On Friday I published the post on I love Toscana and I’ve been overwhelmed by your love and care here on the blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram (you cannot say I am not a modern and connected girl…). You made me feel special.
I will get back to everyone, one by one, because I want to tell you how much you made me happy and proud. I have been cooking the whole day for a Christmas lunch well ahead of time – probably not too much, since I shot the first one in October – so just imagine I baked these dried fruit biscuits for you, made for the 2012 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, with the promise to be back here again soon to give you my daily dose of good humor and gratitude. You are precious, from the first one to last one.
Once again, one year after the first exciting edition that made me discover new foodbloggers and taste new scrumptious cookies, the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is here to cheer us up and fill our lives with Christmas-y sweetness, hosted by Lindsay of Love & Olive oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen. How does it work?
The premise is this: sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next years’ cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.
You rinse and repeat, then you need to find a good recipe for a new batch of biscuits.
Every day more intrigued, I was leafing through The Talisman An Italian Cookbook written by Ada Boni, the same book that inspired me the stuffed carrots.
The cookie section is unbelievable. There are old fashioned biscuits, good and simple, the same you would imagine your grandmother arrange on her most precious English pottery dish when you visit at tea time. They come with evocative names like princesses (I will make these very soon), Margaret pastries and Favorita pastries. I bought this secondhand cookbook from an unknown grandmother on Amazon and she wrote down many comments next to the recipes with a fascinating calligraphy: she confirmed these cookies were good.
I eventually decided to bake the most Christmas-y evocative cookies, bursting with dried fruit and candied orange. These are delicate and tempting biscuits perfect to be served with ice cream, tea, chocolate, dessert wines… and most of all, you won’t believe how easy they are.
- 200 g of icing sugar
- 4 eggs
- 150 g of raisins soaked and squeezed
- 150 g of almonds
- 80 g of of pine nuts
- 70 g of of hazelnuts
- 125 g of candied citron
- 125 g of candied orange peel
- 200 g of flour
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Pour the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in an egg at a time, whisking with the electric whisk or with a wooden spoon until light and foamy, as suggested by Ada Boni.
Add the soaked and squeezed raisins, the chopped almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts and the finely minced candied citron and orange peel.
At the end add the flour and mix gently.
Sprinkle some flour on the marble kitchen table and spoon the dough over the table. Shape the dough into a sausage with your floured hands.
Roll it gently and place it on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Brush the surface with a beaten egg and bake for about an hour.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool, then cut it into thin slices.
The biscuits are ready now, though I preferred to bake them again for 5 minutes in a preheated oven to 190°C, until golden and crisp.
My cookies this year came from:
- Rossella – Ma che ti sei mangiato? crunchy cardamom and dried fig cantucci
- Daniela – Gourmet Daniela round and chubby almond cookies
- Veruska – Cuochina Sopraffina, directly from Dublin unusual yet amazingly delicious white chocolate and dried blueberry gluten- free cookies
My dried fruit biscuits run to: