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With Christmas just around the corner, everyone is in a festive mood. It's time to celebrate with family and friends. While people are busy decorating their homes and buying gifts, Christmas celebrations would definitely be incomplete if one doesn't have an assortment of candies, cakes and other delicacies. So, if you are a cooking enthusiast, you definitely have a opportunity to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. So why not cook something that is delicious and easy to make? I think it would be a good idea to make Christmas cookies. Rather than using the same recipe for baking cookies, look for easy recipes from other countries. Well, I suggest that you try the Italian Christmas cookies recipes this time. These will definitely tickle the taste buds and will fetch you lots of praise.

Recipe #1

Ingredients
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ of 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • ½ cup nuts
  • 1 large pkg. chocolate chips
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 5-6 tsp. milk
Procedure
  • First of all, make the dough by mixing cheese and butter with a fork. Add this mixture to the flour and blend well, till the dough is formed. Knead well and chill for several hours, if possible, overnight.
  • After the dough is chilled, heat chocolate over hot water until it melts completely. Add milk and nuts and stir. Leave the filling over double boiler but do not keep on heat.
  • Now cut the dough into 3 parts, only one part is to be worked on at a time. So put the remaining two parts in the fridge.
  • Use the dough to roll out a rectangle of about 6x8x½ inches and place the filling in the center. Fold from the sides so that the seam comes in the center. It should look like a cylindrical tube.
  • Place seam down on cookie sheet and bake at 375º for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • For glaze, mix the confectioners' sugar and milk and spread on cookies.
Recipe #2

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cream softened
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Colored sprinkles
  • 3 to 4 tbs. milk
Procedure
  • Put cream, butter and sugar in a bowl. Add eggs one by one and beat well.
  • Now add in ricotta and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda and flour, mix well and add to the earlier mixture.
  • Drop the mixture two inches apart using a round bowl spoon onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.
  • For frosting, mix cream vanilla, sugar and butter. Add milk until the frosting reaches spreading consistency.
  • Frost the cooled cookies and immediately decorate with sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator.
Recipe #3 - Gingerbread Biscotti

Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg, ground
  • ¼ cup fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup almonds, blanched
  • ½ tsp. cloves, ground
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ lb butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs. cinnamon, ground
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • ½ tsp. allspice, ground
  • ½ tbs. baking powder
Process
  • Bake almonds in a 8-9 inches pan on 175°C for about 10 to 15 minutes. When cooled, chop and set aside.
  • In a bowl of electric mixer, beat butter, ginger, sugar and molasses until smooth. Now add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • In another bowl, mix baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, cloves, almonds and allspice. Add this mixture to the egg mixture and stir to blend.
  • On two greased baking sheets of the measurement 12x15 inches, pat the dough into 4 flat loaves. Use well-floured hands for patting.
  • Each loaf should be around 2 inches wide and ½ inch in thickness. Bake at 175ºC in the oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Switch the positions of the pans halfway through while baking. When the loaves are baked and cooled, cut into ½ inch thick diagonal slices.
  • Arrange slices close together on the baking sheet, the cut side should be down. Bake again at 175ºC for about 15 to 18 minutes and remember to switch positions.
  • Let the biscotti cool completely.
Now that you have these recipes, you can make mouth-watering cookies on your own. I am sure that your family and friends will relish these cookies and shower you with compliments. So what are you waiting for? Make the Italian Christmas cookies this Christmas. Merry Christmas!