With Christmas coming up, I've been tempted into baking Christmas cookies from all over the world. And I'm sharing my favorite recipes with y'all!
Tuscany has a special place in my heart. After all, I did spent 6 months of my life living there and learning how to cook Italian food the Italian way. Looking back, I'm surprised I didn't return to the states weighing a million pounds. The food in Florence is just amazing. Quite honestly, if you visited Florence for a couple days and did nothing but eat, your trip would be worth every penny! And last spring, my little brother and I did just that.
We were in Florence for a couple of incredibly rainy and cold days. So when we began the long walk to this amazing pizza place, Gusta Pizza, we ended up having to take a break at this cute coffee shop right on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio. Now I adore Italian cappuccinos, so I figured we could grab a couple to warm us up and be on our way. An then we saw their pastry case! How could we say no to Italian pastries? So we tried a couple things and and the waiter ended up giving us these delectable little cookies called ricciarelli to try! Ricciarelli are traditional Tuscan cookies made during Christmas with almond meal and orange zest. For such a little cookie, they are quite dangerous! And sadly, we spent over 100 euros for cookies for our friends and family back home!
- 3 cups almond meal
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar plus more for rolling
- Zest from one orange
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tbs orange juice
- 2 tbs almond extract
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- Mix together both sugars, almond meal, baking powder, salt and zest.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the egg whites into the dry mix.
- Add in both extracts and juice. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a shallow dish, place powdered sugar.
- Using an small ice-cream scoop, scoop the mix into the powered sugar one by one and roll in the sugar until fully covered.
- Place on cookie sheet about an inch apart. Press down slightly with your fingers, just until flattened.
- Let sit for at least an hour to dry out a little.
- Bake in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Let cool and enjoy!