Festive Holiday Cookies


Now that I’m a wife and mom the holidays are even more fun because I get to share the spirit of the season with my husband and little one! We’ve been busy planning, playing (look for an upcoming post on our trip to The Polar Express), decorating and baking this month! Growing up I took comfort and found so much joy in the family traditions we shared. I’m sure you, like me, have holiday traditions that you remember fondly. My friend Melissa remembers the excitement of opening a special gift for every night of Hanukkah. My husband’s family gave toys to needy children in their community. My twin brother Tom and I decorated the tree every Christmas Eve with our parents. The fun of the holidays is in continuing the traditions we loved from our childhood, but also starting new ones.

Coming from a large Italian-American family, spending time with aunts, uncles, and neighbors was the best part! And of course there was fabulous food that always overflowed in our home during this time.  I looked forward to baking cookies with my mom and aunts, because it gave us a chance to be together, share stories, but also eat! We’d bake all day and all varieties of cookies, from traditional Italian recipes from my grandfather’s family like pizzelles, to classic chocolate chip, lace and spritz (the S cookies!) for a “dash of color.”Holiday CookiesThe ladies in my family are such good bakers that they’d always share these lovelies with their friends and neighbors. We’d gift out pretty spreads of them on simple dishes wrapped in cellophane, and then tie them up with a bow. It’s such a great gift, especially for those who aren’t bakers, because then they get to enjoy homemade sweets during the holidays! I’m excited to continue this tradition with my own son! At least I’d love for him to see the spectacle of a fun day of holiday baking in his own home. And I also wanted to share this fun and simple gift idea with you and yours. Enjoy and Happy Holidays! xoxo Olivia

Pizzelles Ingredients:
Yield: 2dozen

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and blend into the batter until smooth.
Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle on the iron. You may need to experiment with the amount of batter and baking time depending on the iron. Bake for 20 to 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Italian Wedding Cookie Ingredients:
Yield: 6 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 1/3 cup, for rolling
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almonds
  • 5 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream butter in a bowl. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add almonds and vanilla. Blend in flour gradually and mix well. Shape into crescents using about 1 teaspoon for each cookie. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not brown. Cool slightly, then roll in the extra confectioners’ sugar.

 

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