Italian wedding cookies, also known as almond crescents, or Mexican wedding cookies, are a classic Christmas cookie. Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, Italian wedding cookies are nutty shortbread cookies that belong on your holiday cookie platter!
There is a lot of pressure that comes with being a kindergarten teacher. I am an oracle, the all knowing, to a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds. I feel the tug of fiction versus non-fiction most keenly right around Christmas time. Every book I read to them, is first prefaced with the question, “Is this a fiction or a non-fiction book?”
I stop asking the question two weeks before Christmas, especially when I read, “The Polar Express“. I am often asked, “Is Santa real?“. This most usually comes from a child who has older siblings. A sweet face, looking up at you, knowing that your word is the final word…fiction? Non-fiction? Fortunately for me, I do not have to lie. Yes, Santa is real. I saw him, once.
It was Christmas Eve, 1996. Emma was nearly 2. It was a rare time when Grandpa Woodman requested all his off-spring and their off-spring to come for Christmas Eve and everybody made it. My two sisters-in-law and their families came down from Napa and Paso Robles and we all met at Grandpa’s. My four nieces and nephews, all married now, and with lots of babies and babies-on-the-way, were in their early teens. “Little Spencer“, now a first lieutenant in the Army, was about 9 or 10.
It was a cold, crisp, moonlit night. The clouds were wispy and thin, and were spread like fingers across the moon and when I looked up, I saw Santa’s sleigh and his reindeer. We all stopped and stared, even the adults. It was Santa’s sleigh! We stood there for a long time and I remember soaking in that sight, knowing that the clouds, in precisely that formation, on a full-moon night, with 5 children would never happen again.
I don’t have a problem with the Santa Claus-ness of Christmas. For me, it doesn’t conflict with Jesus and what he represents. I think if Jesus and Santa were hanging out together, they’d both be on the same page. Love, peace, caring, Faith. Above all, Faith. Because you don’t have to see something to believe. But when you do see it, you’ve got to believe it!
I received gifts from Santa until I was about 26, with my dad’s scrawl on the gift tags. “Dad!“, my brother, Bill and I would say, “you know we’re both, like, in our 20’s right?” “Yep“, he’d reply, “They are from Santa. I think the girl that is still in me, is in a big part, from my dad, who never stopped believing either.
We’ll be putting out Italian wedding cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer again this year.
Sophie still hears the bell…and so do I. If you don’t have a cookie press, put out any kind of cookie for Santa, he won’t mind! Click here to track Santa’s trip.
Spritz cookies, (cookie press) remind me of my Aunt “Sass”, (Nancy). She wasn’t really a cook, nor was she a baker, but every Christmas she loved to make spritz cookies. You need a cookie press, but after making dozens of Christmas trees, my hands got tired and I rolled the rest of the dough out into snowflakes. I also used it for the “message cookie”.
Italian Wedding Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar plus 1/3 cup for rolling
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almonds
- 5 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 325*F. Cream butter in bowl. Gradually add confectioners sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add almonds and vanilla. Blend in flour gradually and mix well. Shape into crescents using about 1 tsp. dough for each cookie, (his directions...I think that's too small!). Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes. Do not brown. Cool sightly, then roll in the extra confectioner's sugar.
Arvind Puri says
Nicole (MyLoveForCooking) says
I absolutely LOVE this story! Thank you for sharing. Also as a former Preschool teacher I know the pressure ;). It sounds like you handle it beautifully. Happy Holidays! XO
Thanks Nicole! Happy holidays to you too!