Christmas Baking and Giving

I’m not a big baker, but I usually do some cookie-making around the holidays. And I like to try at least one new recipe each year. Last year, I concentrated on Italian cookies, and I continued the theme this year. My most recent round-up included florentines†, sesame cookies*, chocolate pistachio biscotti, and of course, my favorite, pignoli (pine nut) cookies*.

(clockwise from left: florentines, sesame cookies, chocolate pistachio biscotti, pignoli cookies)

A year or two ago, Martha’s Special Holiday Issue had a recipe for mini panettones that I wanted to try making. My family always buys panettone for Christmastime, but I was hesitant, since it’s a yeast bread, and like I said, I’m not a big baker. But, since I had more time to experiment this year, I decided to take a stab at it, and ordered some paper panettone baking cups from Fantes in South Philly.

Indeed, the process took a while, but I enjoyed making the mini loaves (which we wrapped in cello bags as gifts for Tim’s co-workers). I enjoyed it enough, that I made another batch – this time making two larger loaves to share with our families. The recipe made fourteen mini (2 3/4″ diameter) or two medium-sized (6″) panettones.

(mini panettones all tagged up and ready for giving)

(Mr. Moo inspecting my packaging job. He passed them all with flying colors.)

* Recipes from Lydia’s Italian-American Kitchen
Recipe from Martha Stewart Living Holiday Cookies Special Issue, 2001