Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Highlight Your Food Choices by Using Colorful and Unique Vegetables

Photos courtesy of thebarefootshaman

As an Etsy addict I came across an Etsy store, Thebearfootshaman, where they have heirloom seeds for sale for absolutely gorgeous vegetables!  Take the time to browse the store for vegetables to brighten your wedding day food selections.  Even if you aren't serving the food cooked, some of these would make a great part of a crudite or chesse display. 

My favorite is the Five Colors Swiss Chard.  These colorful plants are almost impossible not to grow! They will grow in places where there isn't enough sun or too much sun as well as where the soil grade is poor.  You can cook them like spinach for a colorful side, after all, why serve ho-hum green beans with almond when you can highlight your plates with this gorgeous vegetable?

Purple Cauliflower from Sicily (photo from thebearfootshaman)

This gorgeous purple cauliflower is a great accent vegetable or perfect for hors d'oeuvres.  Use it as a dip bowl by hollowing it out.  Surround it with cheeses.  The options are endless.  And not to be a killjoy but it's also good for you! 

The Bearfootshaman offers additional seeds from other heirloom varieties, so head on over.  Even if you aren't planning a wedding the seed choices will jazz up dinner any night of the week. Visit TheBearFootShaman for lots of other choices like pear shaped tomatoes, chocolate color peppers and more!

7-Layer Italian Cookies--Perfect for Showers and Wedding Sweet Tables

What Italian wedding or shower would be complete without these beautiful cookies? Although they take some time to make, the patience is well worth it in the end. This recipe is from a fellow blogger, Michele at her great blog, My Italian Grandmother, where she shares great recipes with you. Take the time to browse her blog for other great food ideas.

Rosemarie's 7-Layer Cookies

1 ¼ cup flour
3 eggs (large)
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons almond extract
2 sticks (melted butter)
1 jar apricot butter or preserves or seedless raspberry preserves
6 oz. bag of semi sweet chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon of oil
Red and green food coloring

3 pans 11x7x1 ½ or approximate size

Mix in bowl with electric mixer (if desired), flour, sugar, almond extract,

eggs, melted butter. Separate into 3 bowls evenly. After which you leave one bowl plain, in 2nd bowl add 8 drops of red and the last bowl add 8 drops of green coloring. Then in greased pans (or parchment lined pans) pour mixture so it covers all of the pan evenly. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Remove from oven, on wax paper on foil, first turn over green layer, coat lightly with apricot, then white layer over that and coat with preserve. Last red layer melt chocolate in pot with 1 tablespoon of oil. Coat one layer with chocolate, refrigerate until hard then turn over wax paper or foil. Coat second layer, let it get hard then cut and slice.

Enjoy! Share with your friends and family!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Savory Favors For Your Guests -- Cavallucci (o morsetti) di Siena

As your wedding winds down you'll want to send your guests home with a traditional Italian wedding favor.  If your wedding is Tuscan-inspired biscotti are a good choice.  Make or purchase favor bags with a grape vine pattern or stencil the pattern on bags yourself, and fill them with coffee flavored biscotti or cavallucci, a honey flavored rustic biscotti.  
Cavallucci are not beautiful cookies so package them in an eyecatching box or bag.  But ah! the taste with some strong coffee will make your guests feel like they've taken a weekend trip to Tuscany. 

I wasn't familiar with cavallucci, but these delicious cookies are easy to make using acacia honey and melted sugar mixed with flour, chopped, toasted almonds, minced candied citron and orange, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander powder and a pinch of baking soda. The trickiest part was finding the right kind of honey, although you might be able to sub regular honey for acacia honey. 

For a recipe to make your own cavalucci go to  http://italianfood.about.com/.  I tested out this recipe, and believe me, if I can manage it, it's perfect for a bride who isn't looking for a complex DIY favor for her wedding.

Decorate your favor table with a grape and vine motif and your guests will love taking these cookies home for a late night snack.  You could consider pairing them with a favor-size packet of espresso for your guests to take home with them or some chocolate nut truffles or jordan almonds. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Proscuitto Grilled Shrimp Appetizers

Photo courtesy of  The Food Network

This simple and easy to prepare appetizer is perfect for your wedding or your rehersal dinner.  Proscuitto Wrapped Grilled Shrimp are something anyone can prepare no matter what their skill level in the kitchen. 

48 shelled and deveined jumbo shrimp
48 thin slices of proscuitto (about 1 1/4 lbs)

Party Toothpicks suitable for grilling (bamboo skewers soaked in water)

Dijon Mustard for dipping
Sliced Lemons for garnish
48 Grape Tomatos

3/4C Olive Oil
1 1/3 C Lemon Juice
2 1/2T minced garlic
4 tsp red pepper flakes

Whisk together all the marinade ingredients. 
Marinate shelled and deveined shrimp for 30 minutes.
Drain Shrimp.
Tightly wrap each shrimp in arugula and 1 thin slice of proscuitto.
Nest a grape tomato into the curve of the prosciutto wrapped shrimp and secure into place with a party pick.
Grill on barbeque two minutes on each side.
Remove toothpicks before serving on bed of thinly sliced lemons and romaine lettuce leaves with a dijon mustard for dipping. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Glitter for Centerpieces

Photo and design courtesy of: http://www.pryorevents.com/portfolio.portfolio_weddings.html

If you are looking to add some glitz and glitter to a simple square vase filled with orchids and roses Pryor Events has found the answer. Just add a band of sequins glued to the vase, surround it with votive candles so the glitter sparkles as the light flickers and you have an inexpensive way to upgrade your flowers.  This is an easy way to add a little glam without adding a lot to the cost of your centerpieces by  purchasing and adding rhinestone pics or adding rhinestone centers to the flowers.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Carmella's Ameretti Cookies Recipe from Recchiuti's San Francisco

Photo and recipe from: http://www.recchiuti.com

CARMELLA’S AMERETTI COOKIES from Recchiuti's San Francisco

Recchiuti's web site says "As a teenager I worked at my dad’s grocery market and one of my jobs was restockingshelves. That’s how I was first introduced the delicate ameretti cookies wrapped in bright wrappers and packed into colorful tins. Legend has it that they were invented by a young Italian baker in the 18th century for the Cardinal of Milan. I learned how to make them from a woman named Carmella while I was working at her son’s pizzeria on South Street in Philadelphia. They go great with a shot of espresso, a scoop of gelato or even an afternoon tea." So for all you Philly brides, these should be a taste of the old neighborhood!

Makes About 36 Cookies


1 1/8 cups whole almonds, blanched

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup powdered cane sugar

2 extra-large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup granulated cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

• Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottoms of two 12-by-18 inch sheet pans with parchment paper.
• Combine half of the almonds with the half of the cornstarch in a food processor and pulse to grind into a fine, dry meal. Repeat with the remaining almonds and cornstarch. Doing this step in two batches helps prevent the release of oil and the formation of paste or nut butter. Purchased almond meal may also be used here as a substitute
• Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Stir to mix and set aside.
• Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until they start to froth and then add about half of the sugar. When they start to become stiff, increase the speed to high and add the rest of the sugar and the almond extract. Beat until the whites start to lose their shine but still look wet. ey will hang in stiff peaks when the whip is lifted from the bowl.
• Fold about half of the almond mixture into the whites with a rubber spatula. Fold in the rest of the almond mixture just until no white streaks of egg whites remain.
• Using a pastry bag fitted with a #1 tip, pipe 1-inch mounds of the batter onto the prepared pans, spacing them about 1 inch apart. You may also drop the batter by tablespoonfuls rather than piping.
• Bake on the middle shelves of the oven, rotating the pans 180 degrees halfway through the baking time, 35 to 40 minutes. After 30 minutes remove one of the cookies and check the bottom. If it is moist, cook for an additional 10 minutes. If it is smooth and dry, cook for an additional 5 minutes.
• After the initial baking time, turn off the oven and crack the door slightly. Allow the cookies to dry in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the pans on wire racks.
• Store in an airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Italian Favors For Your Wedding

Photo and website for purchase courtesy of: http://www.efavors.com/

These elegant glass wine charms favors were inspired by the glass artisans of Murano Italy, they are handcrafted Murano like glass wine charms and they will wow your guests with their elegance and style. Each wine charm is attached to a chrome ring with delicate bead accents and will be enjoyed by the wine enthusiasts in the crowd. The perfect favors for the Italian bride and groom or someone who is planning a reception at their local winery.  These favors are sure to impress with their elegance and the sophistication of their designs. They come packaged 4 per set.  The site also offers other assorted designs in Murano style glass for your guests.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Florentina Oval Favor Box

Exquisite fleur-de-lis embossed design decorate this beautiful box for the Italian wedding. Inside, sugared almonds are added and personalization for each guest.  Tie each box with a pretty ribbon or one with your names and wedding date on it.


Rachetti Branch Five Part Trees for Traditional Italian Wedding Favors

Photo and design courtesy of ConfettiFlowers.com

Rachetti-Branch Five-Part Trees are a traditional Italian wedding favor made up of five almond holders bound together on a single stem to save you a step. The bride's family places a sugared Jordan Almond in the center of each petal and wrap it in place in half or by thirds, as shown.  Decorate stem with pretty ribbon and small decorative flowers.  You can also purchase each stem seperately so you have more control over the design.  Your guests will appreciate the time and effort you put in to each small gift. 

Tuscan Table Setting in Pinks and Browns

Photography Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Website

This long narrow table is typical of a wedding reception in Tuscany. Tables are long and narrow and arranged in a U-shape in the wedding color combination -- chocolate brown (in the linen runner), pink (in the peony arrangements), and chartreuse (in the menus tucked into the folds of the napkins).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tuscan Wedding Feasts

Photo courtesy of: http://www.tuscan-dreams.com/.

A typical Italian wedding feast is made up of a combination of four courses.  Antipasti (or starters), Primo Piatto (or first course), Secondo Piatto (or second course), and Dolci (or desserts).  Vino e Liquors (Wine and digestives) are also served. Halfway through the meal you are often served a sorbet with a drop of liqueur in it.  After your meal expect a Limoncello or Grappa served with coffee. 

The antipasti are served before your meal.  Often it consists of Crostini with pate or Bruschetta (breads topped with diced tomatoes, garlic and herbs.  Tuscan favorites include fried Polenta as well as cured meats.  This is the pre-meal part. It is popular to serve this as a buffet and serve it with glasses of Prosecco (an Italian dry champagne). 

The Primo Piatto or first course if often the pasta portion of the meal but sometimes salads like Panzanella (tomato and bread salad) is served instead.  Pasta choices are almost unlimited but choosing a style that helps sauce cling to it keeps things neater.  You can choose a simple penne with bolognese sauce or some Ravioli con Burro e Salvia , a ravioli with sage and butter or Parpadelle sulla Lepre, ribbon pasta with hare. 

The Secondo Piatto is most often meat.  In Italy and many other countries in the Mediterranean you cannot have a celebration without including meat on the menu.  Tuscans love to serve meats and frequently grill it.  Popular choices are beef, veal, rabbit, hare, wild boar, and lamb.  Meat is served with side dishes made from seasonal vegetables.  Vegetables may be cooked in the oven, fried or grilled.  Eggplant or aubergines are popular as are different types of beans.

Italian weddings sometimes have a fresh fruit cake such as puff pastry that is covered with a layer of cream and fresh fruits.  Other options for Italian desserts are gelati (Italian ice-cream) or tiramisu. While a tiered wedding cake is often present at Italian weddings, in some areas of Italy, no cake is served. In place of cake, guests are given small boxes or tulle bundles of sugared almonds. 

Bread is served with the wedding meal and is typically an unsalted bread known as Pane Sciocco.

Wine is always part of an Italian wedding. A nice quality red or white table wine of your choice is perfect. A good Tuscan wine such Montalcino or Brunello is also an option.

So whether you are planning an authentic Italian feast for your wedding or just want to take your favorite pieces of the traditional, enjoy!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Candle Centerpiece with Bling

 Photo couresy of http://best-decor.com/

Having a wedding that needs some sparkle? Try this "refined wrought-iron candle stand" that boasts a glamorous dash of old-time European elegance! Slender ivory curlicues form an attractive support for a thick pillar candle. It is lavishly decorated with swags of glittering crystals that will turn the light into a dancing diamond display. So kick up the bling with this centerpiece. Under ten dollars for the stand, more for the candle. Scatter some loose crystals and petals around on the tabletop or place on top of a mirror.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cookies, Weddings and Dancing

No Italian wedding is complete without some of those delicious cookies that the Italians are well known for.  Italian Wedding Cookies are light and fluffy round cookie balls coated in white and flavored with Anise. For any of you who are not familiar with this traditional Italian flavoring, Anise is like licorice. Or you may have had Anisette liquor as an after dinner aperitif. Italian Wedding Cookies are traditionally flavored with Anise which sets them apart from all other traditional wedding cookies.

But in addition to consuming those goodies there's also the tradition of the Wedding Cookie Dance.  The cookies are built up into a cake and set up in the middle of the dance floor. With the bride and groom leading the dance off, everyone dances around the cookie/cake table and takes a cookie. This traditional wedding cookie dance originated in Italy but has become increasingly popular at Italian Weddings in the United States. And the fun thing about the Italian Wedding Cookie dance is that even if you can’t dance, you can still bounce around the table and eat a cookie!

Italian Wedding Cookies are sold year round so you can buy prepackaged ones at almost any supermarket. It might take a bit of patience to build one into a cake, but if you can buy the cookies you can build the cake. At least you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen baking the cookies!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Make Confetti, and Not the Kind You Throw!

(Photo courtesy of http://www.ilbelloitalianfavors.com/)
Confetti are ribbons filled with Jordan almonds that are typically given at Italian weddings.  These pretty gifts have been adopted by brides of all nationalities.  You can either make your own confetti or buy them ready made.  It's possible to make your own for under $1.25, premade confetti start at $3.50 with some of the more complex designs costing $7.50.
(Photo courtesy of http://www.ilbelloitalianfavors.com/)


(Photo courtesy of http://www.ilbelloitalianfavors.com/)
If you are making your own be sure to read the descriptions carefully since different roles of ribbon make different numbers of confetti. 

Below are some ready made confetti for the bride who lacks the patience or doesn't want to make the favors herself. 

(Photo courtesy of http://www.ilbelloitalianfavors.com/)


(Photo courtesy of http://www.ilbelloitalianfavors.com/)
Below is a centerpiece made from multiple confetti.  It would be a great decoration for your placecard table.

(Photo courtesy of http://www.ilbelloitalianfavors.com/)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What Could Be More Italian than...

(Photo and Information courtesy of http://www.cybercucina.com/)

"According to the Amaretti di Saronno legend, almost three centuries ago, the Cardinal of Milan unexpectedly visited the town of Saronno in Italy. To honor him, two young lovers, Giuseppe and Osolina, quickly baked up a mixture of sugar, apricot kernels and egg whites, creating crisp, airy cookies with an unusual bittersweet flavor which they wrapped in pairs to symbolize their love.

The Cardinal was delighted and blessed the young couple, who married and lived happily ever after. Since 1718 this ancient and secret recipe has been preserved by the Lazzaroni family. Unwrap a legend and begin your own happy ending.

Each box contains 15 pairs (each cookie is paired with another and then wrapped in colorful paper) of Amaretti di Saronno cookies (7.5 oz. net wt.).  Order enough to offer a pair of cookies to each guest and box and tie with a bow.  Add a copy of the legend on the tag.  Everyone loves these quintessential Italian cookies. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Italian Centerpiece Candles

Having an Italian themed wedding?  These pseudo cork candles will make your centerpieces look like you're visiting Tuscany. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Choosing and Wearing your Tiara and Veil

Once you have chosen your dress you will be looking for and choosing what to wear on your head. This may not be as exciting as choosing your dress but there are a number of options. The fashion this year is most definitely still for tiaras. The magazines are full of pictures of brides wearing fabulous tiaras and I wonder if tiaras will ever go out of fashion. They come in a wide range of designs and prices and look good on everyone from bride to bridesmaids. Whether or not you decide to wear a veil unless you want to wear fresh or silk flowers in your hair a tiara will finish the look for you. Tiaras with sparkling crystals or diamantes look absolutely fabulous and need not cost a fortune. This is something you can buy on the internet with confidence at much lower prices than in the shops. As long as you check that the site is reputable e.g. do they take credit cards and not just Pal Pay, do they have a good range of tiaras, are the pictures of the tiaras clear? One site that has a fabulous range of tiaras from top designers is http://www.princesssparkle.co.uk/ or Do not assume that because you are buying from an internet site that you are getting a good deal. We have seen many sites charging exorbitant prices for what are little more than bits of wire with a crystal on the end.

A good site will sell branded tiaras and you can try these on in a shop and compare the prices! Some sites ask you to complete an order form and send it with a cheque!! There are hundreds of sites out there, many selling cheap mass produced rubbish made in the far east. You will see identical tiaras (mostly extremely tasteless!) on a lot of these sites. Do not buy from them unless you want to spoil your look with a tacky tiara! There are also many sites where the tiaras are handmade by woman sitting at home! Some of these are absolutely gorgeous but tend to be very expensive. You do not want to pay a fortune for a few crystals wired onto a cheap head band. Others are very basic and not very attractive. Some sites sell tiaras made by known designers as their own design and charge well over the normal retail price for them, pretending that they are hand made to order. Look long and hard before you buy.

Veils can be very expensive and again these can be bought for as low as a third of the shop price from online stores. If you find a good one they will probably sell veils, tiaras, petticoats and even shoes. Just make sure that you know what the returns policy is so that if you are not happy with your purchase you can return it. A good site to buy veils in www.princesssparkle.co.uk.

Your tiara should be positioned carefully on your head and your hairdresser will be able to attach it so that it will stay in place during the entire wedding day. If you are wearing a veil that is positioned directly behind the tiara. Some brides choose to wear their veil positioned at the back of the head and this does look pretty.

If you are marrying in church it is traditional to wear the veil on the head with the top layer (sometimes called a blushes) over your face as you walk down the aisle. Traditional the person who is ‘giving away’ the bride then lifts back the tops layer to reveal the bride’s face to her groom.

Nothing Says Italian Like a Little Bling!

Now don't just put the bling on the bride, cover your cake with crystal decorations as well.  Favors by Serendipity at http://www.favorsbyserendipity.com/ have a variety of cake toppers and cake bling, something for every bride! 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Planning an Italian Wedding?

Amazon.com offers "Abbodonza, Planning an Italian Wedding" by Lori Granieri. One review of this books says:

"This book was well-written and very helpful. it gives specific menu ideas along with recipes, information about what certain foods symbolize, and foods from the different regions of Italy. It also goes into detail about the Italian wine regions and gives ideas for serving wines. This book includes information about Italian wedding traditions and stories from people about their Italian traditions and experiences. It gives ideas for wedding locations, how to plan it, tips on planning a wedding in Italy and suggestions for wardrobe, music, Italian dances and a lot more. This book is obviously well-researched and also speaks from first-hand experience only gained from living Italian!"

Placecards for Families With a Sense of Humor

This placecard makes me smile, so I thought I'd share it with you! My family has a sense of humor and would laugh, gauge your family's funny quotient before using these!

On a plain piece of of placecard like paper type:
Yo Krista!

You Sit Here

(Put an arrow below pointing down)

Monday, February 15, 2010

What? Italian Wedding Soup Isn't for Weddings?

Much to my surprise (as an American of non-Italian descent) when I reserched it, I found that contrary to popular belief, Italian Wedding Soup is NOT a traditional Italian wedding dish. Instead the soup got it's name from the delectable marriage between the meats and green vegetables in the rich broth. Called "minestra maritata" (married soup) in Italian, this is indeed a perfect pairing of meats with vegetables. "Married" in the stock pot, the complementary flavors warm you into a sweet lull.
The meatballs are baked which reduces the fat and you have the bonus of making the meatballs ahead of time which allows this dish to come together in minutes. Try as I might to make extra, this soup is always slurped down until there is none left.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rustic Italian Peach Wedding Cookies

Rustic peach wedding cookies are a beautiful additon to and Italian theme wedding.  While they take a bit of work to put together, the oohs and ahs from your guests make them well worth the work. 

The recipe makes 15 cookies.  Remember, even if you're having 100 guests you don't need one cookie per person if you are making an assortment of cookies.  You can make this recipe in larger quantities once you decide it's perfect for you weddding cookie table.

Italian Peach Wedding Cookies


1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup apricot preserves

1/2 cup chopped almonds

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons instant tea powder

2 1/2 tablespoons brandy

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup red decorator sugar

1/2 cup orange decorator sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).

Combine sugar, oil, milk, eggs, baking powder and vanilla in large bowl. Blend in enough flour to form a soft dough.

Roll into walnut size balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cookies will be pale. Remove to rack to cool.

Hollow out cookie center. Reserve crumbs. Combine 2 cups crumbs, preserves, almonds, cream cheese, instant tea powder, brandy and cinnamon. Mix to blend.

Fill cookies with crumb mixture. Press 2 cookies together to form peach.

Brush lightly with brandy or water and dip one spot in the red sugar for blush and roll entire cookie in orange sugar. Top with a icing leaf or purchase the plastic peach leaves.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 411
Total Fat: 15.7g
Cholesterol: 35mg

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray: A Cookbook"

If you want to have cookies as favors or just as part of a sweet table and want to make them yourself, the cookbook "Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray: A Cookbook" by Maria Bruscino Sanchez is a great reference book for you. Available from Amazon.com and other major booksellers, Maria's cookbook is a fantastic resource for recipes that range from drop and molded cookies to filled ones, biscotti, biscuits, taralle and pizelles, and many more. Cookie lovers will find plenty to devour in this compilation of Italian American favorites. Maria grew up in a closely knit Italian family, surrounded by Italian traditions and celebrations that her family brought with them from the 'old country.' As an adult she opened up her own bakery called "Sweet Maria's." It was at "Sweet Maria's" that she developed her recipes into Italian cookies with an American twist. Sanchez's precise directions ensure consistent results in the home kitchen, although you may need to go to the Italian Market to get all the ingredients needed. If you try it, please leave feedback on which cookies were a hit!

Under the Tuscan Sun -- Warm Going Down

There's a herbal liquer called Galliano that comes from the seaside of Tuscany. It's smooth and one of the ingredients of a lethal cocktail famous in the 70's called a Harvey Wallbanger. Now we have a new Tuscan cocktail called The Livorno Cocktail. It's light, fruity and a perfect sparkling drink for your wedding.

The Livorno Cocktail:


Total Time: Under 5 mins

Makes: 2 drinks


1 1/4 ounces Galliano
2 1/2 ounces sparkling apple juice
8 ounces chilled Prosecco

Combine Galliano and apple juice in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Stir until chilled and frost is forming on the shaker, about 10 stirs. Strain between two champagne flutes and divide Prosecco evenly.

(Recipe courtesy of : http://www.chow.com)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Italian Wedding Cookies

Italian wedding cookies come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors.  Some are fig stuffed, some anise flavored, some covered with white confectioner's sugar, but the one thing they have in common is you can't eat just one!  I saw these beauties and fell in love!  Then I tasted them, and I was hooked!  Try them out, even if you don't make them for your wedding they'll soon become a family favorite for special occasions and holidays. 

The recipe for these beauties is as follows.  (Thanks to my husband's family)
These Italian anise cookies have a light frosting and and you can dust them with sprinkles.  I prefer them with icing colored with food coloring just to pastel prettiness.

Original Recipe Yield 5 dozen (depending on if you are snitching dough before you bake)


5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tsp. anise


3 Tblsp. melted butter
3 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tblsp. lite whipping cream or 1/2 and 1/2.
2 tsp. anise
(food coloring as desired) (I like pink, pale green, yellows)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar . Cut in butter using a pastry blender or rub between fingers until well blended.

Stir in the eggs, vanilla and anise extracts and mix into a firm dough.

Then turn dough out onto a floured surface, knead for about 5 minutes. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place them about an inch apart onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons water. Drizzle over cooled cookies and decorate with sprinkles if you like them.  They're just fine without them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bomboniere and Italian Confetti Favors - Direct from Italy

Pelino's world-famous, prize-winning, sugar-coated candies known as "confetti" are now available from the House of Pelino in the United States . The Italian candies are known as confetti, while the favors made with them are known as bombonieres.These unique confetti are still made by hand in a four-day process with a recipe over 300 years old. The company still uses some of the original equipment. 'Confetti' are similar to the Jordan almonds we have here in the USA, but these candies have centers of almonds, chocolate or other delicacies. They are starch and flour-free making them taste delicious and unlike any candies used for wedding favors.

Confetti Pelino & Bomboniera USA (web site: http://www.confettipelino.com/) imports beautiful confetti favors from Italy. All favors are custom-designed and hand-made in Italy to your specifications. Confetti Pelino & Bomboniera USA are the only company in the United States to import these candies and favors, you will not find them anywhere else.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Italian Wedding Traditions - Luck and Love

An Italian wedding day starts out early with a wedding mass and lasts into the evening with eating, dancing and drinking.  Luck or the lack of it, and warding off bad luck or evil is a big part of Italian wedding traditions.  Weddings on Sunday are considered the luckiest, and rain is a sign of good luck for an Italian bride.  There is an Italian proverb that says: “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunate.”  Wearing green the night before the wedding is considered to bring luck to the newly married couple.  Traditionally the bride wore a veil to protect and hide her from jealous spirits, and tearing the brides veil slightly was considered good luck, while the groom carried a piece of iron in his pocket, known as Toc Ferro, to ward off the evil eye.  It was bad luck for the bride to wear gold before or during her wedding.  All the men at the wedding may kiss the bride for good luck.  In southern Italy at the end of the wedding it is customary to break a vase or glass.  The number of pieces it shatters into are believed to be the number of years the couple would be married happily.  Another custom that is carried through to today is the wedding favor called 'confetti' or "bomboniera."  Confetti fiori were developed in the 16th century by nuns of the Santa Chirara convent in Sulmona. Sugared almonds, which were already being given out on special occasions in bundles of five for good luck, were fashioned into flowers with the five petals signifying health, happiness, prosperity, fertility, and a long life. For good luck the favor should have either five or seven confetti in it.  In ancient Rome, a loaf of wheat bread was broken over the heads of the bride and groom to ensure a fertile and fulfilling life. Guests would eat the crumbs for good luck. Symbolic foods for good luck include twists of fried dough, powdered with sugar, called bow ties wanda, and Italian wedding candy.  As you can see, Italian weddings are rich in traditions to ensure the happiness of the couple, consider choosing a few to use for your wedding day.

So, You're Having an Italian Wedding!

Whether you're planning a wedding where both families are Italian or where just one side of the family is, Italian weddings have their own unique traditions that can enhance your wedding.  While replicating every tradition would be over the top, adding a few to honor the traditions of family can make the day a special one for all.  I hope some of the ideas I give you will help you plan a unique wedding with Italian traditions throughout.