The holidays are not over yet and, before you enroll in the gym, there’s still time to try some Italian Traditional Holiday Sweets!

These two recipes are perfect to celebrate the Befana, an italian feast that is celebrated on January 6th. The story tells about an old woman who brings sweets to all the good children.



1/2 cup (4oz). packed candied citron, chopped
1/3 cup (2.5oz) dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup (2 oz) raisins
3/4 cup (6oz) blanched and toasted almonds
3/4 cup (6oz) toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup (4oz) walnut halves
6 Tbs. flour
3 tsp. bittersweet cocoa powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbs. water
1/2 cup (4oz) honey
2/3 cup (5oz). sugar
Rice paper
Powdered sugar 1/2 cup (4oz)


Delicious cake panforte on table close-up


Adjust rack to lower third of oven and preheat to 325° F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round baking pan. Cut the rice paper to fit on the bottom of the pan and line the sides of the pan with strips of baking paper.

Combine fruits and nuts in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir flour, cocoa powder and spices to blend and mix together with the fruits/nuts.

In a 1+1/2 quart pan combine water, honey and sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals clinging to the sides with a bruch dipped in cold water, until sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer, without stirring, until mixture reaches soft ball stage (on a candy thermometer: 240° F. or 116° C.)

Immediately pour the syrup over the fruit and nuts and stir quickly to combine. Without delay, spoon into baking pan, spreading evenly with spatula.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until set. Remove pan to wire rack and cool. Remove from pan and peel off baking paper from the sides. Sift powdered sugar (1/2 c.) with cinnamon (1/2 tsp.) and coriander (1/4 tsp.) and sprinkle over top of cake. Store in air tight plastic wrap or container.




2 small eggs (or 1 large) plus 1 yoke, beaten
1/2 cup (4oz) softened butter
2 cup (16oz) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (4oz) bittersweet cacao powder
Gentillini or other hard, flat cookies



Cream the butter, sugar and cacao. Add the eggs. Break up the cookies into small pieces with your hands and add, mixing well. Using powdered sugar to coat your hands and working surface, form into salami-like rolls. Cover well with powdered sugar and wrap in plastic wrap before storing in refrigerator. When the salami has hardened, cut into slices (like salami slices).

Buon appetito!

Leave a Reply