Italian Christmas Desserts
So this is Christmas, and what have you baked?
This is something I ask my mother, and all of my Italian family members when the most wonderful time of the year rolls around.
Christmas is the only time when I get to indulge in some of these rare Italian treats. So if I miss out on one, I’ll probably have to wait an entire year to have it again. At least the homemade versions.
Here’s a list of some of my family’s most coveted Christmas desserts.
This is probably the Super Bowl of all Italian Christmas desserts and is one of the most dangerous, because once you pop one, you just can’t stop eating them. Struffoli consists of sweet dough balls that are fried and covered with honey and sprinkles.
The key to a good batch is making sure that the dough is crispy, and that there’s enough honey on top. Some choose to fashion the dough into different shapes, but I prefer the small, marble-like spheres.
The sprinkles are also key because the add just enough crunch to keep things interesting. And also, you can’t forget the little bits of citrus that cut through the rich honey flavor.
Rainbow or Seven Layer Cookie
This is arguably the best Italian cookie in existence and it seems extremely hard to bake, therefore, my family only makes their own around Christmas.
Some store-bought variations are fantastic, especially from old-time bakeries in Brooklyn, but there’s something about homemade cookies that just can’t be replicated. The various colors and layers of jelly topped with chocolate make for an easy to eat dessert that’s packed with flavor.
The key to these cookies is making sure the jelly has the right amount of sweetness and tang. If they’re too sweet, you won’t want to eat more than one. The colors are also important since they are meant to represent the Italian flag.SPECIAL OFFER: Italian Christmas Cookies: Easy, authentic, & delicious Italian cookie recipes for the holidays
This is a cookie that you really don’t appreciate until you get older. Their sweet taste and crunchy consistency goes perfect with a bold cup of espresso during the holiday season.
A lot of bakeries also make these well, but when the homemade ones come out on Christmas, you have to make sure to eat as many as you can. With Pignoli, like many cookies, the best ones are soft with a little bit of crunch. If they are too hard, you can course-correct by dipping them in coffee.
You also want to buy quality Pignoli nuts when making them so that you can get the full taste of the ingredients.
Hello Dolly Bars
These aren’t Italian in origin, however, my Italian and Irish family members make these each year and mix them in with the rest of their delicacies.
Hello Dollys are cookie bars filled with coconut, chocolate chips and nuts that have a gooey/crunchy consistency. They are very sweet, but also have a salty finish from the nuts that allows you not to be overwhelmed by the sugar. They’re very pop-able, but can also be eaten in large bars.
Italian Lemon Drop Cookies
Italian Lemon Drop cookies are kind of like all-purpose snack that you can eat at any time of the day.
The best ones have a crunchy consistency with a sweet and tangy finish. They are like sugar cookies shaped like S’s or balls covered in a hard sugar frosting and doused with lemon flavor.
They also go great with a bold cup of coffee and can be mixed in and gifted with the rest of these amazing Christmas goodies.SPECIAL OFFER: Italian Cookies 2 LB Cookie Tray