Category Archives: Gluten-free

Gluten Free Forever: What We’re Reading

March 22, 2015 | Leave a comment

GFF_W15_CakeCover At Cookies con Amore, we are very excited about a new magazine for gluten-free foodies called Gluten Free Forever. And we are proud as punch to be featured in the second issue which hit the newstands at the end of January. (It’s available at 800 stores and counting.) You can also purchase print and PDF copies of the magazine on the Gluten Free Forever website.

You’ll find our gluten-free raspberry linzer cookies showcased on page 9 of the Winter 2015 issue along with a handful of other gluten free products that we are eager to try ourselves. The editors write, “Skip the struggle of finding a great GF gift, and send these classic GF linzers by family-owned Cookies con Amore.”

Cookies con Amore is a big believer that gluten-free and foodie should go together. Gluten-free cookies should melt in your mouth and warm your heart. They should taste so good that you have to double check to make sure they are gluten-free. If you want to know how we do what we do, be sure to check out our blog post on Gluten Free Cookies How We Make Them Taste So Good.

It’s a brave thing to launch a print magazine in this day and age, and we hope that Gluten Free Forever takes off because the publishers are doing such beautiful, mouthwatering work. We think of it as AFAR meets Cooks Illustrated. Or perhaps a gluten-free Saveur. If the cover alone doesn’t entice you to spring for a copy, you need to know about a few of great stories that have captured our interest.

An Edible Love Story

The cold weather and short days make this a time of year to get warm with those you love and Gluten Free Forever (page 31) delivers an edible love story. It features this luscious winter menu with contrasting textures and flavors. Recipes include: Duck Legs Braised in Red Wine and Cocoa, Butternut Squash Puree, Winter Salad with Moscato Vinaigrette, Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Spiced Bosc Pears and Currants

For a simple gluten-free winter meal to share with your sweetheart, check out our Valentine’s Day menu.

Del Posto Delivers

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Del Posto is a Four Star Italian restaurant in Manhattan that shares Cookies con Amore’s commitment to offering gluten-free eaters an experience that is as delicioso as traditional wheat recipes. Gluten Free Forever (page 22) tells the story of the restaurant’s path to providing “equal-opportunity indulgence for all.”

The chef de cuisine Matt Abdoo who comes from Italian heritage had been tinkering with gluten-free cooking for many years after dating a woman with celiac disease. Unable to imagine a life without pasta, “he made it his mission to create worthy gluten-free alternatives to the foods closest to his heart.”

This matches our own motivation for creating the Glutenetto line. When Cookies con Amore head baker Fernanda Capraro, who has been sharing cookies since her childhood in a small Italian village, tried a gluten-free diet, she noticed that felt better but that most gluten-free baked goods were not as delicious as the real thing. She also had friends with Celiac Disease and wanted them to be able to share in the love of a good cookie. She set out to bring artisanal taste and gluten-free health together, believing that gluten-free should taste so good that you don’t miss the wheat.

Both Del Posto’s Gluten-Free Focaccia and our Glutenetto cookies have been know to bring tears to the grateful eyes of diet-restricted customers. In our experience, creating gluten-free recipes that make people weep takes a great deal of trial and adjustment with flour blends. To produce our signature crunchy, crumbly Biscotti texture, we had to experiment with various combinations of gluten-free flours. In general, we also find that gluten-free dough is more temperamental than wheat based dough and we need to make adjustments to cooking temperature and time to yield the right combination of crunch and crumble.

We’re excited to try out Del Posto’s focaccia recipe on page 27. Chef de cuisine Abdoo attributes much of his success with gluten-free recipes to chef Thomas Keller’s Cup4Cup flour. Like Fernanda, Abdoo spent years honing his own gluten-free blends and testing the latest varieties as they came onto the market. But it was with Keller’s flour, that Del Posto’s gluten-free “pastas achieved the elusive and greatly coveted silkiness and chew of conventional handmade varieties.”

Sunday Supper with Daniel Patterson

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Follow along (page 46) as this self-taught chef from Massachusetts and proprietor of Michelin Two Star Coi in San Francisco pulls together a relaxed weekend meal. Recipes include: Dungeness Crab and Parsnip Bisque, Roasted Whole Chicken with Herb Vinaigrette, Olive-Oil Crushed Potatoes with Leeks and Tatsoi Leaves, Salad of Chicories and Shaved Radish, Steamed Baby Broccoli with Rice Wine Vinegar and Citrus Jelly with Citrus Ice.

We’re foodies and always curious about what other foodies are doing in their kitchens. The best chefs draw from what’s local, experiment with different flavor combinations and tinker with tradition. We are known for our cookies based on traditional Italian recipes, but head baker Fernanda Capraro is always finding inspiration from the cuisine that surrounds her in Southern California. For instance, at Thanksgiving this year she created a pumpkin jam cookie that gave pies across America a run for their money.

We love stories like this one in Gluten Free Forever which take us into a chef’s home kitchen, because that’s where the most interesting experimentations begin.

** all artwork: Gluten Free Forever magazine

Italian Christmas Cookies: Buon Natale!

December 13, 2014 | 2 Comments

Holiday Banner

Christmas in Italy

In Italy, the focus of Christmas is on family and feasting. The recipes are traditional—everyone looks forward to enjoying the dishes that their families have made for generations. The real magic happens in the way everyone—Mama, Papa, aunts, children, siblings, cousins, etc.—joins together to share in the traditions.

Perhaps we’re biased, but we’ve always felt the most special part of Christmas dinner is when the cookies, Vin Santo and coffee come out. The work is all done, everyone is warm and full. What’s left but to do, but sit back, enjoy the sweetness and share stories?

Virtually every Italian town has its own traditional Christmas cookie. Many of the Cookies con Amore are actually Christmas cookies that can be enjoyed year round. Here are some of our favorite holiday classics and the stories behind them.

Traditional Italian Christmas Cookies

Cuccidati

cuccidati italian cookies

The Cuccidati is a fig-filled cookie that hails from Sicily. The star of this butter cookie is the filling: figs, dates, raisins and orange peel. It’s a traditional Christmas cookie.

Each Sicilian town has its own take on this delicious cookie. It is known by different a variety of names: cucciddatu, vurciddatu, purciddatu or’ucciddatu and buccellati. It also comes in a variety of shapes: wreaths, logs and even animal shapes.

The ingredients change slightly from town to town. Cookies con Amore head chef Fernanda adds sweet Marsala wine to her filling, making for a classically Sicilian cookie. We bake both gluten-free and classico versions of the Cuccidati.

Order a box of Cuccidati (regular or gluten-free). They are also included in our Gluten-free Christmas Cookie assortment and the Classico Italian Christmas Cookie assortment.

Ricciarelli

ricciarelli

The Ricciarelli is a traditional Tuscan cookie that is naturally gluten-free and combines orange with almond flavors. At Christmastime, you will find Ricciarelli in every bakery in Siena.

This cookie has an Arabic influence and dates back to the Crusades, when almonds were introduced to Italy by soldiers returning home. In the spirit of adaptation to local taste and flavors, Cookies con Amore head chef Fernanda has also created a chocolate version of the Ricciarelli made with cocoa powder, “because who doesn’t love chocolate?”

Order a box of Ricciarelli cookies. They are also included in our Gluten-free Christmas Cookie assortment.

Raspberry Linzer

cookies con amore raspberry linzer

One of our best loved gluten-free cookies is the Raspberry Linzer. It’s made with almond flour giving it a rich, nutty taste. We sandwich two cookies together with a tangy berry jam that complements the sweetness of the dough.

The Linzer is also known as the Occhi di Bue (eye of the bull) because the top cookie in the sandwich is traditionally made with a cutout circle in the center. The jelly that is revealed looks like a large eye. For the holiday assortments, we cut the Linzer in the shape of a Christmas tree.

Order a box of our naturally gluten-free Raspberry Linzer cookies. They are also included in our Gluten-free Christmas Cookie assortment and the Classico Italian Christmas Cookie assortment.

Checkerboard

checkerboard

This delicate and crunchy shortbread cookie combines chocolate with orange flavors in a festive checkerboard design. No eggs are used in this buttery, rich batter. Because this cookie is labor-intensive, traditionally it is made only for special occasions such as Christmas.

Order a box of Checkerboard cookies. They are also included in our Classico Italian Christmas Cookie assortment.

Ginger

ginger

Ginger is not a traditionally Italian flavor, but over our many years in the U.S., we developed a fondness for this traditional American Christmas cookie. When you bite into one of our Ginger Cookies you will find a soft, chewy texture. We combine molasses with ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and cloves to give these cookies a spicy flavor that will bring you back to Christmas morning. It’s included in our classico Christmas cookie assortment.

Order a box of Ginger cookies. They are also included in our Classico Italian Christmas Cookie assortment.

Pizzelle

pizzelle

Pizzelle are very traditional thin, crisp waffle cookies that can be enjoyed on their own or sandwiched together with cannoli cream, hazelnut-chocolate spread or other decadent fillings. The name for these cookies comes from the Italian word “pizze” for round and flat.

In the old days every wealthy family in Italy had its own Pizzelle iron which would press a waffle-like design featuring their family crest onto the cookies. We make our Pizzelle cookies the old fashioned way, entirely by hand with traditional irons.

Order a box of Pizzelle cookies for Christmas.

Crostoli

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Crostoli, or little crusts, are rectangular paper-thin pastries fried in palm oil then dusted with confectioner’s sugar to form light, delicately crisp treats that are not overly sweet. In Italy, every town has its own special name for them: Crostoli (little crusts), Cenci (rags), Nastri (ribbons), Bugie (lies), and Chiacchere (the sounds of patter or gossip) to name a few.

This is one of our family’s trademark Christmas cookies. Long before we started Cookies con Amore, we would spend the entire holiday season baking batch after batch of crostoli for our friends and family. In some ways it’s what inspired us to start the company.

You can serve Crostoli with ice cream (hazelnut is particularly good), but our family tradition is to serve crostoli alongside a generous bowl of ricotta spread. This Italian take on chips and dip gives you bites of cannoli without the mess. Because the recipe is not too sweet, it can be served as either an appetizer or dessert. It’s easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time. Don’t expect to have any leftovers. Mangia!

Order a box of Crostoli.

Recipe: Crostoli con Ricotta

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of crostoli
  • 2 lbs. whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • mini chocolate chips (as much as desired)
  • zest of one whole orange
  • zest of one whole lemon

Whip ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract with an electric mixer until smooth and light. Fold in chocolate chips and the lemon and orange zest.

Refrigerate. Remove when ready to be served.

The Cuccidati and Sicily

November 5, 2014 | 2 Comments

figs for cuccidati cookies

Each month here on the Cookies con Amore blog we dedicate one of our cookies to a region of Italy. It’s an opportunity for you to learn a bit about the Italian culture that is baked into each of our cookies—whether they are gluten-free, sugar-free or classico.

Cuccidati and Sicily

The Cuccidati is a fig-filled cookie that hails from Sicily. The star of this butter cookie is the filling: figs, dates, raisins, orange peel and a bit of marsala wine. It’s a traditional Christmas cookie and as we enter the holiday season November is the perfect month to showcase this cookie that’s one of our favorites.

Each Sicilian town has its own take on this delicious cookie. It is known by different a variety of names: cucciddatu, vurciddatu, purciddatu or’ucciddatu and buccellati. It also comes in a variety of shapes: wreaths, logs and even animal shapes.

The ingredients change slightly from town to town. Cookies con Amore head chef Fernanda adds chocolate chips to our filling and tops the cookies with a dash of powdered sugar and sliced almonds. We bake both gluten-free and classico versions of the cuccidati.

cuccidati italian cookies

Sicily: garden of culinary delights

Virtually every Sicilian family has a fig tree in the backyard and winter evenings are spent by the fire enjoying seasonal dried fruits and nuts. This island off the southwest coast of Italy is the largest in the Mediterrenean and lies at the crossroads of Africa and Europe. Its temperate climate and fertile soil yield a cornucopia of culinary delights. Along the coast, you’ll find vineyards and groves of citrus and olive trees. Almond grow in the the south. Wheat grows in the interior.

Sicily has long attracted foreigners to its ports. At various times, it was governed by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, French and Spanish—each adding their own influence to the local cuisine, which today is among the most diverse in all of Italy.

palermo

Palermo Cooking Class

Palermo is fascinating city with many interesting palaces, museums and churches as well as excellent restaurants. The sommelier at our local wine bar recently returned from a sojourn in Palermo and gushed to us about a one day cooking class she took with The Duchess of Palma. The lesson begins with a visit to the market for ingredients for an entirely Sicilian menu to be enjoyed in the dining room of an 18th century palazzo which was the last home of Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the world-famous novel The Leopard.

What to Eat in Sicily

Arance (Oranges): Oranges are everywhere in Sicily. Whether candied or squeezed into fresh juice or incorporated into savory dishes, you can’t miss them. Look for insalata di arance, a simple orange salad served with shaved fennel, marinated tuna and a fresh sardine.

Arancini (Fried Rice Balls): Savory fried rice balls that are typically filled with meat sauce, green peas and sometimes cheese. Other fillings include spinach, mushrooms, eggplant or pistachios. They resemble small oranges, hence the name “arancini” and make a delightful snack.

Cannoli: We have Sicilians to thank for the invention of cannoli: tubes of crunchy, fried dough that filled with ricotta cheese.

Caponata: This very typical Sicilian ratatouille is a tangy, sweet and sour salad based on eggplant. It is seasoned with sweet balsamic vinegar, capers, tomatoes and sometimes pine nuts and raisins and served at room temperature.

Pasta alla Norma: This Eastern Sicilian comfort food is made with fried eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and ricotta salata. Best enjoyed in the summer when eggplant is in season.

Polpo bollito: Fish in Sicily is so fresh, it’s rarely served with sauces or even much seasoning. This is a classic example: It’s simply boiled octopus.

Marzipan: In Sicily, almond paste is molded into little fruits. They are both delicious and works of art.

Granita: This simple summer refreshment pairs ground ice with sugar and fresh fruit.

Cassata siciliana: A sponge cake is soaked in liqueur, its slices layered with sweetened ricotta, and the whole thing covered in almond paste, then icing. Oh, and studded with candied fruits and other goodies. This one’s for serious sweet tooths only!

sicily

Of course, you needn’t book a ticket to Italy to enjoy a taste of Sicily. Simply order a box of our Cuccidati (classico or gluten-free) and we’ll deliver some Sicilian dolce to your door.

If you have things you’d like to share about your visits and experiences in Sicily, please add them to the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

The Ricciarelli and Siena

September 16, 2014 | Leave a comment

almonds ricciarelli

Each month here on the Cookies con Amore blog we dedicate one of our cookies to a region of Italy. It’s an opportunity for you to learn a bit about the Italian culture that is baked into each of our cookies—whether they are gluten-free, sugar-free or classico.

Ricciarelli and Siena

The Ricciarelli is a traditional Tuscan cookie that is naturally gluten-free and combines orange with almond flavors. This cookie has an Arabic influence and dates back to the Crusades, when almonds were introduced to Italy by soldiers returning home. In the spirit of adaptation to local taste and flavors, Cookies con Amore head chef Fernanda has also created a chocolate version of the Ricciarelli made with cocoa powder, “because who doesn’t love chocolate?”

You will find Ricciarelli in every bakery in Siena, a purely preserved Medieval walled city in Tuscany. We love Siena! It’s walkable (in fact automobile access is limited within the city walls), charming and the cuisine is both hearty and delicious. It boasts a beautiful duomo that dates to the 11th century and is home to one of the oldest Universities in Europe.

Siena at night

Palio: An Intoxicating Race

Siena is best known for its magnificent Palio horse races that take place on July 2 and August 16 in the Piazza del Campo (city square). It’s a grand spectacle complete with medieval costumes and pageantry. A thick layer of dirt is laid down on the square to create the track and more than 28,000 spectators pack the Piazza for the race that is televised throughout Italy.

Today there are 17 contrade (neighborhoods) in Siena represented by a mascot or animal such as the panther, owl or wolf, and each enters a horse in the race. The jockeys are outfitted in the traditional colors of the contrada and race three times around the Piazza. The winner earns a prized silk banner and—more importantly—honor for the contrada. Competition is so fierce that even today marrying someone from a rival contrada can conjure up as much drama as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette.

If you visit Siena during one of the Palios you are sure to be swept up in the froth and revelry that continues for four days.

Christmas: Festive in Siena

Ricciarelli are Seina’s traditional Christmas cookies. Visit during the holidays to find an elegant and festive atmosphere with many free concerts in the churches. Over the month of December, Siena holds several Christmas markets in the Piazza which is decked out with lights and musicians.

Siena piazza

Piazza del Campo: Eat Here!

Palios aside, the center of life in Siena is found in the Piazza. Locals gather and catch up with each other here. Take a dinner or apertivo at one of the restaurants or cafes for a great vantage of the goings on.

One of our dear customers who recently moved from Siena to Fort Worth, Texas told us about the things she most misses and offered some recommendations for visitors who want a quintessentially local culinary experience:

Pane Toscano: bread baked without salt

The cafes in the Piazza will serve it with a garlic-infused olive oil which is pressed in the autumn after the harvest, a real treat if you are visiting at that time.

Funghi Porcini: wild mushrooms

In autumn, you will also find wild mushrooms on every menu: fried, on bruschetta, served with pasta etc.

Antipasto di Cinta Senese: plate of local cured meats

The Cinta Senese is a breed of pigs native to Siena that is bred in the wild hills and pastures outside the city. Cinta Senese salami is dry, with very little fat, and is quite flavorful.

Pici: thick, hand rolled spaghetti

The dough is typically made with flour and water only. Cacio e pepe is a basic cheese and pepper sauce. For more adventurous diners, order the cinghiale (wild boar) ragu. You won’t find that in Fort Worth!

Wine

You can’t make a mistake with wine in Tuscany. Chianti and Vin Santo are both locally produced.

Cookies: Ricciarelli

Each baker’s recipe is a closely guarded secret. Be sure to sample from a variety of bakers. Run your own Palio of cookies!

ricciarelli

Of course, you needn’t book a ticket to Italy to enjoy a taste of Siena. Simply order a box of our gluten-free Ricciarelli and we’ll deliver some Tuscan dolce to your door.

If you have things you’d like to share about your visits and experiences in Siena, please add them to the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Gearing Up for Gluten-Free Expo 2014

May 30, 2014 | Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Expo 2014

We’re gearing up for the Celiac Disease Foundation’s Gluten-Free Expo in Pasadena on June 7 and 8, 2014. This event is a great opportunity for gluten-free folk to learn the latest in healthy living, try different gluten-free products and connect with other celiac people.

We’ll bring samples of our entire line of Glutenetto products. So please stop by our booth 105, say hello and have a cookie with us.

Over the past few months, we’ve attended several gluten-free events and have made some great friends among the other exhibitors. We’re so impressed with the gluten-free community.

Here are some folks who we think are doing gluten-free right. They share our dedication to making delicious products that you won’t believe are gluten-free. Give them a try!

Bard’s the Original Sorghum Malt Beer

bards-beer Bard’s is a great tasting craft bear that just happens to be gluten-free. It’s brewed 100% with malted sorghum and contains no wheat, barley, rye or oats. The brewers are two “ardent beer lovers” who were diagnosed celiacs and wanted to create a product that was as good as anything produced by traditional craft brewers. It’s a lighter beer with a great taste.

2Good2B Bakery & Cafe

2good2b-cafes 2Good2B has cafes in Encinitas and San Diego that serve 100% Gluten-free, Corn-free and Soy-free food. It was founded by Diana Benedek, who suffered from a variety of health challenges that cleared up when she stopped eating gluten, corn and soy. We got to know these folks at the Gluten-Free fest in San Diego and became big fans of their baguette, especially paired with hummus.

World Gardens Cafe

world-gardens-cafe Gluten-free cuisine delivered to your door (in California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona)! We met Executive Chef Ravi Harryram at the Gluten-Free fest in San Diego and enjoyed his delicious natural gluten-free lasagna (high praise coming from Italians!). After going gluten-free himself, this Chef from Trinidad and Tobago realized that gluten was in almost everything you use to cook including sauces, bases, seasonings, etc.

The gluten-free foods that he found were flavorless, so he started working with marinades and rubs to correct the issue. Through research and practice, he was able to expand to dairy-free and soy-free options as well.

Maninis Gluten Free bread and pasta

maninis-pasta-logo3 MANINIS® GLUTEN FREE is a company whose products were developed by a mathematician mother and a chemical engineer father. Their mission: develop good tasting and nutritious rice-free, gluten-free whole grain products for their five-year old daughter diagnosed with celiac disease. They base their products on ancient grains and make bread mixes and pasta.

Califia Farms

califia-almond-milk-unsweet This California-based company makes a delicious almond milk which goes great with our cookies! It’s all that Nonna drinks these days. We also enjoy their Double Espresso Iced Coffee. Both are dairy and soy free.

 

Five Italian Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

May 23, 2014 | 2 Comments

Mother's Day Cookies

In Italy, Father’s Day is celebrated several months earlier than in America. Papa is honored on the Feast Day of Saint Joseph, which falls on the 19th of March. Families prepare traditional meals and, of course, cookies!

Here are some delicious and delightful Father’s Day gift suggestions with an Italian twist.

Italian brunch

Our family Father’s Day tradition is to give Papa a delicious start to his day. That leaves the afternoon free for him to play games with the children and grandchildren, go for a walk, watch baseball or take a nap!

Here are a couple of simple, healthy and flavorful recipes that are idea for brunch:

Don’t forget the coffee! We’ve been enjoying Sightglass Coffee, roasted in San Francisco.

For dessert, our Ricciarelli cookies are naturally gluten-free and come in both chocolate and orange/almond flavors.

A nature hike

After a long winter, June is a perfect time to get outside. If your father enjoys rambling, find a nearby trail, prepare some sandwiches and pack a field guide so that you can identify animal tracks and birds along the way. It will create memories for you and him.

For lunch on the trail, we’ve had our eye on the John Oliver Sandwich from Penelope Cafe in New York. It combines goat cheese with an olive tapenade on a cranberry walnut bread. It’s hearty, sweet, nutty, briny and creamy all at once and perfect for the trail.

Simply toast a couple of slices of Cranberry Walnut bread, spread goat cheese on one piece, olive tapenade on the other and sandwich them together.

Here’s an Italian Cranberry Walnut Bread recipe from the good folks at Italian Food Forever. For gluten-free Dads, check out the Crusty Boule recipe on Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef and make the following substitutions:

  • Use 1.5 cups dried cranberries and 1.5 cups dried walnuts instead of the olives.
  • Use zest from 1 orange rather than rosemary.

Apricots are in season and would be a nice complement. Don’t forget to pack some bandanas or cotton napkins and some water.

A bottle of Grappa and a red rose

A red rose is the traditional flower of Father’s Day and grappa is a uniquely Italian digestif. Since the Middle Ages, this unaged brandy has been hailed as a cure for almost everything. Italian men traditionally drank it in osterias, communal man caves, where they gathered to chat, play cards, smoke, snack and the like.

Made from the grape byproducts of wine-making, Grappa is a fiery way to end a meal, drunk either as a shot on its own or added to an espresso (in which case it’s known in Italy as a caffè coretto, or a “corrected coffee”).

The best grappa comes from the Friuli, Trentino and Veneto regions—all near the Austrian border. Expect to spend $50 or more for a good bottle.

Bocce

Bocce is an ancient game that was embraced by the Roman Empire and enjoyed by nobility and peasants alike. Traditionally, Italian men of all ages play bocce informally in the village and cafe. Bocce clubs and courts can be found in most American cities with an Italian immigrant population.

But you can also play on Papa’s lawn. Playboule has a bocce set on sale for Father’s Day.

A box of cookies just for Papa

Papa is always on hand to dispense sweetness to his children. He deserves a box of sweetness all his own. We’ve created two Father’s Day cookie assortments (gluten-free and regular) that feature some of our most popular and favorites. Wedding cookies, nonna, biscotti, ricciarelli, polentine: they are all there.

Introducing Gluten-free Wedding Cookies

May 22, 2014 | Leave a comment

Mother's Day Cookies

Everyone loves an Italian wedding cookie. It’s one of our biggest sellers and we felt that folks who are gluten-free should be able to enjoy this nutty delicacy as well. We’re delighted to introduce a gluten-free version of this traditional Italian shortbread cookie. As with all of our Glutenetto cookies, our objective was to make our gluten-free Wedding Cookies taste so good that you won’t miss the wheat. Here’s how we did it:

The Hallmark of a Good Wedding Cookie

A good wedding cookie should have a rich, but subtle flavor. The dusting of powdered sugar should give them a delicate rather than overwhelming sweetness. You should be able to taste the nuts with a hint of lemon and the texture needs to be crunchy but moist.

Adapting our Wedding Cookie Recipe

We adapted our wedding cookie recipe which is already a bit unusual because it uses pecans rather than almonds. The pecan is an American nut and one which we fell hard for when we moved to the States. Pecans a bit more oily than almonds and that gives our wedding cookies extra tenderness.

Baking Our Gluten-Free Wedding Cookies

Getting the right texture proved the toughest challenge when creating our gluten-free recipe. We make a  proprietary blend of gluten-free flours which includes rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, and white sorghum flour. Each cookie has a different personality, so we must alter the quantity of the blend used in each recipe.

Perfecting the texture for our gluten-free Wedding Cookies took a lot of adjustments to the flour and moisture. After a good bit of experimentation, we believe that we’ve hit upon a recipe that is so good that you won’t be able to tell that they are anything other than a traditional Italian wedding cookie. We’re now taking orders for our gluten-free wedding cookies and would love to hear what you think.

As always we’re taking suggestions for new Italian cookie flavors you’d like. Just drop us a line or join the discussion on our Facebook page!

Learn more about our Gluten-Free Italian Cookies

To learn more about how we approach creating gluten-free Italian cookies, check out our blog post on Gluten-free cookies: how we make them taste so good.

Five Gourmet Italian Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

April 30, 2014 | Leave a comment

Mother's Day Cookies

Like all true Italians, we cherish and celebrate Mama all year round. But over the years, we’ve given and received some great Mother’s Day gifts. Here are some of our favorites:

A box of cookies just for her

Of course we have to start our list here. Who doesn’t love a cookie? Mama cooks and bakes for everyone else. We’ve created two Mother’s Day cookie assortments (gluten-free and regular) that feature some of our most popular and favorites so that Mama can enjoy a box of cookies all her own. Wedding cookies, nonna, biscotti, baci di dame, jelly-filled linzers: they are all there.

Italian breakfast in bed

What a luxury it is to have your children deliver a good fashion (Vogue Italia) or travel magazine (AFAR), coffee and something sweet to you in bed. What kind of something sweet? We have some ideas!

The farfalletti is our version of a breakfast cookie. It’s like a miniature croissant with a dab of jam filling: apricot, strawberry or raspberry. There’s no sugar added and the foundation of the cookie is a simple butter and cream cheese dough.

For gluten-free Moms, we are partial to a good biscottinni that dunks well.

An Italian picnic

May can be such a delicious time of the year: perfect for a picnic by the seaside, in the country or at a park. Pick up some good Italian prosciutto or salumi, an assortment of cheese (we’re partial to sweet Gorgonzola and fresh Asiago right now) and some olives. If you eat wheat, Grissini (Italian breadsticks) are a must. Figs, cherries and strawberries are all in season and require no preparation other than rinsing.

Here are two gluten-free recipes to make in advance:

Don’t forget the sparkling water and wine (a lightly sparkling Prosecco or a Pino Grigio) and of course the cookies! Our wedding cookies now come in gluten-free as well as regular and are a perfect picnic treat.

Pack it all off with a picnic blanket, some wine glasses, a bottle opener, plates, cutting board, cotton napkins and a knife for the cheese and fruit.

Italian garden gifts

When we grew up in Italy, everyone had a fruit or nut tree in the back yard. It was from these trees that Nonna would gather the flavors for her cookies: lemon, fig and apricot. You taste these flavors in many of our cookies: lemon nonna (gluten-free and regular), fig cuccidatis (gluten-free and regular) and jelly-filled Linzers (gluten-free and regular).

A potted Meyer lemon tree is great for the patio and can be brought inside during winter if you don’t live in a temperate climate. Rosemary, thyme and lavender are classic Italian herbs and also do well in pots.

Olivella olive oil skin care

Olive Oil soap is a centuries-old skin care secret of Mediterranean women. It naturally replenishes lost moisture, nourishes the skin, and fights the effects of free radicals. Olivella makes luxurious skin care products that are made of 100% pure Italian virgin olive oil and produced right where the olives are grown, in “the green heart of Italy.” We love them!

Gluten-free Cookies: how we make them taste so good

March 14, 2014 | 2 Comments

At the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim last week, lots of gluten-free folks stopped by our booth and tasted our Glutenetto cookies. “How do you get them to taste like the real thing?” they asked. It takes a lot of love and a lot of hard work! Here’s the long and short of it.


Marian Geringer

I am Italian! So when I had to give up gluten and dairy, I also had to give up so many food traditions and memories … [Fernanda of Cookies con Amore and I] talked awhile and she gave me two types of Gluten-Free cookies—Pignoli and Ricciarelli. I carefully put them in my bag and took them home. I knew if they were as good as they looked, I wanted to enjoy every bite in the peace and quiet of my home. They were even better then I could have possibly imagined. They melted in my mouth, bursting with memories and flavors I have not had in years.

Why we started our gluten-free cookie line

We first got interested in making gluten-free cookies when a friend of the family told us that she was gluten-intolerant. Out of curiosity, head baker and founder Fernanda, tried a gluten-free diet and noticed that she generally felt better. “That made me a true believer,” says Fernanda. “But while I am willing to give up gluten, I’m not willing to give up flavor.”

Our objective is to make our Glutenetto cookies taste so good that you won’t miss the wheat.

1. Some of our recipes are naturally gluten-free.

pignoli Wheat was never a part of the batter for some of our most favorite and traditional Italian cookies. Our Amaretti, Pignoli and Ricciarelli recipes are based on eggs and butter; they are gluten-free without any need for modification. Of course, these cookies need to be baked in a gluten-free certified facility so that there’s no cross-contamination. That’s why we got certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.

2. We adapted some traditional recipes

gf-biscottini We chose Biscotti for our first gluten-free cookie adaptation. The secret to a good Biscotti is a crunchy and crumbly texture. The cookie should hold together when you dunk it in coffee, but still be edible if you eat without dunking.

To produce our signature crunchy, crumbly Biscotti texture, we had to experiment with various combinations of gluten-free flours. In general, we also found that gluten-free dough is more temperamental than wheat based dough and we need to make adjustments to cooking temperature and time to yield the right combination of crunch and crumble.

It was a challenge, but we won’t offer a gluten-free version of any cookie unless we can get the texture and flavor just right. We’ll test and try again until it tastes good enough to evoke memories of home.

3. We created some recipes from scratch

gf-polentine The Polentine is a crispy cookie made with polenta (corn flour) and rolled with raspberry jam. Although it’s a traditional Tuscan cookie, it’s not made in the traditional way. We created the recipe from scratch to be gluten-free. Because the Polentine is only slightly sweet, it pairs well with a bit of goat cheese and prosciutto. It has become one of our favorites and best sellers.

4. Our facility is certified gluten-free by the GFCO

It wasn’t enough to make gluten-free versions of our cookies. We also felt strongly that we needed our baking facility to be certified gluten-free by the GFCO. It’s a rigorous process that includes annual inspections, regular product testing and continuous ingredient reviews. We’re happy to do it so that everyone can enjoy our cookies!

Have Questions or Ideas about our Glutenneto cookies?

We’d love to discuss in the comments below!