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Zia Francesca’s Biscotti Natale
(Aunt Frances’ Christmas Cookies)
From the kitchen of Florence Bonadero

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup evaporated  milk (plus some for brushing tops)
l teaspoon lemon extract
l teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 ounce box of reconstituted mincemeat (or fresh)
Coloured sprinkles
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.  Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter or margarine into the flour.  Mix until coarse pea-size crumbs form.  Add sugar and mix.

In a smaller bowl, beat the milk with eggs and the flavoured extracts.  Stir into the flour mixture. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough for about 2 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (over night is better).

Make mincemeat according package directions, or use fresh mincemeat recipe in this issue.  (A nine ounce package of mincemeat is sufficient and leftovers can be frozen)

When dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cookie pans with parchment paper lining or coat with a non-stick spray

On a floured surface, take a piece of dough about the size of a walnut.  Place between 2 sheets of wax paper and roll flat, in a circle.  Wet edges with water.  Place 1 heaping teaspoon mincemeat filling in the center of rolled out dough.  Turn over half of the circle, pressing down with a floured fork on the dampened dough edges to make it adhere. 

Place cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets.  Brush the tops of cookies with the extra milk and shake colored sprinkles on top of each cookie.

Bake 20 minutes, checking in 15 minutes to make sure they are not getting too brown on top.

Remove from pans and cool on a rack before packing them in tightly closed tin boxes.  You may want to refrigerate for one hour before serving

Makes about 5 dozen cookies, and is a great and welcomed gift,  boxed in a pretty tin.

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