Italian Christmas cookies are cookies prepared in the Italian style for Christmas. The recipes are rich and laden with calories and so, these days, healthy versions of the Italian Christmas cookies are also getting quite popular.
There are numerous varieties of Italian Christmas cookies when it comes to baking them in strict accordance with tradition. Christmas is often reckoned as a baking holiday for the Italian folk and the women spend their time preparing a range of Italian Christmas cookies.
The best thing about the Italian Christmas cookies is that there are no artificial flavors or preservatives used. It is mandatory to eat them freshly baked straight out of the oven which does enhance the taste significantly. Most old Italian homes still choose to bake age old favorites like the Pizzelles, Ribbons, Snicker doodles and Rosettes by following the Italian Christmas cookies recipes steadfastly.
Significance of Italian Christmas Cookies
Italian cuisine is divided into two distinct parts according to the North and South of the region. The nature of the Italian Christmas cookies varies considerably according to the regions as well. The ‘S’ shaped cookies are an old favorite of the Sicilians who also enjoy the exotic fig cookies prepared in accordance to the old Italian Christmas cookies recipes of the area.
Ricciarelli, a Sienese delight is a chewy almond cookie made especially for Christmas but enjoyed all the year round now. The orange flavor is particularly appealing and the cookie simply melts in the mouth.
Modern Italian Christmas Cookie Recipes and Variations
The Struffoli is an age old favorite among the Italian Christmas cookies but the usage of honey as the sweetener has been modified quite a bit in the recent times. The sprinkle of diavolilli is not adhered to as strictly now and bits of nuts or chocolate chips are often used as variations.
The Caggionetti , another hot favorite from Naples has undergone a lot of alterations and now comes in a number of variations as well. Wine added to the filling instead of fruit juice is yet another innovation that has become popular over the years.
Italian Christmas cookies along with other goodies are believed to be gifted to the children of Italy by La Befana, the Christmas witch.