For as long as I can remember, every December was a huge baking and cooking time of year, an ‘Italian’ style kinda of holiday. My grandmother’s kitchen would be with smells of home-made succo (red sauce), home-made Italian bread and all the sweet treats of course! My favorite cookies were and still are the Italian tea cookies; I can never remember their name in Italian…but they are a delicate ‘cakey’ cookie that isn’t too sweet, but then drenched in a light and thin frosting and, of course, red and green are the colors we go use (though the red ones are more pinkish). However, I would dread making these. At 10 years old they just seemed so labor intensive… Ha ha ha! But now I look forward to these out of all the recipes every year. I feel as if I go into a meditative state when making them; reminiscing the past holidays when I would bake with my grandma, always learning and eager to taste the final products! Their not the most atractive cookie, but they will always remind me of my childhood and my grandmother.
The next italian treat is the ‘Pizzelle’. A think waffle-like cookie with hints of anisette. These are a huge family favorite. By the time your done making them, their gone! Always frustrating, but of course fun : ) In order to make you need a ‘Pizzelle Iron’ that you can only get at a authentic Italian Market, or I’m sure online somewhere. I’ve had mine for about 10 years now and it’s still going strong! They ten to be like a cast iron skillet; only getting better with age and use. They are not a ‘sweet’ cookie and are on the drier side, which is why unless you grew up with them, most people aren’t too thrilled about them. But that doesn’t matter much to me, I love them, my family adores them and they are a staple at our holidays.
Now onto the savory Sausage-Bread. I’m not sure where this began, but I know it’s been around as long as I have. My family is Sicilian and great-grandparents came straight from Sicily themselves, so I assume this is a take on something that was made over there. Another family favorite that gets eaten before all the batches are done! We have gradually changed the ‘form’ of these through the last few years; from a loaf of bread to mini individual rolls. Their easier to pass around, cook faster and you get all the cheesiness oozing out over the top. Don’t get me wrong, the loaf is wonderful also, but for a party setting, the rolls work best!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little taste of what my holiday has on it’s menu. I know I’ve enjoyed sharing! In case your wondering, by staying true to my Grandmothers wishes that they will always stay with the family,
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I’d love to hear some of your family holiday traditions.
Have a Fabulously Sweet Day!