Festive time usually brings with it much fun, camaraderie, and happiness, along with a lot of confusion, hustle-bustle, as well as a lot more mouths to feed too! In fact, how well someone can organize a festive dinner or feast is actually a proof of someone’s organizational and planning capacities. Thus, the most exotic and special things that you prepare should be the ones that are delicious as well as easy to prepare, because time is almost always at a premium, with too many things demanding your attention rather than just the kitchen. Italian Christmas cookies are just one example – they are tasty, do not take more than half an hour to prepare, can be stored for a long period of time in the fridge and are excellent with the cup of coffee you take in the morning. Here are some simple recipes for Italian Christmas cookies.
Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe
Simple Italian Christmas Cookies
- Flour – 2 cups sifted (about 250g)
- Butter – 1 cup (about 125g)
- Cream cheese (packaged) – 125g
- Condensed milk – 1 cup
- Assorted nuts – ½ cup
- Chocolate chips – 1 large pkg.
- Confectioners' Sugar – 1 cup (125g)
- Milk – 5-6 tsp
For making the dough, mix cheese and butter into a large bowl with a fork. Add this mixture to the flour and blend well, till the dough is formed; you may need your hands for this. Knead well and chill for several hours; in fact, it is best when put to chill overnight or for a good twelve hours. After the dough is chilled, heat chocolate over hot water in a bowl until it melts completely. Add milk and nuts to melted chocolate and stir. Leave the filling over double boiler but do not keep on heat. Now cut dough into three parts; only one part is to be worked on at a time. So put the remaining two parts in the fridge so that they remain chilled. Cut out a rectangle of about 6x8x½ inches. Once you roll out a rectangle, put the filling in the center. Fold in such a way that it forms into tube or cylinder; you will need to fold from the sides, the seam should come in the center. Place seam down on cookie sheet and bake at 375ºF for about twenty to thirty minutes. For glaze, mix the confectioners’ sugar and milk, spread on cookies, and bake for a ten minutes or so again.
- Flour – 3 cups (375g)
- Nutmeg – 1tsp, ground
- Ginger – ½ cup fresh, minced
- Almonds – 1 cup, blanched
- ½ tsp cloves, ground
- Sugar – ¾ cup
- Butter – 110g
- 3 eggs
- Cinnamon – 1 tbsp, ground
- Dark Molasses – ½ cup
- Allspice – ½ tsp, ground
- Baking powder – ½ tsp
Bake almonds in a pan that is 8-9 inches in diameter on 175 degree C for about 10 to 15 minutes. When cooled, chop finely and set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer, beat butter, ginger, sugar, and molasses until smooth. Now add 1 egg at a time to this mixture, whisking it well after each addition. In another large bowl, mix baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, cloves, almonds, and allspice. Add this mixture to the egg mixture and stir to blend. On two greased baking sheets of the measurement 12X15 inches, pat the dough into 4 flat loaves; make sure your hands are well floured before you begin to do this. Each loaf should be around 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick of the baking sheet. Bake these loaves 175ºC in the oven for about 25 minutes. Make sure to switch the positions of the pans halfway, through baking. When the loaves are baked and cooled, cut into ½-inch thick diagonal slices. Arrange slices close together on the baking sheet; the cut side should be down. Bake again at 175ºC for about 15 to 18 minutes. And this time also switch positions. Let the biscotti cool completely. These could be stored in a freezer for storage over a longer period of time.