Christmas Recipes

Christmas Recipes
Christmas Recipes

Italian Recipes

Italian Recipes
Italian Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes
Dessert Recipes

Crostata di Cranberries-Cranberry Crostata

I have been craving more savory foods lately. I am feeling ready for a change. I think we baked more cookies than we normally do these last few weeks. And I’m really not complaining.


Christmas Stollen

I had plans for so many Christmas breads this month. I wanted to revisit a stollen I made last year. Well, I actually didn’t plan to revisit the same recipe. I was going to try a new recipe and make a pretty wreath. I tried this recipe from Cooking Light magazine that I saved from last year. 

Clementine Cranberry Scones

I like to have something ready to bake on Christmas morning. Something easy and delicious like these sweet little scones. I couldn’t decide which photo to post first. I know that scones really aren’t that glamorous and therein lies the beauty of a humble scone: Simplicity.


Biscotti di Pasta Frolla e Marmellata-Italian Jam Cookies

If you look closely to the top right of this pretty little cookie, you will see some smudges. You may see actually a couple others on the left side as well. That’s what happens when you bake with your kids.


Scandinavian Almond Bars


Baking and sharing cookies is a wonderful way to show how thankful we are for the special people in our lives. These last two weeks the kids and I have been busy baking cookies to share with people we love. 


Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Do you ever decide at the last minute that you want to go to a party? Or do you maybe forget you said you would go to a party and then need to bring something delicious because it’s a potluck kind of a party.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

The holiday season can be stressful for many of us. The month of December goes by in a flash. You maybe haven’t even started shopping. You maybe haven’t even started your lists!


Negroni Sbagliato

"And... I said YESSSS!" – Nelly. It happened one November midnight, in Twitterverse. We saw this tweet from our dear Nelly @nella22. Without missing a beat, we all knew Nelly had said "YES" to her beloved "M"as she sweetly calls Brian Murray, her fiance'.


Pandolce Genovese-Genovese Christmas Bread

Christmas time in Italy is truly magical. The cities are filled with spectacular lights and little markets. Everywhere you visit you may be offered panettone or pandoro. 

Panettone derives from the Italian word "panetto", a small loaf bread. I love panettone and pandoro and hope to bake one this Christmas. 

In the stunning Ligurian region of Italy, they make pandolce. This is a recipe I found in an older Saveur book I have that is all about Italian food. I also found a great Nick Malgieri recipe. I made this one instead and hope to try Nick’s one day soon. 

This slightly sweet fruit-and-nut-studded bread is sort of like biscotti and in my opinion, much better than a fruitcake. It’s dense and not as fluffy as panettone or pandoro. The smell is heavenly while it’s baking. I made two different kinds yesterday. One with currants and raisins. In the second one I added diced dried plums, dried apricots, currants, and raisins. Honestly, they were both fantastic!

Don’t be disappointed when your timer beeps letting you know your dough is ready to bake. It will look practically the same as when you put it in your greased bowl. I told you, it’s dense and it barely rises. pandolce-genovese-genovese-christmas-bread-2
I will be making this again for Christmas gifts and also for Christmas morning. Simple, rustic and delicious.

I would love to share this Pandolce Genovese with Bread Baking Day #45. :) This month’s Bread Baking Day #45 is the Christmas Edition. The event created by Zorra and this month is hosted by the lovely Cindystar.

 Bread Baking Day #45 - Xmas  Edition (last day of submission January 1, 2012)

I am also sending my Pandolce Genovese to the darling Susan of Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting.

Pandolce Genovese-Genovese Christmas Bread
adapted from: Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian 


1⁄2 tsp. active dry yeast
1⁄2 cup warm milk
1⁄2 cup butter, softened, plus additional   for greasing
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. fennel seeds (I omitted)
1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander (I omitted)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. orange flower water (I used 4 more tsp of vanilla)
3 1⁄2 cups flour


1⁄2 cup dried currants
1⁄3 cup golden raisins
1⁄3 cup finely chopped candied (I used grated zest from one orange )
   orange rind
1⁄3 cup pine nuts

Prepare the filling ingredients and set aside in a small bowl.
Dissolve yeast in milk in a small bowl. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat butter in an electric mixer and gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and orange flower water, and mix thoroughly.

Add milk and dissolved yeast and mix. (Mixture may appear slightly curdled.)

Switch to the dough hook and gradually add flour, mixing thoroughly.

When dough is smooth, mix in currants, raisins, orange rind, and pine nuts. The dough will be moist. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 3–4 hours. (Dough may only rise a little; this is a dense bread.)

*When you put the dough in the greased bowl, make sure it is smooth on top because when it ready to bake, you will just transform it directly from the bowl to the parchment lined baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 375°. Your dough may be sticky. If so, wet your hands before transferring the dough to your parchment lined cookie sheet. Shape into a 6" round and make a tic-tac-toe (#) pattern on top of the bread with a sharp knife.

Bake until golden, 45 minutes to 1 hour. *I checked my bread after about 40 minutes and lowered the heat to 350 and tented it with aluminum foil so it wouldn't brown too much more during the remainder of the baking time.

Cool completely. To serve, cut or break into small pieces and serve with sweet wine, if desired. (Store in an airtight container.)

I hope you enjoy this delicious Italian Christmas Bread. :)What special traditional recipe do you bake during the holidays?


Kokosbollar-Chocolate Truffles

kokosbollar-chocolate- truffles-1
I know I mentioned in a recent post that I’m a little excited about baking Christmas cookies. I’m excited about baking Christmas breads and cakes, too! I have been scouring through my old recipes and magazines. There are some recipes I’ve been dreaming of making for years. 

Ginger Sugar Cookies- #cookielove Bloghop

There are many flavors and scents that remind me of Christmas. The scent of sugar cookies and ginger cookies baking in the oven reminds me of being a kid again. We are in Christmas cookie baking mode and these were the first sweet little beauties we baked last week.

Matafan-Fluffy Mashed Potato Pancakes

How could it be that I had some mashed potatoes conveniently leftover to make these delectable Matafan? I have a thing for mashed potatoes. I would happily eat them as a meal. I always get seconds and thirds of stuffing and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.


Grape and Apple Pie

I don’t know why, but I can’t stop thinking about Christmas cookies! I am scanning every holiday magazine I have. I am even looking through recipes I saved from when I was in high school. I've become cookie obsessed. 


Dark Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

I know you may be expecting some pie recipes from me. I did send out on twitter a photo of what I baked for Thanksgiving, and there was a new pie in the mix. That pie will be appearing this week. Frankly, I’m sort of over pies for a moment. Ever since I took the last bite of Thanksgiving pie, I’ve had CHOCOLATE on my mind.

Easy Cranberry Sauce-Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been baking for a few days. My pie crusts have been ready and are now happily baking away. I’m looking forward to a relaxing day with friends, family, and plenty of wonderful food.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Dried Cranberries, and Pinoli

I love pistachios. I was really looking forward to this recipe since it had pistachios in it. I thought I was toasting them nicely. Well, I was until I had to walk away from the kitchen for a couple minutes.


Vegan Maple Pumpkin Pie

I had some pie recipe testing to do this week. I make the same pumpkin pie every year. It’s a keeper kind of recipe. This year I had to come up with a vegan pie to bring to our friend’s house.


Apple Orange Marmalade Crostata-Crostata di Mele con Marmellata di Arance

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and of course, all I am thinking about is dessert! I might also be thinking a little bit about the stuffing and cranberry sauce.


Dark Chocolate Clementine and Pinoli Compound Butter

Are you looking for an easy way to impress your guests with barely any work? I’ll share my secret with you: Compound butter. Compound butter is a clever and delicious culinary shortcut.

Torta Rustica di Pere-Rustica Pear Cake

I had been craving carrot cake all week. I decided instead to make a parsnip cake. Have you ever had a parsnip cake?

Israeli Couscous Salad with Butternut Squash-Squash Bloghop

I think I can find a recipe to make every day of the week with pumpkins and squash. Sweet or savory, they are happily welcomed in our kitchen in the cooler days of fall.

We make pasta almost every day. On some days I like to change things up a bit and make Israeli Couscous salads. I love to eat them at room temperature and the ingredients can be changed according to the season.

Healthy and delicious, this is a dish even my kids love. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you have to give this recipe a try.

November is #squashlove month!

Please join in on the #squashlove fun by linking up any squash recipe (pumpkins, winter squashes, zucchini, anything!) from the month of November 2011. Don't forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #squashlove event! The twitter hashtag is #squashlove :).

Cohosted by these talented friends:
Bakerstreet, Bloc de Recetas, Bon a Croquer, Cafe Terra BlogElephant Eats, Food Wanderings, Georgie Cakes, Hobby and More, Mike's Baking, Mis Pensamientos, My Twisted Recipes, No One Likes Crumbley Cookies, Queen's Notebook, Simply Reem, Skip to Malou, Teaspoon of Spice, The Daily Palette, The Professional Palate, The Spicy RD, Vegan Miam.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Butternut Squash

2 cups of Israeli couscous
boiled, until fully cooked, drained in a colander,
and rinsed with cold water.
4-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch red Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped, sliced thin
1 small organic zucchini, sliced
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley (you can use basil, as well)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp of rice vinegar, or other mild vinegar
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice


Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil and salt to taste in a large shallow baking pan and spread in 1 layer. Roast in upper third of oven 15 minutes, or until squash is just tender, and transfer to a large bowl (don’t overcook).

Swiss chard: Rinse the leaves well in water. Then cut the last half-inch or so off from the ends of each stem. Add 2-3 inches of water into the bottom of a 4 or 5 quart sauce pan, and put on the stove on high heat. You can chop up the rinsed leaves and stems while the water comes to a boil. In a medium sauce pan, when the water is boiling well, pack the chopped greens into the pan and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium and let the greens steam for 10-11 minutes.

While the squash and chard is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions and zucchini over medium-high heat with a bit of salt until the onions are translucent.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the Israeli couscous until tender, about 10 minutes.
When the chard is tender, drain and add to a large serving dish. Add the onions and zucchini.
Scrape the butternut squash into the bowl.

Drain but don’t rinse the Israeli couscous and add to the large serving dish.

Mix together with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste. Mix together the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and fold in gently all the other ingredients.

Can be served at room temperature.Refrigerate any leftovers.
Thanks for stopping by to say “HI” and I can’t wait to see your squash links.:)


Pumpkin Coconut Bundt Cake-Ciambella di Zucca e Cocco

This is the kind of cake I like to bake on a rainy Sunday before Halloween. Spicy and full of pumpkin moistness. No need for any thick frosting. Better to save the sugary stuff for what was coming the day after Halloween.


Crostata Autunnale-Autumn Crostata for Kelly Confidential

I have a thing for crostatas. I especially love the ease of a free-formed crostata. Unpretentious and rustic, it is one of my favorite Italian deserts. I make them very often.

Streusel Topped Plum Muffins {Taste of Home Baking Book Giveaway!}

Holy cow! When I look at this image again, I’m totally ready to make another batch of these beauties! I’m not a big muffin baker, and not for a lack of interest. I mean, I am a HUGE fan of savory or sweet muffins. 

Penne con Lenticchie Rosse e Zucchine-Penne with Red Lentils and Zucchini

It’s been raining for three days. Luca told me about the “tomado” warning at school today. This is fall in Florida. There aren’t many pretty cool days. We aren’t going on any apple picking trips or pumpkin picking. For sure you can’t find any hay rides.


Apple Pie Coffee Cake

When Abby Dodge put the word out on twitter that this month’s #baketogether would be a coffee cake, I knew mine would have apples in it. My dad had been hinting the last few times he came to visit that he would love another apple pie.

Pissaladière-French Fridays with Dorie

This is my new favorite recipe. It’s not for you fabulous singles that are about to embark on a romantic first date. It’s topped with an abundance of delicious slightly caramelized onions and anchovies. Oh! Let’s not forget the olives! I suggest you make this for your date, hence solving the bad breath issue.

Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles

It was a blustery, rainy weekend. I was too lazy to check the weather report online to see what exactly was going on. The winds were gusting at around 40 MPH. I was completely unmotivated to drag the kids around in that kind of weather. 

B is for Brownies! Vegan Brownies

I love brownies. I don’t discriminate. I will try brownies that are rich and dense. Fluffy and cake like. I don’t believe there exists a brownie that I would say no to. That’s why I never make them.


The Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts Book Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts book giveaway!

I LOVE this book! I could bake (and eat!)pie every day!!

The winner is Barb from Creative Culinary. CONGRATS Barb! I know you will put this book to good use:)


Mini Plum Tarts and a Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts Givaway!

I like to snack on dried plums. They actually were one of my favorite snacks when I was a little girl. But back then we called them prunes. Dried plums sounds more sophisticated than prunes. I even remember having a glass of prune juice on occasion. 

Tartufi al Cioccolato–Chocolate Truffles and Dove Chocolate Discoveries Winner!

I promised all of you another Dove Chocolate Discoveries recipe. This one was my favorite to make. It is TO DIE FOR delicious and I am dreaming about them all over again!

Chana Masala with Basmati Rice

I recently have been lacking some culinary spark. I feel like I’ve been in a culinary funk. with what I am usually cooking and baking. I sometimes get stuck in a rut cooking the same dishes over and over again.


Vegan Fig Upside-Down Cake

Sweet and sticky figs dripping over a moist and rich cake. Hard to believe that I would use sticky and moist to describe a vegan cake. Usually I’m raving about the virtues of butter. I still love butter. A lot.


Petite Chocolate Mousse Cups and a Dove Chocolate Discoveries Giveaway

I know I’m guilty of neglecting my deep love of chocolate desserts. I have neglected my readers and their love of chocolate desserts. Most importantly, my family has been neglected. I think I have a delicious way of making up for the precious chocolate time lost.


Orecchiette con Cavolofiore e Asparagi- Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Asparagus

Orecchiette con Cavolofiore e Asparagi- Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Asparagus
Is it possible to live on pasta alone? Could there be a more perfect meal choice? Rich and smothered in Italian cheeses or a lighter version made with fresh seasonal vegetables; pasta is my favorite dinner choice.

Yes, we sometimes have pasta every day of the week!   We aren’t vegetarian, but I try to cook creative, healthy, meat-free pasta dishes as often as possible. I can my own tomatoes and we do eat them until we run out. Most evenings I open the refrigerator and check out what fresh veggies I happen to have.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE macaroni and cheese. I ADORE lasagne. But I save those dishes for once in a while. Sometimes a simple and delicate pasta dish is all I crave.

This cauliflower pasta dish is similar to one my mother-in-law Teresa makes. She is the guru of economic and healthy pasta dishes. She was successful in getting my kids to eat cauliflower by cleverly mixing it with pasta. Cauliflower happened to not be one of their favorite vegetables. Probably because I rarely cook with them. Since I learned her pasta recipe, that has changed. It’s now one of my favorite healthy pasta dishes.

I’ve been trying to remember tips I learned from Andrew Scrivani at IFBC. Andrew Scrivani talked to us about the beauty and appeal of steam in photos. It’s just not happening. I’ve almost burned myself every time. I think I need to leave the steamy photos to Andrew for now and will stay burn free.Winking smile

We had seconds of this pasta dish. It was THAT good.

Pasta con Cavolofiore e Asparagi- Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Asparagus
1 head cauliflower, cored, cut into florets
1 cup of asparagus, diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
1 small onion, diced
1 pound orecchiette pasta
a handful of Italian parsley, chopped
Parmigiano Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 6-quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. When the water comes to a boil, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.

Divide the cauliflower into florets. Bring a medium sauce pan filled with a little bit of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower on top of your steamer and let the cauliflower simmer covered. Steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes.

While the cauliflower is steaming, sauté’ the onion and asparagus. The asparagus should be al dente.  Remove the cauliflower from the steamer and pulse a few times in a food processor.
You could also mash the cauliflower with a potato masher. Add the asparagus mixture and mix together.  
Drain the pasta and add to the cauliflower mixture. If needed, add a little more extra-virgin olive oil, add the chopped parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. 

Hope you have a FABULOUS weekend! I’ve been sort of MIA recently. Back to school has been keeping me swamped and with little time to visit my blogging friends. I do miss seeing what you all have been up to. Luca has had some sleep issues and it’s like having a newborn again. I’m seriously sleep-deprived and trying to not be cranky. Tonight I’m hoping for a full night’s sleep. Keep your fingers crossed for us!Smile