Christmas in our family involves very special Italian cookie recipes that have been handed down by my grandmothers to their children and grandchildren. Our tradition is to begin baking after Thanksgiving and storing the cookies in various decorative tins, and then presenting them as gifts to family members, friends, and neighbors. I set up a special table in my dining room called the Christmas Table. I cover it with a red or green tablecloth and lay a white crocheted tablecloth, which was my mother's, over it. On the table, I place decorative Christmas plates and the cookie filled tins, along with various snacks like nuts and dried fruits, and finish it with an assortment of decorations such as little Christmas trees and candles.
This particular recipe, which I only make at Christmas time, is a must every year because of its unique ingredients, one of which is black pepper!! The cookies are luscious with chocolate powder, chocolate chips, and cinnamon. I am presenting just half of the recipe which, by itself, makes at least 5 dozen cookies. They last in airtight containers for several weeks but also freeze well and are so easy to make. I hope the readers will treat their loved ones and friends to them and start a new Christmas tradition within their families. BUON NATALE ( MERRY CHRISTMAS) everyone!!