Sunday, December 30, 2007

Biscotti di Natale

I did bake a few Christmas cookies (unfortunately too late to send them to any of the many nice events centered on baking cookies, which came out in this period of time). I wanted to give them to my friend Vlasta as a part of her little Secret Santa gift that we exchanged at our Christmas lunch, which I will describe in a later post. So, here is what I decided to bake:
Ricciarelli e crostatine ai cranberries / Ricciarelli and cranberry crostatine

I thought about making ricciarelli since I saw the recipe on one of my favorite inspirational blogs, 'Jugalbandi': they were speaking of an Italian cookie made with almonds, no flour and no butter and I had never tasted it in my life! I had to make it. So, I tried, and I'm really happy I did. It's a delicious, light and soft cookie, with all its taste and consistency due to a mixture of almonds, sugar and eggs. I followed Jai and Bee's recipe which you can find here, so I won't write it again. I decided not to add any fennel seed or orange
zest, though, and have it very 'natural', with just almonds and sugar. As you can see, the shape of my cookies is different from Jai and Bee's. I read somewhere that these cookies started to being made in Medieval times, and their shape was supposed to remind the almond-like shape of the beautiful eyes of the 'Madonna' painted in many of the paintings of that time. So I tried to reinterpret that shape in my cookies. I read also that nowadays cooks in Italy usually make them diamond-shaped. In any case, shape apart, these cookies are delicious, and I recommend them to everyone!
The other cookies you see are one of my favorite things that I usually bake when I make crostata, with the scraps of the dough. In this case, though, the dough was made on purpose for the cookies. For the dough recipe, you can look here, where you can find a recipe for a regular crostata dough and one with almonds. I made them with just regular flour, since I had almonds in the other cookies already. Once you make the dough, shape it in rounds, and flatten the center with your finger, making a little 'valley'. Pour a little of your favorite jam in it (in this case, homemade cranberry jam!), and cook at 400 F for ~20 min. They will be still soft when you take them out, but they will become a little crunchy when they cool down. I was very happy when my friend Vlasta saw them and told me they are her favorite cookies!


bee said...

these must have been really wonderful with cranberries. a happy new year to you.

Simo & Dan - Looking for our Home said...

Yum yum... Marta, non sapevo avessi questa passione e quest'arte culinaria. Peccato che viviamo lontani, mi perdo queste prelibatezze...