Italian Cookies Recipe

How to make “Nucatoli”

The ever best nucatoli (figs and nuts) cookies. Other most famous recipe from Sicilian tradition.




For Crust

  • 1 stick of sweet butter (4 oz.) melted but not hot  
  • 2 ½ cups of flour  
  • 1 medium egg  
  • 1 yolk  
  • 3 tablespoons of honey  
  • pinch of salt  
  • cold water if needed  


For Filling  

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar  
  • skin of 2 oranges
  • ½ lb. of dry figs stemmed and finely diced  
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon  
  • skin of 1 lemon  
  • ½ lb. of lightly toasted almonds or pistachios, finely diced  
  • ½ cup of honey 



The Filling

  1. Prepare the orange and lemon peels for the filling: rinse with cold water, dry and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. When cooled, cut them with scissors into thin strips and finely dice. 
  2. In a medium size, pot without a cover, at a medium heat place the diced orange and lemon peels, one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of sugar; bring to a boil and mix into the figs, almonds (or pistachios), cinnamon and fold the honey into it. 
  3. Simmer at a very low heat, stirring continuously. Do not cover!  
  4. Filling is ready when it comes off from the side and it forms into a mass; about 5 minutes. 
  5. If mixture is too thick,add extra honey, a little at a time, until the right consistency is obtained; in fact mixture should be thick enough to make it possible to shape it into the size of a small breadsticks, to fill the nucatoli.
  6. Transfer into a bowl to cool, and use at room temperature or  cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days; when ready to use bring the filling at room temperature. 

The Dough

  1. Lightly whisk egg and yolk.
  2. Combine the flour with the butter, salt and the eggs. Add the honey, mix thoroughly and bring the dough together to form a ball. If the dough is to dry, add a few drops of water to moisten.
  3. Fold and press with the palm of your hands; if dough is sticky, add some more flour. Do not over mix. 
  4. When dough forms into a single mass, cover with a kitchen rag or plastic wrap, set aside, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

The Nucatoli

  1. Prepare some cookie sheets by lightly greasing and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Retrieve dough from refrigerator, dust working surface with a little flour and place the dough in the center; fold and press with the palm of your hands a few times and with the help of a rolling pin, flatten the pastry dough to about less than 1/8 of an inch thick. Use a scalloped edge pastry wheel and cut dough into 2 ½” X 6” rectangles.  
  3. Spoon out and place lengthwise some filling in the center of each strip, 1 tablespoon or more, shaped like a breadstick, leaving clear at least ¾” on each side.  
  4. Fold the 6” sides to enclose only the sides of the filling and leave open the top showing the dry fruits and honey mixture, the nucatuli. 
  5. Place into cookie sheets or greased pans 2 inches apart and shape the nucatuli into an “S” form. 
  6. Bake until lightly golden, at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack and store in airtight containers. 
  8. Serve at room temperature. 


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