Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Traditional Sicilian Easter Cookies - Cuddura

Happy Easter!!! I would like to wish you and all your loved ones a Blessed and Peaceful Easter. Yesterday we made these Sicilian Easter Cookies which originated in Sicily but are made all throughout the south of Italy and are called Cuddura even though the name changes slightly with the different dialects of the southern regions.  

In the olden days, no meat, eggs or dairy were consumed during lent therefore when Easter came around all of the traditional desserts and dishes were very rich.  These cookies were made on the Saturday before Easter and brought to church to be blessed before giving them away to loved ones as an Easter offering.  Young ladies typically gifted their sweetheart with a cuddura in the shape of a heart as a sign of affection. How cute is that? I feel like everything is so different now a days and so much more complicated.  I guess I'm just too old fashioned... Now it's like you never know what to buy someone because everything is so accessible through online shopping and malls etc. Back in the day all it took was a cookie made with love to  let your sweetheart know that you were interested in him or her. 

Ingredients for the dough:

 - 600 grams of all purpose flour
 - 200 grams of butter
 - zest from one fresh lemon
 - 4 large eggs
 - 200 grams of sugar
 - 1 teaspoon of baking powder
 - pinch of vanilla extract

Mix all of the ingredients,  cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prepare your hard boiled eggs ahead of time and let them cool. You can color them if you want or leave them as they are. I colored mine but since they were brown eggs the colors weren't as bright as I wanted them but they turned out fine all the same. 

The technique is pretty self explanatory so I'll leave you with the pictures so you can see what I did. 

After you roll your braid in a circle to place the egg on, you proceed to make a cross on top of the egg to hold it in place. 

Now brush a little egg white on top and add your favorite topping, sprinkles, chocolate chips, confetti, whatever you like. 

Now you're ready to bake in a preheated oven at 200°c for 35 - 40 minutes. 

This is my Easter offering to You :-)

Happy Easter my friends!

When our faith 

stands at the grave,
for a stone that's rolled away,
forgive us.

When our faith
is short of
though the truth is there to see,
forgive us.

When our faith,
beset by doubt, sees
no further
than an empty tomb today,
forgive us.

Bring to mind 
the cry of Mary,
‘I have seen the Lord!'
and grant us faith to believe!

God Bless, 


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Sweets - Valentine's Day Rustic Lemon Cookies

Hello dear friends and "Buona Domenica"! Buona Domenica in Italian means Happy Sunday and it is what most people say in place of "have a good weekend". In Italy Sunday is the the day in which family and relatives usually gather together have a HUGE lunch and just relax, laugh and enjoy the company of family. It's a very important day of the week for my relatives in Italy and I didn't get it in the beginning but now I understand the importance of it. 

I have two uncles on my Italian side. The oldest one, Uncle Tonino passed away some years ago whereas my Uncle Franco is still alive and well. I wrote a post about the beautiful marriage with his wife here. Sunday lunches are always held at Uncle Franco's house.  When Uncle Tonino was alive they used to alternate one Sunday at Uncle Tonino's and the other at Uncle Franco's. Obviously the wives have to do all the work but my other aunts pitch in and help as well. I mean I have 5 other aunts! 

It's fun and it certainly keeps family close. It's an effort and a tradition that brings unity in the family. And at the end of day family is the most important thing, am I right? 

Rustic Lemon Valentine's  Day Cookies

 - 2 medium sized organic lemons
 - 350 grams of all purpose flour
 - 150 grams of corn flour
 - 2 eggs
 - 150 grams of sugar
 - 60 grams of corn oil
 - 1 teaspoon of baking powder
 - 2 tablespoons of cold water
 - pinch of salt

Grate the peel of the organic lemons and squeeze the juice of half a lemon that you will add to the dough.

Work together all of the ingredients in a mixer or by hand. You will find that the mixture is pretty dry so that is where you add the cold water to add some moisture. 

 Form a ball with the mixture making sure all of the ingredients are incorporated well and cover in plastic wrap leaving it in the fridge for about an hour.

Next thinly roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and begin cutting out the shapes you like. 

I found these heart cookie cutters on clearance and thought they were so cute so I decided to use them in the different sizes. 

I love these cookie cutters!

Then they got put on a tray in a preheated oven (200°C) for about 15 minutes. I had to watch them closely because of the different sized cookies. Obviously the smaller cookies baked in less time so I just removed them a minute or two sooner. 

Then I made a batch of cookie glaze mixing confectioners sugar, a couple tablespoons of milk and some red food coloring.

Now the fun part...decorating. I haven't decorated cookies in a very long time so it was fun. I tried spreading the glaze on with a knife but to make life easier I just dipped each cookie in the glaze and I was done in no time. 

Then I just topped with nonpareils and voila!

Valentine's Day Cookies!

I dedicate this post to my Niece who is joining our world today. 

May God Bless You and Watch Over You Today and Always.

I Love You.

Aunt Silvana


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Italian Honey Balls - Struffoli

Hey guys, I'm still on Christmas vacation and am having a lovely holiday with my friends and family. I hope you all have been well!  I need to catch up on my blog reading, I'm behind! I've been eating way too much but I have been making an effort of working out for at least an hour a day so that I can keep my calories on track. 

Today I wanted to share a recipe that is typical of southern Italy and it is a dessert that is usually made during the holidays. I am obsessed with these suckers! They are SO GOOD!  One of my aunts made them and brought them over for Christmas and she gave me her recipe. We made them today so that I could share the recipe with you because they are amazing I tell you! They are crunchy on the outside and very light on the inside. 

They are very simple to make and are basically just deep fried dough coated in honey and topped with nonpareils sprinkles. The dough is made using flour, dry white wine and grappa along with some orange flavored extra virgin live oil. 

Here are the ingredients:

 - 500 grams of all purpose flour
 - 50 grams white sugar
 - 100 grams of evo oil
 - half a shot glass of grappa
 - 50 grams of dry white wine
 - peel from half an orange
 - 500 grams of honey
 - 2 tablespoons of nonpareils for decorating

Gather all of your ingredients together. 

The first thing to do is to heat the orange peel with the extra virgin olive oil on low heat for about 2 minutes . This is done to add aroma to the oil. Do not bring it to a boil, just heat it enough to add the flavor of the orange peel. 

Now you want to add the flavored oil to the flour and sugar. Knead the oil into the flour with your fingertips to distribute evenly. 

Leave out the orange peels and begin kneading the mixture. 

Next I added the grappa. We added about half a shot glass. 

Slowly work everything together and lastly add the white wine a little at a time. We ended up using 50 grams. If it's still a little too dry you can go ahead and add a little more. 

Now that you have incorporated all of the ingredients, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. It should have a similar consistancy to cookie dough, neither too dry nor too moist. This is what it should look like. 

Now you are ready to form little marbles by rolling the dough out as shown in the photo below and cutting bite sized pieces kind of like if you're making gnocchi. 

My aunt likes to give them a curved shape using a little kitchen utensil she has (I have no idea what it's called in English...sorry guys!).  She rolls the pieces on this little wooden tray creating a curved shape with grooves on top.  It's pretty cool actually ...and not that easy to do. But you can just roll them into marble sized balls to make life easier :-)

Once you have rolled them all out you should lay them on a tray spacing them out a bit so they don't stick together. Aren't they pretty?

These bad boys are ready to be deep fried!  My aunt saves some of the dough and makes little "roses" to place on top of the little balls. They don't really look like roses but that's what she calls them. LOL

She fried these in a pot rather than a frying pan so they can cook all around.

They should brown just lightly and once they are done, place them in a bowl with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. 

Once the marbles were done we fried the roses. 

Set these aside and in a large frying pan add the honey with a couple tablespoons of water. Heat on low in order to melt the honey a bit and warm it up. 

Add the marbles to the honey mixing well to coat them all around. 

At this point heat them for about 5 minutes on low. 

Now you can transfer them onto the serving dish. 

Add the little roses on top spacing them out evenly on the dish. 

Now you can add some more honey on top and finally add the nonpareils to decorate. 

Yum!! I think I'm going to go have one now :-)

Ciao my friends xoxo

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Sweets - Whole Wheat Carrot Oatmeal Cookies

So I know I told you I would be making cinnamon sugar pretzels this weekend but I changed my mind. I was in the mood for something healthier. I've been trying to increase my fiber intake so I decided to make whole wheat cookies instead. I also had some fresh carrots that I wanted to use and I ended up adding some rolled oats as well 'cause I love me some chewy oatmeal cookies! 

These cookies are not very sweet because I used honey in place of sugar and not a lot of it. I was going to add some kind of frosting or glaze to put on the cookie but I figured I would leave it alone and not add on extra fat and calories because I wanted to keep it a low fat cookie. If you wanted though you could make a cookie sandwich by adding vanilla or cream cheese  frosting which would make it much sweeter and I'm sure it would be delicious as well! 

Here are the ingredients I used: 

- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 large grated carrot
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons of softened butter
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

Mix together the flour, oats and baking powder and in a mixer beat the egg and the butter until nice and fluffy. 

Slowly add the honey to the egg mixture and add the flour mixture a little at a time.  

When everything is mixed well add in the grated carrots. 

Again mix everything well and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 200 c for about 15 minutes. This recipe makes for about 15 cookies. Let cool for 10 min  on oven rack before serving. Enjoy!! 

 Happy Sunday!!