Cocoa Pizzelles

My friend Gina from the Vitantonio family and I must think alike..because when both of us are asked to bring a dessert to a get together we both show up with a tray of Pizzelle cookies. It is the typical quintessential Italian treat that looks wonderful plated at an elegant dessert table with it's beautiful floral lace pattern and it's crisp texture. It is a quick an easy cookie to prepare that is the talk of the room at many school parties or family get-together's. The traditional recipe calls for anise and anise seeds..yes, like my Spungna Di Biscotti Cake, but also like the Biscotti it works well with many flavorings. During the holidays I'll give Pizzelle cookies as gift's, side-dipped in a chocolate coating and for more of a festive look sometimes sprinkled with fine glittery candies. Pizzelle irons are pretty readily available but if you have a hard time finding one you can purchase one through my Amazon store at the bottom right of my Dalla Mia Cucina blog site.

Buon Appetito!

6 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
4 tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 cup powdered sugar (for sprinkling on finished cookie)

Beat eggs, adding sugar gradually. Beat until smooth.
Add oil and vanilla extract. Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa together.
Blend with egg mixture until smooth. Dough will be sticky enough to be dropped by teaspoonfuls. Preheat Pizzelle Iron. If you have instructions that came with your machine it is a good idea to read them. The pizzelle iron has a light that is supposed to turn red when cookie is done. Don't rely on this light! You really have to time it yourself as you decide what doneness you want your cookie. The cookies crisp up even at the minimal time cooked. Back to the instructions! Hold iron closed tightly until desired doneness. Lift off the hot surface with a thin metal spatula. Lay cookie on counter until cool. Stack, sprinkle with powdered sugar and then store in an airtight container.

Biscotti Sponge

Biscotti Sponge with Anise

With simple recipes like this one my mother told us it would be a shame not to always be pre-pared to offer your guests coffee and dessert. This simple sponge cake is a sweet staple at our house and always ready to dip in a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. We grew up using anise as the flavoring but you can use vanilla, orange, lemon or almond extracts as well. This cake is suitable for many different preparations. I have doubled the recipe here so you will want to use a sheet cake pan or a 9x11 cake pan oiled and dusted. 

Preheat oven to 350
Bake 35-45 minutes (till golden on top)
Bake time will depend on size of pan. When
toothpick inserted it will come out clean
and sponge will spring back when pressed.

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil (light olive or vegetable)
2 tsp. anise seeds
2 1/2 tsp. anise extract
2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/8 cup powdered sugar for dusting top of Biscotti Sponge

In mixer, blend eggs with sugar till well incorporated. Add oil. Mix for 2 minutes and then add anise seeds and extract. In small bowl mix baking powder with flour. Blend well. Add flour mixture a little at a time to wet ingredients. Mix for 2 more minutes. Spread in prepared baking dish. When Biscotti Sponge is ready, take out of oven and place on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Cut in long strips like Biscotti cookies and place on cooling racks. Dust with powdered sugar when cool.

"Grilled" Good Salmon
& Sides

This was really easy.. nothing spectacular or earth shattering preparations to talk about, but I loved the photo with the smoke curling over the salmon. I did prepare this by marinating it with white wine, crushed garlic, ground black pepper and lemon. And it did have a fresh and earthy taste with an aroma of fresh chopped dill permeated through the house.

Simple salad of romaine lettuce and my favorite ingredients of feta cheese, avocado's, pine nuts, tomatoes and cranberries,

Don't forget the dessert! These cookies were just a fanciful play on Lorna Doones. I melted good quality chocolate and added a sliver of butter and added some amaretto too. I dipped one of the flats of the cookie and immediately pressed it with another cookie. We loved them.. and hey, I was a little Semi-Homemade! :)

Have a wonderful weekend you all! And to you Super Bowl Fans I hope you cheer loud and feast hearty!

Buon Appetito,