Christmas Cookies 2022- part A

Hi everyone,

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Well, it’s that time of year again and I started my Christmas cookie-baking marathon. This year I have included some of the traditional favorites along with adding some new cookies to the roster.

The majority of my Christmas Cookie recipes are in the files, so I will provide the link to the old cookies and supply the recipe for the new cookies for 2022.. I will be baking all weekend so stand by for additional posts.

So far I prepared the following….

Pistachio Cookies

This recipe was given to me by my dear friend Michael Gottuso who happens to be one of the best chefs I know and his meals just wow me at every turn.

Thank you again, Michael.

Here is the link to the recipe: https://dishingwithdiane.com/2020/12/16/pistachio-cookies/

Rum Balls

This is one of the easiest recipes I make and I just love them. They are the perfect size to fill in the little empty spots on a cookie tray. Also, one of the best recipes to take to a cookie swap- they transport well and are a crowd pleaser. Making them a few weeks ahead of Christmas or your event is even better because they marinate and get better and better.

Be warned, they are potent with the rum, so keep the kids away.

Here is the link to the recipe: https://dishingwithdiane.com/2020/12/14/rum-balls/

Another favorite and always the first cookie I bake. This year I added 1 tbsp of Grand Marnier liquor for a slight hint of orange flavor. If you don’t want to add alcohol, then you substitute orange extract or stick to the original recipe and no added orange essence.

Here is the link to the recipe: https://dishingwithdiane.com/2020/12/06/chocolate-crinkle-cookie/

Bruttiboni

This was my new addition for last year and it was a big hit.

“BRUTTIBONI” which translates to “ugly but good”. Ugly for the irregular shape and good for the taste.

It is a meringue cookie with a crisp exterior with a soft, chewy interior flavored with almonds, hazelnuts, and cinnamon.

Simply delightful. Light and flavorful and this cookie was made every year by my Barese grandmother. Unfortunately, I never had her original recipe and then found this recipe in an article I read last year and it brought back memories of grandma.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pure
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar granulated
  • 1⅓ cup whole almonds toasted
  • 1⅓ cup hazelnuts toasted and skins removes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Pulse almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor to obtain a coarsely ground texture. Alternatively, chop by hand. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl (of a stand mixture), with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until they start to foam.
  • Add a pinch of salt.
  • Add cinnamon and vanilla extract.
  • Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and whisk until you obtain stiff glossy peaks.
  • With a mixing spoon, fold in the nuts. Gently combine.
  • Transfer this mixture to a heat-proof bowl and place over a pot of hot, barely simmering water. This mixture needs to be stirred for about 15 minutes.
  • Portion with a medium-sized scooper and place on a baking sheet. 
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the tops are golden.
  • Allow cooling on the baking sheet.

Notes

To roast the nuts: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position the rack in the center.

Spread almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes to obtain a light roasting. Remove the skins from the hazelnuts.

Let the nuts cool to room temperature before using them in the recipe. 

  • The almonds and the hazelnuts can be roasted in advance and stored at room temperature until needed. This ensures the use of room-temperature ingredients until you are ready to make these nut cookies.
  • Do not rush the process of adding the sugar while whisking the egg whites. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time to the egg whites.
  • The addition of cinnamon is optional.

*recipe adapted from The Gazette

Sesame Cookies or Regina cookies

One of my favorites and they find a home on my cookie tray each year.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Crisco vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 ½ cups of flour
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of pure vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • Approx. 2 cups of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup of milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • Cream the Crisco, sugar, eggs, and vanilla
  • Add the flour and baking powder – a little at a time until it forms a soft dough
  • Turn the dough onto a floured board and mix well
  • Break off small amounts (approx. 1 tbsp) and roll them into a log shape
  • Roll the logs in the milk and then in the sesame seeds
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies is light brown

Quaresimali

If you have been to a real authentic Italian bakery then you have seen these almond biscotti. They are very hard and crunchy biscotti made for dunking in espresso or hot chocolate. Unless you want a dental visit, don’t take a bite. Some people refer to these as dog biscuit biscotti.

The flavor is fantastic, with almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and eggs and I add a touch of ground cloves. This is my husband’s favorite biscotti and it appears on our cookie trays for Easter and Christmas.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. natural almonds (approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter OR ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs

Egg wash: 1 egg and 2 tbsp milk

Directions:

Toast almonds in a jelly roll pan in a preheated 375-degree oven for 10 minutes and let them cool

In a blender or food processor grind ¼ of the almonds fine with ¼ cup of the granulated sugar and transfer to a large bowl

Stir in the flour, remaining ¾ cup sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and baking powder. Stir until blended

Add butter and combine with the mixture.

Add the remaining almonds, chopped coarsely, and the eggs and knead the dough until combined

This dough will be VERY STICKY– you may use water on your hands to help with the stickiness.

Form the dough into long rectangles onto a greased and floured cookie sheet (makes about 3 loaves).

Brush each rectangle with the egg wash before baking for 25 minutes

After 25 minutes diagonal slices and then put the slices back in the “turned off” oven for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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