orange zest until smooth. Add more milk, slowly as needed to make glaze thick but pourable.
- Spoon glaze over warm cookies and sprinkle with nonpareils. Cool completely. Cookies can be stored, layered between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.
Hungry for more? I know I am! My diet consists of 80% cookies come December.
- Double Chocolate Snowballs – Twice the chocolate, all the fun!
- Polar Bear Paws Candy – Don’t forget to bring some candy to your desserts!
- Reindeer Nutter Butter Treats – Great for baking with kids!
- Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies – Continue the cultural exploration!
- Crockpot Candy – Leave it, forget it, eat it!
I hope this walkthrough of my Italian fig cookies recipe helped quell your fears. These treats truly are something special, and will bring a decadent Italian twist to your holiday!
What’s your favorite dried fruit? Let me know in the comments!