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Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray: A Cookbook Paperback – July 15, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Growing up in a close-knit, Italian American family, Maria Bruscino Sanchez was surrounded by tradition: food, customs, and celebrations from the "old country" were lovingly observed, and if the original meaning was sometimes hidden beneath the patina of a new culture, the respect and desire to stay connected to the past remained. As an adult, Sanchez turned family tradition into her livelihood, opening Sweet Maria's bakery in Waterbury, Connecticut, where she re-created the cakes and cookies of her youth--but with a distinctly American twist. With Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray, Sanchez offers her culinary treasures to an even wider audience; recipes range from drop and molded cookies to filled ones, biscotti and biscuits, taralle and pizelles, and many more. Cookie lovers will find plenty to devour in this compilation of Italian American favorites.

From Booklist

A few years ago, only a handful of Americans appreciated Italian cookies beyond the familiar amaretti. An explosion of interest in Italian cooking has changed all that, and biscotti and pizelles now appear in restaurants and bakeries from coast to coast. Sanchez, bakery owner from Waterbury, Connecticut, has built a business based on production of Italian cookies, and she now shares her recipes. Some Italian cookies, such as nut-studded biscotti, require special techniques, being twice baked (the literal meaning of biscotto). Others, including bar and drop cookies, more directly recall typical American cookies. Frizzelle, spiked with both fennel seeds and a prodigious quantity of black pepper, add a new dimension to the cookie baker's art. Sanchez's precise directions ensure consistent results in the home kitchen, but not all her required ingredients may be readily available in areas lacking Italian markets. Mark Knoblauch
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (July 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312156707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312156701
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. B. Taylor on October 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Having grown up in Connecticut amid its wonderful Italian bakeries, I was thrilled to find this cookbook. The fact that the author owns an Italian bakery in Waterbury was enough of a recommendation for me. So far, I have made seven of the cookie recipes, and have enjoyed them all. The only problem I had was running out of pine nuts for the Pignoli cookies. I'll buy twice as many, next time!
One reviewer complained about the lack of photos in the book, so I am posting my own.
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I was thrilled to find this book. There's something special about an Italian cookie bakery with the variety of designs and flavors. I tried four recipes. Two were good but were similar to recipes I already had: Coconut Macaroons and Anise cookies. The other two were failures: the Florentines were so thin that they separated from the almonds and the Sesame cookies were inedibly bitter. Many of the recipes use the same base ingredients which makes for easy preparation but somewhat redundant taste. I wished for the more elaborate cookies. My biggest issue was the lack of photos for visual guidance. Also appearance is a huge part of Italian cookies. I'm sure that the absence of photos kept the cost of printing down but it was a false economy. I will try more recipes in this book but will also look for others with more instruction.
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THIS BOOK WAS ONE OF THE EASIEST BAKING COOKBOOKS THAT I'VE EVER COME ACROSS. IT WAS VERY SIMPLISTIC. I TRIED ALMOST EVERY RECIPE IN THE BOOK AND WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THE RESULTS AS WAS MY STEP-FATHER WHO IS FROM ITALY. THE BISCOTTI WAS THE BEST!!!!!
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These recipes are for cookies just like my Itlain grandmother use to make. They are authentic, accurate, and great.
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Well written, nice selection of traditional Italian cookies, just what I was looking for. So far, I've made the biscotti and the sesame cookies and both were delicious.

My only complaint is that the ingredients list is printed in a tiny font that is very hard to read and makes it easy to make a mistake on measuring - so read the measurements carefully. If not for that I'd have given it 5 stars.
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This is probably the best and most frequently used cookie cookbook in my collection. The recipes are authentic Italian style cookies similar to what you would find in a good Italian bakery or coming out of grandma's oven. Maria gives interesting little anecdotes with almost every cookie recipe. I have tried almost every cookie in the book and have not been disappointed yet. With the holidays approaching, this is definitely a cookbook worth owning.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic cookbook. I am Italian and did not write down all the recipes I should have and have been looking for a simple book. I read all the reviews and the biggest objection is the lack of pictures. Well I appreciate the price of the book and believe pictures would push it up. If the cookie looks fine to you and your family then rejoice. I have other books that put extra gourmet ingredients that do not improve the taste enough to warrant their infusion. One cookie we always baked at Christmas is the Cherry x-mas cookie. We have added other ingredients to make them even more festive such as chocolate chips, pineapple chunks and cocoanut. Love this book!
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I was very excited to get baking once I got this book. It includes a nice variety of cookies. I think it would a helpful aid if pictures were included. For example, the Almond Crescents recipe calls for the dough to be shaped like a horseshoe - not quite a crescent. I was just curious what's the author's cookie looked like.
I do think the recipes are wonderful and can easily be adapted for your personal taste. I think this book will make a delightful addition to any baker's repertoire.
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