🎄 Christmas Baking, Italian style



As a Christmas baby I have always enjoyed two celebrations this time of year.  I  looked forward to my mother’s holiday baking and her homemade Pita Piata. This pastry is a traditional, Italian cake which is popular in Calabria and may have originated from that area. Calabria is a region in southern Italy and was home to both my parents prior to immigration. The Pita Piata has a cinnamon, raisin and nut filling topped with a drizzle of honey. The preparation of this dessert is truly a labour of love as it can take up to 3 hours to make. Each step reminds me of my cultural roots and family traditions. Mostly, it reminds me of my mother who always found time to make my birthday special in her own loving way.  To all of you reading this may your holiday celebrations, whatever they may be, bring you joy and remind you of what really matters in life— 💕💕💕



This recipe is dedicated to all those things in life that just seem to go together. Like ice cream on a warm summer night or chocolate and caramel. Of course biscotti and coffee is certainly one of my favourites, having that perfect blend of sweetness and crunch. There are many biscotti variations but the classic biscotti with almonds is timeless.

PREP TIME: 15 min

BAKING TIME:  40 min @ 350 degrees F


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of almonds,  unblanched and chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 Tsp almond extract
  • rind of one large orange, grated


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder and stir together.
  2. Add almonds to food processor and use pulsating feature to coarsely chop up nuts.
  3. Add nuts to flour mixture, coat with flour and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, add 2 eggs, sugar, melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, orange rind and mix together.
  5. Slowly add liquid mixture to flour and incorporate until a dough forms.
  6. Lightly flour your working area. Divide dough  into two even pieces. Then form each portion into two long logs, ensuring that it is consistently a good 2 inches in width. Flatten out the top of the log a little with your fingers.
  7. Place both logs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and make sure the logs don’t touch each other.
  8. Brush top of logs with egg white and then bake in oven for approx. 20 min, rotating baking sheet.
  9. After first bake, remove baking sheets from oven and let sit on countertop for a few minutes so they will be easier to cut. Then use a serrated knife to cut  biscotti pieces on a diagonal. You can vary your cuts depending on the thickness and length of biscotti you want.
  10. Return cut biscotti pieces to cookie sheet, but make sure the biscotti pieces are upright and apart from one another.
  11. Bake again* for another 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


*Did  you know that biscotti means ‘twice cooked’ ?

Store in an airtight container and they should keep for a couple of weeks or so.


🍐 Mangia!

Best Ever 😋 Apple Streusel Muffins


I hope you believe me when I tell you that these muffins are really, really good. No need for a big cake muffin when you have one of these apple and cinnamon treats. Add a cup of coffee ☕️ and you are ready to start your day. If your household is like mine (where anything good doesn’t last the day), be quick to grab or hide one.

PREP: 50 min

BAKE: 5 min @ 450 degrees, 12 min at 400.


  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup golden yellow Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp Walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, melted


  • 3 Apples, peeled, chopped & 🍎 *precooked
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 Walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven, prepare muffin tins with wrappers, chop your apples and cook in saucepan for 12 min (see below) 🍎.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together your streudel topping which includes your flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and walnuts. Add melted butter and form crumb like mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Add butter to flour mixture and blend it in with your thumb and fingers until mixture has course texture. Toss in Apple and walnut pieces.
  4. Mix together eggs and buttermilk and then gradually add to flour mixture. DO NOT OVER MIX.
  5. Add batter (heaping 1/4 cup) to muffin tin.
  6. Top with streusel mixture, generously covering tops and then bake in oven till lightly browned.

TIP:  🍎  An extra step worth completing is to cook your chopped apple pieces in 1 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp brown sugar on medium heat for about 12 min or until Apples are soft.

🍐 MANGIA! (12 muffins)