October 30 2007 Newsletter

October 30, 2007  CookiesItalian.com  NEWSLETTER

Come sta?
In the Catholic tradition November begins with the celebrations of All Saints on Nov. 1st and the commemoration of all the faithful departed (All Souls) on the 2nd. It's the month we are called to remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest. Last night, as I was preparing for the celebration of mass on All Souls Day, I started thinking about all my friends and family members who have gone to live with God. A memory of another November celebration, Thanksgiving Day, popped into my head.

It was several hours before the big dinner when I arrived at my sister's home. My little niece, Karen, was sobbing and crying because the button nose on her teddy bear had just fallen off. For her, a great and painful tragedy judging from the way she was carrying on. No one was paying much attention to her problem. My sister had bigger things on her mind - like preparing for all the guests that would soon be arriving. I'm sure she thought, that in the big picture of life, Karen's teddy bear's nose just wasn't such a big deal.

But it was a big deal for Karen. She had a much smaller picture of life and this problem right now was causing her a lot of hurt. It was very difficult for her to wipe away her tears and trust her mom who told her everything would be ok and the teddy bear could be fixed - just be patient.

I wonder if that's the way it is with God and us. God sees the big picture of what life's really all about. We have a much more limited view and get hurt by the losses and painful experiences in our lives. When something hurts that bad it's hard to trust in the lessons of the Bible and the Church that tell us God loves us and cares for us. God sees the big picture, we don't. He loves us - trust in that love and the pain will eventually be converted to peace. Think about it and pray about it.

God's Blessings,  Fr. Mike

The contest has ended - BUT I'm still trying all the recipes. I know it's a "sweet" job but someone has to do it! I will announced the winner in the next newsletter I promise - and I'll give you the winning recipe. What a deal!


Click HERE to see the Italian Wedding Traditions and Wedding Cookie page or go to http://www.cookiesitalian.com/ home page and click on the pages listed on the left. Click HERE to order Traditional Italian Cookies. Click HERE to order Italian Gourmet Cookies.


Italian Hazelnut Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Here's  a great tasting cookie that combines several traditional Italian flavors - espresso, chocolate and hazelnut. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

2  cups all-purpose flour
1  cup (packed) brown sugar
3  tablespoons cornstarch
1  tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
¾  teaspoon salt
1  cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3  cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped
2  tablespoons hot water
2  ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

+ Preheat oven to 350 F - Blend flour, brown sugar, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon espresso powder and salt in processor.

+ Add butter and vanilla. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add nuts; blend until finely chopped. Transfer dough to floured work surface. Knead just until dough comes together.

+ Divide dough in half. Press each half into a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. (You need two tart pans or bake one at a time)

+ Bake until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer shortbread pan to rack; cool 2 minutes. Remove pan sides. Cut each shortbread round into 12 or 16 wedges. Cool completely

+ Mix 2 tablespoons hot water and remaining 1 teaspoon espresso powder in small saucepan. Add chocolate. Stir over low heat until chocolate is smooth.

+ Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over cookies. Let stand until chocolate sets.  (Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month).


Saints, angels, God, Jesus, and Mary are frequently invoked by Italians in their everyday speech. Such expressions are not signs of disrespect, but are part of common speech patterns. They are generally used to add emphasis to what one is saying.

Expressions invoking God and the saints will vary from region to region. While a Neapolitan will say San Gennaro, pensaci tu! (Saint Janarius, take care of us!), a Sicilian may repeat Gesu`, Giuseppe, e Maria! (Jesus, Joseph and Mary) or Bedda Madre! (Blessed Mother!).

Dio sia ringraziato or Grazie a Dio (Thanks be to God) and Dio sia lodato (God be praised) are used to express gratitude and thankfulness.

In nome di Dio (in God's name) or Per l'amor di Dio (for the love of God) gives more force to a prayer or a request.

Se Dio vuole! Dio piacendo! Faccia Dio! Come Dio vuole! (God willing! As God wills!) expresses hope or resignation.

Dio ti assista (May God assist you), Dio sia con te (May God be with you), Dio ti guardi (May God keep you) are expressions of goodwill.

Dio ce la mandi buona, Dio ce ne guardi, Dio non voglia (God forbid) may even exorcize evil spirits.

O Dio! (O God) and Dio mio! (My God) are common forms of invocation.

To express impatience, surprise, disappointment, anger, happiness, and other strong emotions, you will hear the following: Dio, che confusione! (Oh God, what confusion!); Dio buono! (Good God!); per Dio! (For God's sake!); Dio santo! (For God's sake!); santo Iddio! (Holy God!); Dio, che gioia! (God, what joy!); Dio, che pena! (God, what a pain!); Gesu`, come ti trovo cambiata! (Jesus, how it's changed!); Gesu`, che spavento! (Jesus, what a scare!); Non c'e` Cristo, non ci sono cristi indicates that there isn't any possibility to achieve a certain goal.

Body language, voice intonation, and pitch variations accompany the use of these expressions to heighten their communicative effect.


Have a story about your Italian family? Send it to me and I will post it. mike@cookiesitalian.com  Click HERE to send your story Till next time - have happy days.

Thanks much for your interest in Italian cookies and Italian traditions. Come visit us soon or send a note. (Mike@CookiesItalian.com) or click on this link to go to our home page http://www.cookiesitalian.com/ 

Arrivederci  -  Dio ti benedica
Rev. Fr. Mike