Mary and Bill Wedding Photo

From the perfect cake to biscotti-mania

I’ve been baking in some form or another ever since I was big enough to wield a rolling pin. Between my mother, grandmothers, and aunts, I was forever surrounded by dedicated bakers whipping up batches of delectable treats for every holiday; or as a way to pass on their multi-generational Italian-American baking knowhow. When I got married and started a family of my own, I initially focused my energy on baking the perfect cake. (Oh, and raising four kids.) I eventually managed to develop a respectable repertoire of cakes, but one day a random inspiration launched me on a quest to create the perfect biscotti. Blame it on biscotti, I guess; it rekindled my interest in baking cookies and sparked a passion that burns fiercely to this day. Each time I bake it brings back all those cherished, flour-covered days learning the ropes from beloved family members.

Cranberry Biscotti

A cookie quest

Over the years, I’ve passed in and out of many cooking obsessions, but that initial biscotti quest really kicked my baking journey into full gear. I began by reading a bunch of recipes to get a sense of the basics, but it wasn’t long before I was experimenting and trying to create a wide range of varieties with my own twist. Between these new creations and my family’s formidable trove of cookie treasures, I went from creating a simple gift box with a dozen different cookies in it, to a tower of three tins containing a total of forty different types of cookie, for a grand total of around 5,000 cookies in 2019.

All the recipes in one place

Why so many? Because every time I leaf through the family cookie recipes, I’m reminded of so many treasured people, places, and occasions that fill my heart with gratitude. And indeed, what began as an effort to preserve the family cache of recipes and stories, blossomed into a new tradition of sharing these cookies to build and cement bonds with friends and family members, old and new. It was this spirit that ultimately led my daughters and friends to urge me to collect all my work over the years and publish my own cookbook. This year, after many starts and stops, I am doing it! A Gift of Cookies: Recipes to Share with Family & Friends is being printed as I write, and by October 2020, it will be available for my friends, family, and maybe even you!