Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest

Jen at Unedited and Melissa at Through the Looking Glass are having a lovely holiday blogfest so if you're looking to feel jolly and get some wonderful holiday recipes, check out the other participants here!

This is the first year I have had my very own Christmas Tree! To be honest, I'm not sure why I never one before. Even though I don't spend the holidays in my apartment, the tree has been so wonderful to look at the past several weeks and I don't ever want to take it down. I'm just glad that they make small trees for small apartments. If I may say so myself, I think my tree is very charming.

My favorite treat around the holidays is extra sharp provolone and spicy sopressata, which is a big part of my Italian Christmas Eve. If you live in Brooklyn, I highly suggest you take a trip to my neighborhood butcher, Esposito & Sons, otherwise known as The Jersey Pork Store (if you're lost, there is a giant ceramic pig to welcome you in front of their shop.) They are doing wonderful things at the pork store, like homemade mozzarella, imported prosciutto, aged provolones and sausages. I am so grateful for old shops like these.

For those of you who don't find cured meats as exciting as I do, the next best treat I can offer you is a Linzer Tart. Growing up my best friend's mother used to make them every Christmas and I would devour them. I have a lot of fond memories of sitting around Mrs. Minervini's kitchen table eating what, for so many years, I called 'The Linda Tart' until I discovered it's real name. The lovely and talented Barefoot Contessa has a recipe for Mini Linzer cookies. I have never made these but I do not question the Barefoot Contessa. She is a cooking Goddess. If I can't have Mrs. Minervini's, then I want these (recipe below).

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with many decorations and treats and loved ones (and sopressata!) to make you feel jolly.

The Barefoot Contessa's Mini Linzer Cookies


3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or spade shaped cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners' sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners' sugar on the top.


  1. Your tree is gorgeous. I too hate taking my tree down. I miss the way it casts a magical glow about the room. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Your tree is charming, Melissa. A Christmas tree is such a cheerful thing to come home to on a winter day.

    I love that photo of your neighbourhood butcher. It must be great to have access to a place like that.

    Linzer cookies sound yummy; they probably look pretty too.

    Hope you have a great holiday. Best wishes.

  3. Very charming tree. The tree's only job is to make you feel good.

  4. Yummy! And the tree is beautiful. One's first tree is the most special.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  5. I love your tree. It SCREAMS "I'm beautiful!" And the photo of the butcher. So cool. Out here, we don't have a neighborhood butcher.

    I have really enjoyed your blog too, girl. Can't wait to see what's in store for us in 2011. I wish us a very agented new year. (I'm wishing this to you, Shannon, Candy and me.) YEAH! :)

  6. Your tree is cute - I love how you helped it so it could make a big impression.
    Yum! Those cookies are very tempting and delicious.
    Happy Christmas :)

  7. Your home looks so warm and happy. Love the tree and the big windows. Have the best holiday season, Melissa!

  8. Yum cookie recipe. Happy Holidays! Your tree is great.

  9. great pics and the recipe looks yummy

  10. Linzer cookies always remind me of my dad. He used to insist we have them whenever my grandparents came to visit. I don't know why we stopped having them. Anyway, love your tree! Have a great Christmas and enjoy the extra sharp provolone and spicy sopressata!

  11. What a sweet tree, and a perfect size for an apartment! As you say, it's definitely "charming." Merry Christmas!

  12. Here for the blogfest. Have a happy Christmas, Melissa!

  13. Christmas headbonks from Avalon the cat!

  14. Awe! I love your tree!! Great recipes too!
    Merry Christmas Melissa!

  15. The cookies sound so yum

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas,
    W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

  16. Your first tree is adorable! And putting it on top of a table makes it look even more grand.

    I have my tree up of a table too.



  17. Your first tree is so cute! i love it! Happy Holidays!

  18. Your tree is cute! The cookies sound so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  19. Those cookies sound great! And you are right. Your tree is charming!

    Thank you so much for participating in our blog fest!

  20. Your tree is very cute!

    I definitely don't doubt the Barefoot Contessa, but I do doubt my ability to make something delicious, even with her recipe.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!