We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Countdown to Christmas - Italian Style - December 13

                                             photo courtesy www.thebrisbanekids.com.au

Welcome back to Countdown to Chirstmas-Italian Style Day 13 (tredici).

I'm excited about sharing today's treat with you, as it's a family tradition in my family we've been keeping since as long as I can remember.  My mother always made Christmas cookies, starting around now, the middle of December. We always made the same cookies each year too. She'd make struffoli, a honey drenched little fritter sprinkled with powdered sugar or sprinkles. This is traditionally a holiday treat originating from Naples.

                               Honey Drenched Christmas Fritters: Struffoli
                                                                  photo courtesy food network.com

Here's a link to Mario Batali's recipe for struffoli http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/honey-drenched-christmas-fritters-struffoli-recipe.html

Another traditional cookie made in my family is my grandmother's sugar cookies with cutouts.  I loved using the same cutouts every year- the old Santa, the reindeer, the tree, and the angel cutout.  Every year we'd leave a plate of these cookies out for Santa Claus on Christmas eve, along with a large glass of milk.

 Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts

                                                                          photo courtesy Betty Crocker.com

Here's a link to a sugar cookie recipe that is almost identical to the one my grandmother always used.

When I got married and had my own children, I kept up the tradition of making Christmas cookies every holiday season with my girls.  We made my Grandmother's sugar cookie cutouts, thumbprint cookies filled with raspberry and apricot jam, oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip cookies.  I had a collection of favorite cutout shapes we kept for year.

This is a photo of my daughter Shannon at about 3 years old, up to her elbows in cookie dough and flour, working hard making cutouts for Christmas that year. 

Since I've moved to Italy, I still make holiday cookies.  This year I'll be making my old standards- my grandmother's sugar cookies, thumbprint cookies with raspberry and apricot jam, chocolate chip cookies, and shortbread cookies. I've found a new Italian cookie recipe I'm going to add to my collection this year, too. 

Anise Italian christmas cookies
Anise Italian Christmas cookie , photo courtesy www.Tasty-italian-cooking.com

I'm including the recipe here (click on the link below) in case you want to give them a try yourself.

Do you have family cookie traditions too? What are some of your favorites?  I'd love for you to share your favorite recipes too. 

Buon Natale!

P.S. Thank you so much for all the positive comments and email messages in recent days. I'm so happy everyone is enjoying my Advent Calendar series. Keep reading, please. We have a few more days in our countdown before we reach December 25!


Anonymous said...

So far, I like the 6th nativity calendar best. Let's see what else you offer!

And, so far, this is my favourite post.


Dianne said...

Again, a little late with reading these posts but just had to comment about my mother's Christmas cookies. One year she found a bunch of recipes in the local newspaper and from that day on made them every Christmas. There was uncooked chocolate fudge, thumbprint cookies, a chocolate thumbprint cookie with a maraschino cherry in it, pheffernoose (sp?), and many others. Unfortunately when she passed away my dad threw out all her cookbooks before I could get to them so I have no idea of the recipes -- probably better because I would eat too many of them. She started baking early in December and stored the cookies in our cat closet that had an outside wall so it was always was cool.l