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Italian Christmas Cookie Crisis

Just found out last night that I would be invited to an Italian family member's house for Christmas night and when I stupidly asked what I could bring, the answer was "cookies". Because it is against my nature to buy them for the holidays, I want to make a variety. Spent last night on epicurious, food and wine, and gourmet's sites to find some recipes.

I am going to make:
Thumbprint cookies with jam (I know they like these)
Lemon cookies (round ones)
Hazelnut Butter Cookies
Butter Cookies/Shortbread Cookies (for the kids) - are these the same thing?
I would love a pine nut cookie (Tuscan style) recipe
I was also thinking of making a chocolate salami (wow factor and easy)

Looking for old world, traditional (family recipes) to go with some of the ones I picked. Was considering Florentines, but remembered the last time we were together, they were left over.
I am planning to bake tomorrow.

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  1. Don't know if it is Tuscan Style but I have used this recipe several times with great results.

    Tomorrow night I plan to make Pepper Cookies using the recipe from the Ciao Italia site.

    1 Reply
    1. re: folprivate

      I have to find almond paste tonight!

    2. How about the traditional almond paste cookies with the cherry on top? I just made some yesterday and they are fabulous.


      1. These are my favorite Italian cookies:

        Italian Anise Cookies:

        1 Reply
        1. re: bananie

          They look like the lemon cookies I am making, but we love anise.

        2. Do you have a pizzelle iron (or press, if you prefer). If so, make a batch of pizzelles. Homemade pizzelles are better than the thick, tasteless ones purveyed in stores. People rave about my wife's pizzelles which are thinner and crisper than store bought with a strong hint of anise oil.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChiliDude

            I wasn't happy with my last batch of pizzelles, a couple years ago. They were made on an electric grill and were pretty but definitely not thin and crisp. They seemed kind of thick and softer than I had remembered.

            Do you have a secret? Maybe my recipe needed more butter or something to thin the batter.

            Do you mind sharing your recipe?

            1. re: ChiliDude

              We have made pizzelles in the past.

            2. We always, always have Biscotti. I make ones with toasted almond slivers, dried cranberries, and orange zest. They are a staple in our family. The last 2 years I have been making a dried fruit pinwheel (fruit soaked with a little brandy over night) DELICIOUS!

              1. Cantucci are a type of Tuscan almond biscotti that are traditionally eaten with Vin Santo, a sweet white wine. They are yummy on their own and easy to make. I haven't tried this particular recipe, but it looks good to me. Many others are also easily available on the web:


                1 Reply
                1. re: visciole

                  I have a recipe similar which adds pistachios too.

                2. Rainbow cookies aren't as hard as they look, and people go wild for them. Almond crescents. Butter/shortbread, I make them like the Italian bakeries, sandwich two oblong ones with apricots, dip one end in chocolate and then some sprinkles on top. Adds some festive color to the platter.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: coll

                    I made "seven layer cookies" from epicurious, which are rainbow cookies and received raves from our cookie exchange. very sophisticated flavor and stores well. and they really do look fabulous. Just search on epi for that title. it looks long but goes smoothly.

                    1. re: cocktailhour

                      So funny that they call them "seven layer", I remember that as the popular bar cookie in the 1970s that included butterscotch morsels and coconut. I've only seen rainbow cookies called "Neopolitan cookies" in addition. Guess it's not a trademark name.


                    2. re: coll

                      I agree, rainbow cookies are great for a party!
                      Carole Walter has a very good recipe from her "Great Cookies" book.