Tag Archives: Italian cookies

Top 10 Foods to Get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival

This list of top 10 foods to get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy is the definitive guide to the traditional foods eaten by Italian Americans.

1. If you try nothing else at the San Gennaro festival, you have to try cannoli.

La Bella Ferrara cannoli

Where to get cannoli:  the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

2. Sausage and peppers sandwiches–When Italians go to festivals, this is what they get.

Where to get sausage and peppers–at a stand.

3.  Zeppole are fried dough balls in powdered sugar–a staple of Italian festivals.

Where to get zeppole–at a stand.

4.  Clams

Where to get clams–at a stand, Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry.

5.  Pizza/calzones

Where to get pizza/calzones–Sal’s on Broome Street (the fried calzone is to die for!), the first pizzeria in America–Lombardi’s on Spring Street.

6.  Torrone–Italian nutty nougat confection

Where to get torrone–at a stand or at Ferrara on Grand.

7.  Italian cookies

Where to get Italian cookies–the legendary Ferrara on Grand, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, at a stand.

8.  Gelato

Where to get gelato–Ferrara on Grand, Caffe Roma on Broome, Mo on Mulberry.

9.  Pasta

Where to get pasta–Puglia on Hester, Vincent’s on Hester/Mott, Angelo’s of Mulberry Street, Benito One on Mulberry.

10. Italian pastries

Where to get Italian pastries–the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com

***All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.***


Italian Sesame Cookies

Enter the GIVEAWAY in honor of my 1000th post! The deadline has been extended until Dec. 15.


Traditionally, these cookies are shaped into fingers, but I made them like you see in the picture.

Italian Sesame Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 sticks butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 jar sesame seeds (about 2.5 ounces)


Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Sift flour and baking powder.  Add to butter mixture.  Mix until a dough forms.  Roll into balls or finger shapes.  Dip in milk and then roll in seeds.  If rolling into balls, flatten with palm of your hand or a glass.  Bake on greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Struffoli, Italian Honey Balls

Even more than bows, my favorite Italian cookies at Christmas are struffoli.  I love these!  My parents and grandparents grew up making these wonderful honey balls.  I’ve written about them before in the Traditional Neapolitan Treats post.


My grandmas labored over these and bows, kneading dough by hand.  Today, with my trusty KitchenAid mixer, kneading dough is really easy!  So making more batches of these is not tiring.  They are easy to make.  Just roll out the dough, cut it into strips and roll them between your hands.


Then, cut bite-size pieces.


When the oil is hot enough in the fryer, fry them until golden and let them drain on paper towels.  Then you make the honey syrup and coat them.


If you don’t want to make them, I have had them at various bakeries in Little Italy.  Last year, I found delicious dense ones at Buon Italia in Chelsea Market.