Grandma’s Italian Sugar Cookie Recipe

Christmas Eve dessert would not be complete without these flavorful, moist cookies.  Grandma Veno and my Mother faithfully rolled out these family favorites year after year.   Mom became my culinary teacher and we continued this baking tradition.  Now I enjoy creating these treats with my kids.

  Anna Veno’s Sugar Cookies

5 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 c. melted shortening

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 beaten eggs

1 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 – 2 tsp almond extract

1/8 tsp. of salt

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt shortening on stove or in microwave.  Remove and cool.  When completely cooled beat in sugar.  Mix dry ingredients in a separate large bowl.  Alternate dry ingredients with buttermilk, then mix thoroughly.  Roll dough on to clean floured surface.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. (1/8 of an inch thick) Decorate cooled cookies with buttercream icing and sprinkles.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Makes three dozen cookies.   Buon Natale!

Quick Buttercream Icing

3 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar

1 stick of butter

1 tsp vanilla

4-1/2 Tbsp milk

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl until well blended.

Christmas Eve Baccala Recipe

What is  Baccala?  It means,”salted cod” in Italian. Baccala is one of the dishes featured in the famous,”Feast of the Seven Fishes”.  Baccala is a popular fish cooked on Christmas Eve by Italians, especially those who originated from Calabria, located in Southern Italy.

My grandparents, Luigi and Anna hailed from different parts of ,”The Boot”.  Gramps home town was Calabria and his wife grew up in Naples.    Luigi made some serious  baccala.   Memories come forth, of him hand mincing three large chunks of garlic for this recipe.  Three ingredients and twenty minutes later, a family tradition comes to life.


Luigi Venos’ Baccala


1-2 lbs of cod-fish

1/4 cup of olive or vegetable oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

Soak fish in cold water over night in the refrigerator.  (Some opt for 1-2 days. This will help rinse out some of the salty taste.)  Steam, boil or broil fish for 12 – 15 minutes.  Mix cooked fish, oil and garlic.  Serve hot or cold.  Mangia!  BUON NATALE!!!