A Sweet Christmas to All

So here it is, my seasonal video.  I thought I’d show you ‘live’ some of my Christmas desserts, instead of simply posting photos.  Come into my kitchen, take a look at my Neapolitan Struffoli, made in the most time-honored and true manner, crunchy (never soft!), cooked in a thick honey syrup (not simply coated), redolent of lemon and orange, scattered with delectable cinnamon confetti that I bring back from Portici every year, livened by colorful diavolilli, adorned with slivers of Italian candied fruits.  For me, pictureChristmas can’t be such without the sumptuous Struffoli which mean childhood, the purest joy of those innocent times and the ancient traditions that must be held tenderly in your hand, then placed ceremoniously in the ones of future generations.  Behold, now, the Pasta Reale, exquisite petit fours, lovingly made individually by hand with homemade almond paste and satiny fondant.  A labor of love (and oh so much patience), these sophisticated Neapolitan miniature pastries are always present on my Christmas table, perhaps my favorite dolce of all.  Naturally, being this also an American Christmas, I dive breathlessly into the baking of hundreds of traditional cookies, happily celebrating the creative bounty of my magnificent adoptive country.  Oh, the delightful Jelly Thumbprints, buttery, vanilly and tangy withcherry and apricot preserves.  Sweet and crunchy Sesame Cookies, Chocolate-picturedipped Coconut Sticks, subtly flavored and crisp; delicate and tender Almond Crescents, simple and elegant under their snowy dusting of powdered sugar.  Brilliantly decorated by my daughters, the Gingerbread Cookies infuse the air with the spicy scent of Christmas that we expect.  And, of course, an abundance of the one and only Chocolate Chip Cookies, which I made with an assortment of chips and flavorings, from milk chocolate to mint to white to butterscotch.  Welcome to my Christmas dessert celebration, my friends.  May your Christmas be kind and serene, may love surround you, may you feel its exhilarating embrace. Buon Natale a tutti!

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