CookieSwapWith the holidays coming up quickly, I look forward each year to my annual cookie swap with my neighbors and friends.    It is seriously so much fun to see everyone and share recipes for holiday cookies and treats.  There’s usually beer & wine, cocoa with marshmallows and lots and lots and lots of cookies….everywhere!  This year some of the highlights were toffee bars, almond sugar cookies, homemade fudge, holiday stars, pecan sandies, gingerbread cookies and my friend Corey even made a gluten free sugar cookie!  It was delicious!

The real reason for getting together is just to simply be together with friends who don’t have a lot of family close by.  It really is a great kick off to get everyone into the holiday spirit and get some cookies home for their entire family to enjoy!  I’d encourage everyone to make this their own family tradition!

And of course, no cookie trade post would be complete without the recipe for Italian Befanini:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 5 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for rolling


  1. In a large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer), beat together butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Add eggs, one at time with mixer running on low. Turn mixer up to medium and beat until well combined for about 2-3 minutes. Add extracts as mixer is going.

  2. Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture, beating on low until just combined.

  3. Place about 1 cup dough mixture onto parchment paper or wax paper that has been dusted with powdered sugar and cover with an additional sheet of parchment paper. Roll out to 1/2′ thickness and place in sealed storage bag or large covered container.
  4. Repeat until all dough has been rolled out.
  5. Place the rolled dough into the refrigerator, sealed well, for 12 hours or overnight. (If you are not planning on using all the dough right away, freeze in well sealed storage bags in freezer.)
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400.
  7. Lightly dust cookie cutters with powdered sugar and cut dough as desired.
  8. Re-roll scraps to cut more shapes.
  9. Bake for 6-7 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to sit on cookie sheet on a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes and then gently remove cookies from tray and allow to fully cool before icing.

Enjoy the holiday weeks coming up!




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