Christmas in Abruzzo isn’t just a time of baking delicious biscuits and cookies, there are also some spectacular feel good deep fried goodies that are guaranteed to see off icy bora and mistral blasts, or, fend off end-of-school hunger pangs as my son and his 2 friends verified when they tested them out as their after school treat (merenda in Italian).
We’re trying out 3 new Abruzzesi recipes for the international Christmas Cookie Swap, arranged by the always inspiring Tuscan based blog Juls Kitchen, kept by the food writer Giulia Scarpaleggia. She matches to you 2 other participants who you bake for and who send you surprise Christmas cookies!
We’d already tried out these 4 Abruzzesi Christmas cookie favourites below, now onto new tempting delights!
Caciunitt, Caggionetti or Calcionetti Abruzzesi
These delicious and addictive fried ravioli are stuffed with a soft chocolate, chestnut, orange peel and rum filling, try the recipe.
Mooreish spiced Italian Christmas cookies that can use up half drunk bottles of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo left over from the night before and coated in thick chocolate, try the recipe
These team chickpeas, almonds and dark chocolate and coat them in the town of Prezza’s famous mosto cotto, encasing them in a soft egg based fried pastry that easily fools you into having six with an espresso, try the recipe
An Abruzzese light and tasty must-try dish that rivals the region’s beloved arrosticini for fame are Pizzelle, Cancellate, Neole or Ferratelle depending on which of the provinces you are in, try the recipe.
Abruzzese Christmas Cookie Recipes
- 200 g of wholewheat flour
- 200 g of blanched almonds
- 200 g of orange honey
- Zest from 1 organic orange
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- In a bowl mix together the almonds, flour, orange zest and pepper.
- In a saucepan, gently heat the honey until it becomes fluid.
- Add the honey and knead until the dough is smooth.
- Cut into 2 and shape into a rectangular 5 cm wide loaves and place them on baking sheet on a baking tray.
- Bake in in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, then once cooked, cut the loaves into slices diagonally , 1 cm thick.
- Bake once more for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- They can be kept in tin boxes for 2-3 months, they become softer as they get older! Serve with wine!
Thanks to dolcementeinventando for use of her image
Torcinelli or li turcinill
- 500 g 00 flour
- 150 g of finely mashed boiled potato
- 50 g of water
- 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
- 100 ml of white wine or milk
- 125 g of raisins
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- A pinch of salt and sugar
- 1 square of brewer's yeast or 1 packet of yeast
- Mix the yeast with warm water and 100 grams of flour and let it rise for an hour in a bowl.
- A the wet ingredients and then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.
- Knead the dough well, cover and let it rise for 3 hours in a warm place.
- After rising, pull pieces of dough and roll to the size of an index finger. Fry in plenty of hot ground nut or light olive oil for a couple of minutes till crisp They should rise to the surface when they are done!
- Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with brown granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Thanks to Incucina daeva for use of her image and recipe!
- 330 g blanched almonds
- 230 g icing sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- Grated zest 1/2 unwaxed lemon
- Wash the lemon, dry it and grate half of it.
- Toast the almonds in a frying pan and then chop the almonds or chop them with the mixer (they should not be too coarse or too fine), pour them into a bowl and season with the grated lemon rind and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Whisk the egg whites with the electric whisk until stiff, add the sugar and continue to beat until you get a shiny and solid meringue.
- Stir in 3/4 of the almond meringue, mix gently with a spatula until a thick, well-blended mixture is obtained.
- Shape the dough, about 3 cm high and 7/8 cm wide. With a knife, spread the remaining meringue over the entire surface excluding the edges.
- Cut the nougat into small rectangles.
- Place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
- Bake at 90 °C for about an hour (they must only dry and not color). Turn off and let cool in the oven.
Thanks to Dolci da Sogno for use of image and recipe!