Italian Christmas Cookies

Gail Vilardo Frommeyer, Cuisine Editor

Christmas Desserts Common to the Twenty Regions of Italy

The recipes for this Holiday Season to share with all of our readers will be three very traditional desserts that are a common thread in all of the Twenty Regions of Italy.

PIZZELLE ( Waffle Cookie)


6 large eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup ( 2 sticks) of butter melted

2 Tbs. vanilla or anise

Dash of salt

4 teasp. Baking powder

3 ½ cups of All Purpose flour

Recommended equipment: Heated Pizzelle iron ( 7-8 minutes)

Beat together: sugar, eggs, butter vanilla

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt; Add to the liquid mixture- Beat with mixer for 2 minutes. The dough should be STICKY enough to be dropped from a teaspoon onto the center of the Pizzelle iron. Bake for 30 seconds until lightly brown. Cool on a rack.

  • If you wish to make a pizzelle bowl—While hot, quickly place the baked Pizzelle in a small fruit cup and form a cup shape. Remove from the bowl and cool on the rack.


                  Tordilli or Struffoli  ( Honey Dops)



6 large eggs, at room temperature

½ cup of sugar

½ cup of vegetable oil

1 TBS of Anise , or vanilla

Zest of 1 orange

3 ½ -4 cups of All Purpose flour

1 teasp. Baking powder

1 IB. of honey mixed with ½ teasp. of ground cinnamon


In a large bowl, mix together ( with wooden spoon) eggs, sugar, anise or vanilla, and oil.

Add flour, baking powder- Stir until all ingredients are mixed together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flowered surface and knead about 15 minutes.

Pinch off a piece of dough and roll onto 5-6 inch rope. Cut into small pieces and roll on fork or twist the rope, or slit the sides of the rope on both sides.

In a large pot heat about 3 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Fry cookies in oil until golden brown about 30 seconds on each side. Remove cookies from the oil and drain on paper towels.

In another pot, heat honey and cinnamon to boil—Reduce heat to low and Drop a few Tordilli in the warm honey and stir to coat evenly.

Remove from hot honey and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon/ sugar and cool on a sheet of parchment paper that has been spayed with Pam to avoid sticking.



                   CUCIDATI  ( Italian Fig Cookies)



4 cups of All Purpose flour

1 ½ All Purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup of sugar

1 cup of vegetable oil

1 lg. egg

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk



2 cups dried figs, soaked in water

2 cups dried dates- pitted ( about 14 dates)

1 ½ cups raisins

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup orange marmalade

2/3 cup walnuts or almond coarsely chopped1 lg. egg white with 1 TBS. water for egg wash

Colored sprinkles


* Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a lag. Bowl. Add sugar and stir well by HAND. Cut in the shortening with a fork and work the mixture until it looks like corn meal. In a bowl, beat the egg, vanilla, and milk together. Add the flour mixture and work the mixture with your hands into a rough dough.

*Turn the dough out onto a flowered work surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth. The dough will be soft. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and Chill for 45 minutes.

* To make the filling, grind the figs, dates, and raisins in a food processor until course; or coarsely chop. Place the mixture in to bowl, add honey, cinnamon, marmalade, and nuts and mix well. The mixture will be thick. Set aside

 *Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet or use parchment paper.

* Dough has been divided into quarters – work with on piece of dough at a time- keeping the remaining dough covered. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 12 inch square. Cut the dough into 4×3 inch rectangles, and spoon 2 Tbs of the filling mixture down the center of each rectangle. Carefully fold over the long edges of each rectangle to meet in the center, then pinch the seam to close securely, and turn the cookie seam side down. Pinch the ends closed and fold the ends under, Shape the cookies into crescents and place the seam side down on the cookie sheet. Make 2 or 3 diagonal slits in the top of each crescent with scissors. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with colored sprinkles.

* Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

* You may wish to eliminate the egg wash and make a confectioners’ sugar glaze; when the cookies are still warm drizzle the glaze over them and sprinkle with colored sprinkles.




** This recipe is from “Ciao Italia” by Mary Ann Esposito

Wishing all the La Voce Readers a Blessed Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year — BUON NATALIE E BUON ANNO 2021

Blessings, Gail Vilardo Frommeyer