Hello and happy holidays! Can you all believe Christmas is just 5 days away? Honestly it really snuck up on me this year and it took awhile to get into the spirit of the season. It did finally kick in and with it the usual traditional things; decorating the house and of course making cookies. However as I thought about the cookies I would make I found myself tired of the same old things I’ve been baking for 40+ years. All good eats and nothing wrong with tradition, but I really wanted something new to try. When I picked up the December issue of Fine Cooking (one of my favorite cooking magazines), in it was an article and 4 recipes that called out to me “Classic Italian Cookies”. Reading through all the recipes I found they would be lighter than the ones I’ve done in the past, and a couple were even gluten free so I figured, why not?
Coffee Hazelnut Chifferi. These cookies are buttery and full of the flavor of hazelnuts and espresso coffee. The baked cookies are finished by tossing them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Ricciarelli. The origin of this cookie is from the almond-growing region of Siena. They are tender, chewy, and using the almond flour in place of flour, they are gluten free. These are Brian’s favorite. They do take quite a bit of handwork though so you might want to be sitting down to do the forming work.
Pistachio Amaretti. This cookie is not as crisp as the store-bought variety but makes up for it in flavor. Rather than flour, pistachios are finely ground. A little almond extract is also added with plays nicely with the pistachios.
Lemon-Iced Ginger Biscotti. Here’s the Italian cookie I know and also my favorite of the bunch. Great ginger flavor is built up using ground ginger, crystallized ginger, and grated fresh ginger. Unlike the store bought variety, which tend to be hard as a rock, these have just the right amount of snap and hold up well to dunking in a coffee or tea.
It was fun trying some new recipes and in the process I think I may have found some new things to add to the holiday baking tradition.
Do you have a favorite baking tradition you or your family follows? I’d love to hear. In the meantime, I wish you all the best this holiday season. Thanks so much for stopping by.