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The Best Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe
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Castagnelle | The Best Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe

Castagnelle are indeed the best Christmas cookies from Apulia: such a magic, fragrant blend of almonds, citrus fruit zests and spices.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 60 cookies
Author: Adriana Z.



  • Toast the almonds in a pan or for 10 minutes in a 180°C (350°F) preheated oven. Allow the almonds to cool down completely.
  • Roughly chop the almonds in a food processor or with a knife.
  • In a bowl sieve flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add sugar, lemon and orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla and white pepper and mix well.
  • Add almonds and water.
  • Work the dough until it comes together.
  • Roll segments of dough into sausages, flat each sausage to a 4-5mm thickness and cut the cookies into diamonds with a sharp knife.
  • Arrange onto a tray covered with baking paper or silicon matt and bake for 15-20 minutes.


Cookies need to be still a bit soft when baked. They will firm up once they've cooled down onto a cooling rack.