Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray: A Cookbook

Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray: A Cookbook

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by Maria Bruscino Sanchez
     
 

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Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray presents sixty-five recipes for the delicious, festive cookies that brighten every Italian home, at the holidays and all year-round.
Maria Bruscino Sanchez opened Sweet Maria's bakery when she was just twenty-six years old, specializing in authentic Italian cookies and cakes made from handed-down family recipes. The

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Overview

Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray presents sixty-five recipes for the delicious, festive cookies that brighten every Italian home, at the holidays and all year-round.
Maria Bruscino Sanchez opened Sweet Maria's bakery when she was just twenty-six years old, specializing in authentic Italian cookies and cakes made from handed-down family recipes. The result has been a booming business, and this very special cookbook.
The irresistible reciples range from drop, molded and filled cookies; biscotti; taralle and biscuits; pizelles, and more. Easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion (or no occasion at all) they include:

Chocolate Almond Macaroons, Pignoli Nut Cookies, Amaretto Biscotti Sesame Cookies, Almond Crescents, Lemon Drop Cookies, Chocolate Puffs, Florentines, Lady Fingers, Sweet Ravioli Cookies, Christmas Honey Clusters, Angel Wings, Cinnamon Nut Bars, and more.

Whether you grew up in an Italian home or just wish you did, this wonderful collection is sure to become a cookie lover's favorite--one you will return to again and again.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312156701
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/28/1997
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
78,003
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.36(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray

A Cookbook


By Maria Bruscino Sanchez

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 1997 Maria Bruscino Sanchez
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-4178-5



CHAPTER 1

DROP COOKIES

These cookies are formed by dropping the cookie dough off an everyday teaspoon onto the cookie sheet, using your index finger to push the dough off the teaspoon. If the dough is sticky, lightly dust your with flour.

These are the easiest type of cookies to bake. There's no rolling, cutting, or filling. They are practically foolproof, and a great place to start your adventure into Italian cookie baking.


LEMON DROP COOKIES


ANGINETTI

When most people think of "Italian cookies, "they 're usually referring to these light, frosted treats. Our family has always frosted them pure white, but feel free to add a few drops of food coloring to the frosting or sprinkle the moist frosting with colored sprinkles.

3 EGGS
½ CUP MILK
2 TEASPOONS LEMON EXTRACT
½ CUP SUGAR
½ CUP VEGETABLE OIL
3 CUPS FLOUR
8 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, milk, lemon extract, sugar, and oil until well blended.

3. On low speed, add flour and baking powder. Mix until just blended. The dough should be soft and sticky.

4. Lightly dust the dough and your fingers with a little additional flour.

5. Drop the dough from a teaspoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart.

6. Bake immediately for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly browned.

7. Remove cookie sheet from oven. Using a metal spatula, remove cookies from sheet onto wire racks.

8. Cool on wire racks.

9. Frost with Lemon Confectioners' Frosting (see the following recipe). If it is necessary to freeze cookies, use heavy-duty plastic freezer bags and freeze the cookies unfrosted.

YIELDS 50 COOKIES


CONFECTIONERS' FROSTING

This is a basic glaze that can be used for several different cookies. It is a very versatile icing. You can Substitute anise or another extract to create different flavors.

6 CUPS CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
2 TEASPOONS VANILLA EXTRACT
½ CUP WATER


1. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat all ingredients until smooth.

2. Using a metal spatula, frost the tops of the cookies. The frosting will drip down the sides and coat the cookies.

3. Dry the frosted cookies on wire cooling racks. Store in an airtight container.

YIELDS ENOUGH FOR 50 COOKIES


LEMON CONFECTIONERS' FROSTING


6 CUPS CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
2 TEASPOONS LEMON EXTRACT
½ CUP WATER


Follow instructions in steps 1 to 3 above.


ORANGE CONFECTIONERS' FROSTING


6 CUPS CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
2 TEASPOONS ORANGE EXTRACT
½ CUP ORANGE JUICE


Follow instructions in steps 1 to 3 above.


CHOCOLATE CLOVE DROPS

This cookie is a Christmas favorite of many families I know. It has an uncommon flavor combination of cocoa and cloves. We always leave a few of these cookies and a fresh cup of cappuccino for Santa.


2½ CUPS FLOUR
3 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
½ TEASPOON BAKING SODA
¼ CUP COCOA
1 TEASPOON GROUND CLOVES
½ TEASPOON NUTMEG
½ TEASPOON CINNAMON
2 EGGS
¾ CUP SUGAR
½ CUP MILK
½ CUP VEGETABLE SHORTENING, MELTED, THEN COOLED


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a large stainless-steel bowl, with a wooden spoon, mix together 2 cups of the flour, the baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

4. In an electric mixer or with a wire whisk, beat eggs and sugar. Add milk and melted shortening. Mix well.

5. Pour egg mixture into the well and begin to mix with a wooden spoon.

6. With a wooden spoon, mix in the remaining ½ cup flour. This will give you a slightly sticky dough. Drop from a teaspoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.

7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove cookie sheet from the oven.

8. Using a metal spatula, remove cookies from the baking sheet onto wire cooling racks. Cool, then frost with Chocolate Clove Frosting (see following recipe). Let frosting dry for a few hours before serving. Store frosted cookies in an airtight container. Freeze unfrosted cookies in plastic freezer bags.

YIELDS 50 COOKIES


CHOCOLATE CLOVE FROSTING

Use this tasty icing to accent the chocolate clove drops.


½ CUP MILK
1 TEASPOON GROUND CLOVES
½ TEASPOON NUTMEG
3 CUPS CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
½ TEASPOON CINNAMON
½ CUP COCOA


1. With an electric mixer, mix all ingredients until smooth.

2. Using a metal spatula or butter knife, frost the tops of the cookies. If the frosting is too stiff to spread, add a few drops of water to it and dip your butter knife or spatula in water before spreading.

YIELDS ENOUGH FOR 50 COOKIES


MACAROONS

THE TRADITIONAL MACAROON IS THE ALMOND MACAROON. IT HAS A FIRM DOUGH THAT ALLOWS YOU TO ROLL IT INTO UNIFORM SHAPES. COCONUT MACAROONS HAVE A LOOSER, BATTERTYPE DOUGH. BECAUSE IT IS SO LOOSE, IT'S EASIER TO FORM COOKIES BY DROPPING THE DOUGH FROM A TEASPOON ONTO THE BAKING SHEET.


CHRISTMAS FRUIT DROPS

These are dense little fruit-filled drops, like tiny fruitcakes. Be sure to use a combination of red and green cherries for the Christmas holidays.

In Italian homes, Christmas Eve is always the bigger celebration than Christmas Day. We enjoy a large dinner of pasta and fish followed by special holiday sweets. We even open all our gifts on Christmas Eve!


2 CUPS GLACÉ CHERRIES, CHOPPED
1 CUP WALNUTS, CHOPPED
1¾ CUPS FLOUR
¼ POUND BUTTER, SOFTENED
½ CUP SUGAR
1 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
3 EGGS
PINCH OF SALT


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix cherries and nuts with 2 tablespoons of the flour. Use a wooden spoon and mix until fruit and nuts are coated. Set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until light. Add eggs and mix until blended.

4. On low speed, gradually add the remaining flour and salt to make a soft dough. Stir in floured nuts and cherries.

5. Drop cookie dough from a rounded teaspoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart.

6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove cookie sheet from the oven.

7. Using a metal spatula, remove cookies from the cookie sheet and place on wire cooling racks.

8. Cool. Serve plain, dust with confectioners' sugar, or frost with Lemon Confectioners' Frosting (see recipe).


FLORENTINES

These crispy, almost candylike cookies are the highlight of any tray. They have a zesty, fresh orange flavor that complements the rich chocolate coating. Festively wrapped in a candy box or cellophane bag tied with a fabric ribbon, they make great holiday gifts.


4 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
3 TABLESPOONS HEAVY CREAM
3 TABLESPOONS HONEY
¾ CUP CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
1/3 CUP FLOUR
JUICE OF 1 ORANGE
ZEST OF 1 ORANGE
1½ CUPS ALMONDS, FINELY GROUND


CHOCOLATE SPREAD


6 OUNCES SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE
(6 SQUARES)
2 TEASPOONS CORN SYRUP
¼ CUP ADDITIONAL ALMONDS,
SLICED, FOR GARNISH


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add heavy cream, honey, confectioners' sugar, flour, and orange juice. Mix with a wire whisk to break up any lumps you may have from the flour or sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil until thickened, about 1 minute.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in orange zest and almonds. Allow batter to cool enough to the touch, about 5 minutes

4. Drop ¼ teaspoon of batter onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the entire cookie is lightly browned. Remove cookie sheet from the oven.

6. Cool cookies on parchment paper. When cool, remove from parchment paper with a metal spatula.

7. Melt chocolate slowly in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.

8. Stir in corn syrup. Using a butter knife or a metal spatula, put a dab of chocolate on the underside of each cookie. Spread to coat the cookie and sprinkle with sliced almonds while chocolate is still moist. If the chocolate gets too thick for spreading, return it over the simmering water to thin the chocolate back to spreading consistency.

9. Let cookies dry, chocolate side up, for approximately 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.

YIELDS 40 COOKIES


COCONUT MACAROONS

These classic cookies are traditionally a part of bridal shower cookie trays. Not only are the cookies enjoyed at the shower, but many women bring plastic bags or fill their napkins with cookies to take home for the men to enjoy. The light and spongy texture comes from really whipping the egg whites.


3 EGG WHITES
1 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
¾ CUP CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
1¼ CUPS SWEETENED FLAKED COCONUT
½ CUP FLOUR


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

3. Gradually add confectioners' sugar. Mix well.

4. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the coconut and flour until blended.

5. Drop from a teaspoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove cookie sheet from the oven.

7. Cool cookies on parchment paper. When fully cool, carefully remove cookies using a metal spatula. Store in an airtight container to retain softness.

YIELDS 30 COOKIES


ORANGE ALMOND DROPS

These cookies have a popular Italian flavor combination — orange and almond. As a child, I never liked orange rind. My mom always said that my taste would change, and she was right. Now these orange almond drops are one of my favorites.

After cooling the cookies, you can either dust them with confectioners sugar or frost them with an orange variation of confectioners icing.


¼ POUND BUTTER, SOFTENED
1 CUP SUGAR
2 EGGS GRATED RIND OF 1 ORANGE
½ CUP ORANGE JUICE (FROM ORANGE AFTER GRATING)
2½ CUPS FLOUR
½ TEASPOON SALT
½ TEASPOON BAKING SODA
¾ CUP CHOPPED ALMONDS


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, orange rind, and orange juice. Mix until blended.

3. Gradually add flour, salt, and baking soda on low speed and mix just until blended. The dough should be soft. Stir in chopped almonds.

4. Drop from a teaspoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove cookie sheet from the oven.

6. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet using a metal spatula. Cool on wire cooling racks.

7. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before using. Or frost with Orange Confectioners' Frosting (see recipe). Let frosted cookies dry on wire cooling racks.

YIELDS 50 COOKIES


ALMOND WINE COOKIES

These cookies have a delicate sweetness and a rich toasted almond flavor. They are a great springtime dessert, perfect wrapped in a special Easter basket.


¼ POUND BUTTER, SOFTENED
½ CUP SUGAR
2 EGG YOLKS
½ TEASPOON ANISE EXTRACT
1 CUP FLOUR
¼CUP DRY WHITE WINE
½ CUP CHOPPED ALMONDS
½ CUP SLIVERED ALMONDS


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add the egg yolks and anise extract. Mix until blended.

3. On low speed, add flour and wine alternately and mix until blended. Mix in chopped almonds to form a soft dough.

4. Using a teaspoon, drop dough into slivered almonds and roll around to coat.

5. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Press the tops of the cookies to flatten.

6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

7. Remove cookie sheet from the oven. Using a metal spatula, remove the cookies from the cookie sheet onto a wire cooling rack. Cool.

8. Store cookies in an airtight container.

CHAPTER 2

MOLDED AND ROLLED COOKIES

These are cookies that are shaped or rolled into balls, or cut from cookie cutters.

TO ROLL INTO BALLS: Break off a teaspoon-size piece of dough. Roll between your palms into a small, tight ball. If the dough is sticky, lightly flour your hands.

BAGGED: To press dough from a pastry bag, the dough must be soft. Press from a bag onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet in desired shape.

ROLLED AND CUT: Roll dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. If necessary, dust rolling pin with flour to avoid sticking. Just be sure not to overflour or the dough will become tough. Lightly dust cookie cutters with flour to avoid sticking.


BUTTER COOKIES

These are rich and buttery treats. Dress them up by adding a cherry or nut before baking. Or after baking, dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts.


½ POUND BUTTER, SOFTENED
¾ CUP SUGAR
1 EGG
1 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
2½ CUPS FLOUR
½ TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
PINCH OF SALT
GLACÉ CHERRY HALVES, OPTIONAL


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until really fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until well blended.

3. With mixer on low speed, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix just until blended. Overmixing the dough will make it tough to squeeze through a pastry bag.

4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip with the cookie dough. Pipe cookies onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. If desired, place a cherry half in the center of each cookie before baking.

5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.

6. Using a metal spatula, lift cookies off cookie sheet and onto wire cooling racks. Cool. Store in an airtight container.


CHOCOLATE BUTTER COOKIES

This is a rich variation of the classic butter cookie. Try combining half of this chocolate dough with half of the plain butter cookie dough for a two-toned treat.


½ POUND BUTTER, SOFTENED
½ CUP SUGAR
½ EGG
1 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
½ CUP COCOA
2 CUPS FLOUR
½ TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
PINCH OF SALT
WALNUT HALVES, OPTIONAL


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until very fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and cocoa. Mix until well blended.

3. On low speed, gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix just until blended. Overbeating will make the dough tough to squeeze through the pastry bag.

4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip with the cookie dough. Pipe cookies onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. You may want to place a walnut half in the center of the cookie, for decoration. If desired, simply moisten the walnut with water and press into dough.

5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.

6. Using a metal spatula, lift cookies off sheet and onto wire cooling racks. Cool. Store in an airtight container.

YIELDS 40 COOKIES

NOTE: For an alternative way to form butter cookies, click here.


PINE NUT COOKIES


PIGNOLI AMARETTI

People are just crazy about these classic almond macaroons that are generously rolled in pine nuts and baked until golden. We can 't seem to make them fast enough! While rolling this dough, it helps to dip your hands in a bowl of water. This will keep the dough from sticking to your hands as you roll the dough and will help the nuts adhere to the dough.


1½ POUNDS ALMOND PASTE (BROKEN INTO PEBBLESIZE PIECES)
1½ CUPS SUGAR
1 CUP CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
4 EGG WHITES
2 CUPS PINE NUTS


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In an electric mixer, combine almond paste, sugar, confectioners' sugar, and egg whites on low speed until blended. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. This will make a sticky dough.

3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in a bowl of pine nuts. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Using your fingers, slightly flatten the tops of the cookies.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Let cookies cool on parchment for easiest removal. When cookies are completely cool, use a metal spatula to loosen them from the parchment paper. Store in an airtight container.

YELDS 50 COOKIES


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray by Maria Bruscino Sanchez. Copyright © 1997 Maria Bruscino Sanchez. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Maria Bruscino Sanchez lives in Waterbury, Connecticut where she is the owner and baker at Sweet Maria's bakery.

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