We’re getting close to Christmas now, time to start thinking about some special dishes for the festive season. Helen has already made her annual batch of “pizzelles,” traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and flavoring (some use vanilla, anise, or lemon zest, but Helen uses liqueur, either anisette or sambuca). Pizzelles can be made by placing the waffle batter into a pizzelle iron (similar to a waffle iron) and placing the iron over a hot burner on the stovetop, or you can use an electric pizzelle baker like Helen does. If you want to make your own pizzelles, I suggest you look for a pizzelle baker that comes with a recipe sheet. Otherwise, you may find commercially produced pizzelles in grocery stores at this time of the year. Give them a try. One of my favourite ways of enjoying pizzelles is with a glass of Italian red wine.
Now, let’s get cooking!
Here’s a Christmas favourite of mine that is easy to make and fun to eat. You might want to make some of this “candy” if you are taking part in a Christmas baking exchange.
– Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil.
– Layer it with regular soda biscuits (one package out of a 4-package box).
– In a saucepan, melt ¾ cup brown sugar and ¾ cup butter; stir until well mixed; do not boil.
– Pour over crackers.
– Cook in 450 F oven for 5 minutes (be careful not to burn).
– Meanwhile melt 1½ cups milk chocolate wafers in a double boiler.
– When biscuits come out of the oven, pour chocolate over and spread with spatula to cover biscuits.
– Refrigerate to allow to set.
– When hardened, break into pieces for serving.
Maple Roasted Almonds
And if you like to munch on nuts, here’s another easy-to-make recipe that suits the Christmas season.
– 6 cups whole almonds, shells removed but skins on
– ¾ cup pure maple syrup
– 2 tablespoons sea salt
– 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
– Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
– Toss almonds with maple syrup and salt. Add oil last and toss to coat.
– Spread coated almonds on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until roasted and -syrup has thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn, -which can easily happen with maple syrup.
– Let cool on pan; break apart any clumps while still a bit warm or the sugar will crack off. When completely cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Keeps one month.
Now, let’s get cooking!