Cookies, Dessert, Gluten-free

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

Nicoletta December 20, 2017

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Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci), a delicious gluten-free cookie, typical of the holidays, made with just four ingredients and a dusting of icing sugar. Quick and easy to make, you just can’t stop eating them!

Song of the day: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci), respect the typical Italian tradition of having nuts and nut-based cookies for the holidays. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

 

 

On our Italian table, during the holidays, there was always a tray filled with nuts: hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds, and sometimes Brazilian nuts. And I’m not talking candied, sugary, savory, or spiced nuts, but nuts in their natural form, still in their shell, and with one nutcracker provided. Usually, you would see my father or one of my uncles doing the hard job of cracking open the nuts, and passing them here and there while all the family around the table would be busy and concentrated playing cards, or better, the beloved Tombola, a game similar to Bingo. Together with the nuts, there would always be mandarins and clementines.

If you’re not familiar with Tombola, I’ll explain to you briefly how it works. You have a tabellone, or cartellone, that can be translated as billboard, and contains numbers from 1 to 90; numbered cards, each one containing blank squares and random numbers, arranged in three rows, each containing five numbers; 90 wooden or plastic “tombolini” with numbers from 1 to 90, which are kept in a container, usually a cloth sack. Players buy the cards, and one of the players buy the cartellone. The money is divided into five prizes, from lowest to highest, with tombola being the jackpot: “ambo“, two numbers on the same row, “terno“, three numbers on the same row,  “quaterna“, four numbers on the same row, “cinquina“, five numbers on the same row, “tombola“, all numbers on the card, bingo! The one who has the cartellone takes the numbers out of the sack, one at a time, calling them loudly, and placing them on their box in the cartellone, and leaving time to the players to mark the number on their card. All the relatives, from grandparents to children, shouting when they win a prize. For more color in the game, each number has also a nickname, like “47 morto che parla” or “77 gambe delle vecchie” (47 dead man talking, or 77 old women’s legs), sometimes they would only use the nickname and  you had to know what the number was, or beg they told you. So much fun, and laughs and loud voices! Modern tombola cards are in plastic and have on the numbers small plastic slots that can be closed down when the number is called, but traditionally they were made of cardboard and “closed” by beans, or pieces of mandarin peel, or nut shells, that you kept eating while playing. My family’s preferred way.

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

Those memories are so imprinted in me, that they are able to bring a grin to my face and a warmth in my heart, while the laughter and the loudness, still echo in my ears.

You might be wondering where are all the Holiday sweets in all this? Well, definitely there were sweets: Stella di Pandoro and Panettone, Torrone, the Struffoli my aunt would make, some cookies, mostly nut based, like the “Brutti ma Buoni, or these Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci), as well as a profusion of dried fruits: dates, nut stuffed figs, chocolate covered figs, “mosciarelle” (dried, soft chestnuts), and the nuts, of course. But not as many cookies and sweets as you see here.

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

Since those were busy times of prepping and cooking, these Soft Walnut Cookies helped reduce the time you spent in the kitchen, while still delivering the most delectable treat. They are made with only four ingredients, well five, if you count the icing sugar you sprinkle on top before baking them. The overall time needed is less than half an hour, you cannot beat that!

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

The beaten egg white and sugar deliver a soft and cloudy texture, similar to a macaroon, while the walnuts provide the crunch and the wonderful nutty flavor, just mitigated by the pure vanilla extract. I used, as I often do, coconut sugar which gives a nice darker color and a lovely, “caramelly” flavor.

These are the type of cookies that you can bend and watch as it slowly comes apart. The texture going in is a celebration of soft chewy meets an incredible awakening nutty crunch. The blends just melt in your mouth leaving you with flavors of walnut, caramel, a touch of vanilla finishing with a warm fuzzy festive feeling of Christmas, especially for us Italians.

Want to bring a little Italian into your Christmas celebration? Now you can, with these Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi Alle Noci)!

Buone Feste! Happy Holidays!

Song of the day: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé

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Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: about 18 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci), a delicious gluten-free cookie, typical of the holidays, made with just four ingredients and a dusting of icing sugar. Quick and easy to make, you just can’t stop eating them!


Ingredients

  • 1 large egg white, organic, free range
  • 100 g coconut sugar or raw cane sugar
  • 230 g walnuts, ground
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Grind the walnuts in a blender. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 340° F (170° C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or the Cookina reusable baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl beat the egg white with a hand blender until soft peaks are obtained.
  4. Add the sugar and keep beating at medium/low speed.
  5. Add the ground walnuts, the vanilla extract, and mix with a spatula until combined.
  6. Roll little balls of dough between your hands, that are about 20 grams each (use a scale or just eye-ball it).
  7. Line them on the prepared baking sheet, press the top gently with your index and medium fingers, sprinkle icing sugar on top.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden. Do not overbake or they tend to harden.
  9. Let them cool a bit on the baking sheet, then cool completely on a rack.

Notes

These cookies stay soft for a couple of days, then they tend to harden, but are still very good. Store them in an airtight container to keep them moist. We usually do not freeze cookies so I don’t know how they freeze.

Soft Walnut Cookies (Biscotti Morbidi alle Noci)

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10 Comments

  • Reply Milena | Craft Beering December 20, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I waited for so long for you to post this recipe! Making today. Pinned!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Thank you, Milena, sorry it took so long 🙂 . Hope you like them and find the recipe easy to follow. The baking time may vary, just check them, they don’t have to be too brown. Let us know!

  • Reply Nicole December 20, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I remember seeing you post these on Instagram a while back and was really looking forward to this post! I’ll definitely be making these!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 20, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Yes! I posted the picture some time ago 😉 . Hope you make them and let us know. Thank you so much!!

  • Reply Charlotte December 20, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I always have walnuts lying around so I love stumbling upon recipes that allow me to use them! These cookies look so scrumptious I can’t wait to try them!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 20, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Walnuts are so good for you, me too, I always have some in a jar. Thank you!!

  • Reply Denise from Urb'n'Spice December 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I love hearing about your gatherings – they remind me very much of our French Canadian celebrations and time spent having fun playing Skaboo, good food and much laughter. I look forward to trying your recipe for Biscotti Morbidi Alle Noci – they seem similar to another favourite Italian cookie that I love to make called Ricciarelli, right? Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 20, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Thank you, Denise! Ricciarelli have almonds and almond extract, a bit of baking powder and a lot of icing sugar on the top, but yes! They’re all very similar and like I said, we love our nut-based cookies for the holidays 🙂 . Happy Holidays to you and your family, and thanks a lot for your always felt comments!

  • Reply maria December 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Lovely recipe and wonderful post. Still to this day, we still play tombola on Christmas Eve, young and old. Just like you, there are always clementines (and nuts) on the table. I agree, these usually come in handy as we often use the peel as markers… thanks for sharing ♥♥♥

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 22, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Thank you, Maria! I am so glad you kept the Tombola tradition, as well as eating nuts and mandarins! I was so surprised when I first arrived here that Loreto’s family had lost almost all of the Italian traditions, but he told me that they wanted to integrate so badly in the new country…too bad.

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