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The Scottos bake up Italian holiday cookies

End your holiday dinner with a sweet treat from the Scottos. Elaina, Anthony, Rosanna and Marion Scotto from the Manhattan restaurant Fresco share some traditional Italian cookies.

Pignoli Cookies
Servings:

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

    • 3 cups almond paste, coarsely crumbled
    • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large egg whites
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 cup pine nuts

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 2. Pulse almond paste in a food processor until broken up into small bits, then add confectioners sugar and salt and continue to pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute. 3. Beat together almond mixture, egg whites, and honey in electric mixer at medium to high speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. 4. Spoon batter into a pastry bag and pipe or spoon 1 1/2-inch rounds about 1-inch apart onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Gently press pine nuts into tops of cookies. 5. Bake cookies until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, place on parchment paper and set aside to cool.

Struffoli with Honey
Servings:

6 servings

Ingredients

    • 12 eggs
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1/2 cup rye whiskey
    • 6 cups all purpose flour
    • Canola Oil
    • 4 cups honey
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, salt, and rye with a wooden spoon until blended. 2. Pour the flour onto a pastry board and make a well in the center. Pour in the egg mixture and knead the dough until all the egg mixture is absorbed. 3. Cover the dough and let stand for 20 minutes. 4. In a large pot, heat 3 inches of canola oil to 350°F. Break off a palm-size piece of the dough and, using your hands, roll into a cylinder about the thickness of a pencil. Cut off 1/2-inch pieces and deep fry in the hot oil until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough. Set aside on paper towels to drain the oil. 5. When all the pieces are fried, combine the honey, lemon juice, and chopped walnuts in large pot. Set over medium heat and heat until the mixture boils. 6. Pour the melted honey mixture over the Struffoli and stir to coat. Pile high on a platter and serve.

Chocolate Kisses
Servings:

Makes 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients

    • 8 ounces granulated sugar
    • 1 pound butter or margarine
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 pound, 2 ounces bread flour
    • 4 ounces finely ground hazelnuts
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Place sugar, butter or margarine, egg, and vanilla in a mixing bowl; mix on low speed using the dough hook, just long enough to incorporate the ingredients. 2. Add flour and hazelnuts, and mix just until the dough is smooth. 3. Scoop dough by teaspoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. After cookies cool, sandwich together with melted chocolate.

Stain Glass Cookies
Servings:

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • Vanilla granulated sugar, optional
    • 36 Assorted “Candy LifeSavers”

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and mace to combine thoroughly; set aside. 2. In mixer bowl combine butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Add egg and beat again until fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just well combined. 3. Enclose dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (1 to 2 hours or overnight). 4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Work with about half of the dough at a time, keeping remainder in refrigerator. On a lightly floured board or pastry cloth, roll out dough to a thickness of about ?-inch. Cut cookies into rounds or star shapes. Cut out the center of each cookie and then carefully transfer to lightly greased baking sheet. Place a “Candy LifeSaver” in the center and sprinkle with vanilla granulated sugar. 5. Bake until cookies are golden (10 to 12 minutes). Let stand for about 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Biscotti and Variations
Servings:

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

    • 6 eggs separated
    • 1/2 pound unsalted butter melted and cooled almost to room temperature
    • 2 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 1/4 pound all purpose flour
    • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Flavorings for Biscotti

  • Cinnamon-Almond

    • 10 ounces almonds whole, toasted
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon ground
  • Hazelnut-Raisin

    • 6 ounces hazelnuts toasted
    • 6 ounces golden raisins
    • 2 teaspoon Fennel seed
  • Walnut-Chocolate

    • 6 ounces walnuts toasted
    • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped medium size

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Beat the egg yolks with 1 1/4 cup of the sugar until they are pale yellow in color and the sugar is dissolved. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, add the 1 1/4 cup of sugar a little at a time until all the sugar is added and dissolved. Fold the egg yolk and the egg white mixtures together. 2. Add your flavoring ingredients and vanilla. 3. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold into the egg mixture 1/4 at a time, it will become stiff at the end and should be finished with a wooden spoon. 4. Roll the dough into cylinders and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350º oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baked cylinders from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. 5. Slice the cylinders into 1/2-inch slices on the bias. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and return the cookies to the oven fore 10 more minutes until they are lightly browned and the edges are crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool. Can be stored in an airtight container for 2 months

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