Artisanal cookies featuring top-of-the-line ingredients, ancient and modern flavor combinations, and just-out-of-the-oven freshness. Click on the thumbnail for full description with quantities, prices and ingredient list/allergen warning.
Like its cousin Amaretti classici, Amaretti morbidi are moist, soft, addictive and easy to freeze! With almond flour as the primary ingredient, these cookies pair an intense almond flavor with a wonderfully satisfying chewiness. Make them your daily luxury. Gluten free, too!
Baci di dama
An adorable Italian cookie from the Piedmont region, these miniature buttery hazelnut shortbread cookies feature a dollop of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate peeking out between the sandwiched hazelnut-infused cookies. For chocolate lovers, a special double chocolate Baci di dama can be custom ordered. As an added bonus — these cookies can be stored for several weeks in an airtight container.
Like many lemony desserts, Anginetti originated in the Campania region of southern Italy, where lemon groves thrive on the slopes of Vesuvius. A gluttonous amount lemon zest is incorporated into the dough, which is then formed into a rope and knotted before being baked. They are pillowy soft and white on the inside, with a distinctive lemon aroma, topped with fresh lemony icing coaxed into an appealing pale yellow color with natural tumeric.
For a taste of Renaissance Sienna, try cavallucci! This cookie’s variations are as endless as the theories for why they are called “little horses” but all have an unusual, 16th century flavor profile. One of the more plausible explanations, in our opinion, deals with Sienna’s horse-racing fame. These twice yearly world-famous horse races, dating back to 1656, the Palio di Siena, draw tourists from around the world, so it made sense that long ago, these cookies used to be imprinted with a horse image. In Italy, these cookies are often dipped in wine before eating. Our version uses honey, white pepper, anise, homemade candied orange peel, and walnuts, and is slightly softer than the Italian version so it can be deliciously accompanied with or without wine. For a unique host gift, try gifting a bag of cavallucci with a bottle of vin santo.
Pignoli are a revered cookie in the Italian bakery repertoire. Originally from Sicily in southern Italy, pignoli are golden, chewy almond macarons studded with toasted buttery pine nuts. Our version perfects the Zingerman’s Bakehouse pignoli recipe to be slightly more mounded and slightly less sweet (which intensifies the almond and pine nut flavor) with the ideal crunch to chew ratio.
Ugly but Delicious
Brutti ma buoni
Largely unknown to Americans, brutti ma buoni are a cookie featured in nearly every pasticerria and dolceria in Italy, and their singular preparation, involving cooking whipped egg whites (yes, cooked meringue!) and sugar over the stove before baking in the oven, yields a cookie that is unsightly on the outside, but chewy and nutty meringue-like on the inside. While hundreds of recipes for brutti ma buoni are available at the click of a button, the best, in my opinion, are the Lombard version containing roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts (which release fewer oils than nut meal) and a hint of vanilla. They may not be the prettiest cookie in the display shelf, but the taste and texture are sublime. After you’ve been won over by their homely appearance, your afternoon coffee or tea won’t feel quite right unless paired up with one of these dolci.
Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Biscotti Mandorla e Cioccolato
Biscotti hardly need an explanation. Their preparation, involving two trips into the oven (biscotti literally means twice-baked), makes them perfect for dunking in coffee or wine. Like traditional biscotti italiani, our biscotti contain no butter, which gives them a crunchy texture. Yet, ground up Ghirardelli chocolate, almonds and eggs provide a hint of moistness to keep your dentist happy. Their shelf life, even without artificial preservatives, is legendary. Rumor has it that Christoper Columbus packed biscotti for his trans-Atlantic voyage due to their staying power. Keep them in an airtight container and they will easily give you cookie love for weeks.
Siennese Almond Biscotti
Biscotti di Prato
Ask any Italian what biscotti looks like, and he/she will describe for you a Biscotti di Prato, a mainstay cookie you will find in every Tuscan pantry worth its salt. Light, crisp, studded with almonds, and extra golden due to additional egg yolks in the batter, these biscotti are smaller than American-style biscotti but have a highly recognizable texture and flavor. In Italy, even the crumbs of these cookies are saved to garnish other desserts. The crunchy texture makes them perfect for dipping into wine (as the Italians do), coffee, or our own humble method — eating straight out of the bag when all the kids are in school.
If you are a fan of marzipan, you will want to get to know these little treats with their ancient pedigree. Ricciarelli are essentially baked marzipan in the guise of a cookie. According to legend, these cookies were brought to the Sienna region by Ricciardetto della Gherardesca after his return from the Crusades, but since they are so delectable, let’s not hold that against them. Shaped like Madonna eyes depicted in early Siennese paintings, the main ingredient in these traditional cookies is dense, rich almond paste. I adapted this recipe from a Zingerman’s Bakehouse Italian Cookie class.
These impressive cookies are a roaring party in cube form! If you are Italian-American, or if you are an Italophile, these need to be on your dessert table several times each year, but especially at Christmas. These cookies were invented in the Italian-American immigrant community early in the last century as a delicious way to celebrate Italian heritage and culture. Now you get to celebrate them for their almondy flavor and their party profile, but without the time-consuming two day experience of preparing them yourself!
Lemon Biscuit Rings
Taralli al limone
It’s hard to find a corner of Italy without its own version of taralli, which, in Italy, come in both sweet and savory versions, large and small. Our version, small and slightly sweet, is a lightly crunchy cookie with a simple lemon glaze colored naturally with tumeric. Flavors are customizable to anise, vanilla, almond, orange, and chocolate. Red wine taralli are nibbled on after every meal while enjoying conversation and drinking the last of the wine (a popular Italian saying goes “tutto finisce a tarallucci e vino” which means, “it all works out in the end”). With their honest, not-too-sweet flavor and crunchy texture, taralli – in any flavor – would make a delicious accompaniment for wine tastings.
Butter Cookies from Burano
It’s easy to imagine the wives of Burano’s fisherman sending them off on their fishing and war-mongering voyages with bags of buranelli. In Italy, these cookies come either round like a compass, or backward “S” shaped, and they are as famous in Burano as the homemade lace and the Technicolor rowhouses that helped the fishermen identify their homes from off-shore. Primarily composed of flour, egg yolk (true buranelli use no egg white), and butter, these slightly sweet, very crunchy cookies can last months if properly stored (in fact, rumor has it that buranelli are stored in underwear drawers due to their lovely citrus aroma and long shelf life). A hungry, homesick Burano fisherman must have reached into his pocket for this delicious comfort food in the same way Frodo did with his Elven Lembas Bread. Try rosemary-laced buranelli ($7/bag) as a custom order!
Ossi dei Morti
This recipe took 18 months to track down, and finding it was like solving the Da Vinci Code. Although traditionally offered in the weeks leading up to the Day of the Dead on November 2, these cookies are too fabulous to offer only a few weeks of the year. Our compromise is that these are offered all year, but in October, they will be bone-shaped, as they are in many places throughout Italy. These cookies are 50% air and 50% almond flavored cookie crunch!
Venetian Cornmeal Raisin Cookies
These crunchy, yellow, barely sweet cookies from the Veneto can just as easily take the place of cornbread alongside your Superbowl chili. They take their name from Venetian dialect for yellow (“zàlo“), roughly translating to “little yellow things”. With their slightly sweet flavor profile, these little yellow things contrast beautifully with either cheese or chocolate.