Cookie Recipes from La Pancia Affamata

In my imagination, what La Pancia Affamata would have looked like.

If you’re not familiar with La Pancia Affamata, let me acquaint you with it for a moment. In BENEATH THE MIMOSA TREE, my novel, which is set primarily around the holidays, the main character’s mother owns a Pasticerria in Annapolis. The name of the Pasticerria is La Pancia Affamata—translation—The Hungry Tummy. It’s a bakery that makes cookies and breads. I’m hungry just writing about it.

When I head out to do book talks, I bring one of my family’s recipes with me as a gift to the hostess and guests who have invited me to their talks. It is a plate of homemade cookies.

Since it’s time to get into the baking spirit as the holidays are quickly approaching, I thought I’d share recipes that have been passed down through my family and my husband’s family—recipes I think would have been in the showcase at La Pancia Affamata.

If only it were real.

If you have a delicious cookie recipe, feel free to share it with readers here.

Happy Baking!

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Ricotta Chocolate Chips


1 stick butter

1/4 cup Ricotta cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soften butter (I melt it a little in the microwave) and blend with ricotta cheese. Add vanilla. Add sugar gradually until well-blended. Add egg and mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips.

Drop cookies on baking sheet and bake anywhere from 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Spritz Butter Cookies


1 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add lemon juice an egg and beat. Add flour. Roll out dough and cut into shapes. Brush with beaten egg. Spring with colored sugars if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.

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Dunking Cookies


1/2 cup Crisco

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

Then add:

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. baking powder

4 1/2 cups flour

Directions: Knead for 5 minutes Roll into teaspoon size balls or finger logs. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool an ice with mixture of confectionary sugar, lemon juice, and warm water. Add sprinkles or food color as topping.

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Biscotti ai Pignoli (Pine Nut Cookie)

Biscotti A Pinoli
Biscotti A Pinoli


1 1/2 cups sugar

1 Tbls. almond paste

1/2 tsp. salt

4 large eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp. almond extract

2 Tbls. pine nuts

2 tbls. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a double boiler, bring water to a boil and, over boiling water, combine the sugar, almond paste, salt, and eggs. Beat mixture for 5 minutes. It should be lukewarm and resemble pancake batter. Almond paste should be well mixed in mixture. Remove from heat and continue beating another 5 minutes or until the batter is cool and looks like icing. Sift flour and baking powder together, fold gently into the batter. Fold in the almond extract using a teaspoon. Drop cookies 11/2 inches apart on buttered and floured cookie sheets. Decorate with pine nuts and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes or until crisp on the outside.


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