Gingerbread Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended and set aside.

In a mixing bowl (e.g. KitchenAid) beat butter and brown sugar until creamy, then add egg and mix at medium speed until well blended. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended, scraping down the bowl if needed. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.

Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
(Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated and then returned to room temperature if you plan to roll it out for cut cookies.)

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheet 2-3 inches apart. Flatten the balls for a thin crisp cookie, or leave them as they are for a cookie that is crunchy on the outside with a softer center.


Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface, and sprinkle flour over dough. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick, dusting rolling pin or keeping the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Use additional flour as needed to avoid sticking.

Cut out cookies and space them 1 1/2-inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes for flat cookies or ~12 minutes for round cookies. Cool on a rack and then decorate (or not) as desired.

Sugar Cookies

These are less sugary than most, so they can be decorated with icing or chocolate without becoming overly sweet. Alternatively, you can add 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the recipe and leave undecorated.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are well combined. In another container, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, mixing until well blended. Cover bowl or wrap the dough and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Form dough into ~1 inch balls and flatten on parchment paper to about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thickness -OR- on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thickness and cut use cookie cutters. Arrange the cookies ~2-inches apart and bake 14-16 minutes until moderately browned all over. After the cookies have been cooled, apply cookie icing or chocolate.

NOTE: If you bake these cookies just until the edges start to turn brown, they will taste mealy. These turn out best when the are rolled thin and baked until crispy.


There are many variations of filling for caggionetti, though the base seems to nearly always be ceci beans, chestnuts, or — most traditionally — a combination of the two. These are soft-cooked and then mashed together with the other ingredients. Most recipes also include cocoa powder, grated chocolate, or melted chocolate. Sweetness is provided by sugar, honey, or grape must. Other common ingredients are chopped nuts, candied citron, orange zest, and cinnamon.

After looking at various recipes and doing some experimentation, I’ve come up with my own version of caggionetti:

4 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. olive oil
2/3 c. white wine
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
cold water as needed

5 oz. cooked ceci beans
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, grated or melted
2-3 oz. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. candied citron
1/2 – 1 c. chopped walnuts (2-3 oz.)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. orange oil
zest from one orange

Purée the ceci beans in a food processor, then add the other filling ingredients, processing as needed to evenly distribute. Set the filling aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and wine, then knead, adding the cold water as needed to get a dough that holds together. Knead he dough for several more minutes to make sure the ingredients are well blended. On a lightly floured cutting board, roll out the dough as thin as you can get it. Cut out circles, place about 1/2 t. of filling on each circle, then fold over and seal the edges as you would a ravioli. Fry the cookies in hot Canola oil, turning once, until both sides are lightly browned. Remove to a plate or tray lined with paper towels for draining. Sprinkle with sugar while still hot.