Unfortunately, at this time of year, I may as well be living in a tree because:

A – I am officially the shortest member of my family and as such am called all sorts of names, including Shorty and Elf, and

B – I will make enough cookies in the coming weeks to officially be considered a member of the Keebler clan. I love baking and every year I stick with the staples and “must haves”  –  peanut butter blossoms for Doug & Caitlin, meringues for Kendall, Santa cookies for Ryan – but I always try new recipes for my platters.  Here are my tips for making great cookie platters:

  1. Keep it simple – choose four or five types of cookies. More than that gets too overwhelming.
  2. Choose a couple of cookies that freeze well so you can get a head start on your baking.  Having to wait until the last minute for all of your cookies makes for a very stressful holiday.
  3. Consider the colors and textures of the cookies – it is good to have a variety for a beautiful presentation



Because I prefer cookies that are not overly sweet, I tend to do a lot of Italian cookies which are by nature not as sweet as their American counterparts.  Here is what will be included on my Italian cookie platters this season:

  • Biscotti – 2 varieties (chocolate almond and cranberry pistachio) – Many people are intimidated by biscotti and think they are difficult to make.  In fact, they are actually quite simple and though they do require a double baking time (biscotti means twice cooked), one batch is cooked up all at once and usually take less total time than a standard batch of cookies. Here is one of my favorite recipes:  Orange Chocolate Biscotti.
  • Pizzelles – these are truly an Turney family tradition.  My father-in-law was positioned in front of the pizzelle iron for days churning out these cookies.   Paul passed away three years ago and our kids insisted that we buy an iron to carry on the tradition.  They are never as good as his, but they are a pretty good substitute.  Plus, thanks to our friend Sherrilyn, we learned that they can be greatly enhanced with a layer of Nutella between two cookies.  Really, when you add Nutella to anything, it is instantly even more awesome.
  • Brutti ma Buoni –  gluten-free does not have to mean flavor free.  These diving morsels are made with sugar, egg whites and nuts.  They are mildly addictive but really good for you.  Nuts = protein. Here is the recipe:  Brutti Ma Buoni
  • I brighten up my platters with little wrapped candies – torroncini are my favorite.  These are everywhere in Italy during the holidays. They are an almond and/or pistachio nougat covered with chocolate, lemon, orange or vanilla coating.  I found delicious ones last time I was at Eataly:  torroncini

Sweet tidings to you all! I have to run now  – my kitchen timer is going off.

Tastefully Yours, Ashley

4 thoughts on “The Cookie Platter – Italian Style

  1. Sounds ever so familiar! We just made choc peanut butter blossoms, jam thumbprints (peach and raspberry), almond joy biscotti, russian teacakes (snowballs), cranberry pecan shortbread, roll-out stars, holly, trees and candy canes, choc dipped coconut macaroons, gingersnaps, bourbon pecan bars….a few more varieties to go then we make mixed trays….BUT we have a bakery, so it’s a good excuse to get carried away. I do love making biscotti – they’re a lot easier than people think, I think. Totally agree with the shapes and colors and textures….mixing in a bar cookie, biscotti or a slice-and-bake (chilled dough in logs) can really streamline things and give plenty of variety.
    In my home kitchen I’ve started a new tradition of a "Cookie Share"….kind of like a cookie swap but no one brings any cookies home. Instead we package them up in boxes (75 or 80), tie with pretty ribbon, and bring to our local community kitchen – where they serve a free meal each week to anyone in need. Everyone in attendance brings home a box. It’s a win win win….we get to bake, it’s a festive ladies’ night, and homemade cookies get to folks who might otherwise not have any,.
    Anyway, I ramble. 🙂 HAPPY BAKING ASHLEY!!!
    Sweetly, Susan. another elf.

    1. Wow Susan! I am coming to your place next year. Would love to see a picture of the trays you put together – I am always looking for inspiration. Your cookie share sounds like great fun. What a perfect excuse to get together AND get the holiday baking done! Happy Baking to you – I hope you find it as therapeutic as I do! Ciao bella!

  2. You are blessed with many other attributes. Being the shortest in your family is on your short list. Love the photo at the beach with Mucka. Thank you for another year of delights from that land we love, Italy! Turn on Bucelli and the oven. The happiest of holidays to you and the gang! Marti

    1. Thank you, Marti! We are certainly blessed with a wonderful family. Boccelli and holiday baking are just perfect together. I am actually taking Mom to see him next weekend. We can’t wait!! Hugs to you and Merry Christmas! xoxo

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