Share Your MOMent: Cookies and Cannoli

April 26th, 2016 by Carmella Markett

In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked Wilton employees to share some special memories and stories. For many of us, our moms – or someone who is like a mom to us – piqued our interest in baking. Who did you learn from? What special memories do you have? Or, are you a mom who enjoys baking with her kids? In this series, we will feature a different story each day. We hope you enjoy reading the stories of those who chose to share their MOMent!

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My mother was born and raised in Sicily, Italy.  She came to the United States when she was 16 years old and lived with her uncle’s family for 10 years.

Carmella MarkettHer own mother died when my mom was just 20 months old.  She was raised by her grandparents because her father was in the military.  I believe that because she never knew a real mother’s love, she became the best mother ever.  She and my dad had six children, five girls and finally a boy!

I am the second oldest daughter.  I love to cook and bake and attribute those qualities to my mother because she always encouraged us to help in the kitchen.   She never complained if we made a mess and always had the patience to help when a recipe became a big challenge.  I can remember wanting to make homemade cannoli.  She helped me with the recipe, and even sawed a wooden broomstick into pieces so that I could use them to form the shell!  She stood by the hot oil while I  very excitedly fried the shells and praised them when I had them finished. I still make them, but now use the aluminum forms.

She was an expert cook and an amazing baker, and I want to share her recipes for some of her cookies and my recipe for cannoli. There are no pictures of the amazing cookie trays she always made for showers, weddings and christenings, but the recipes bring me some happy memories of my mom. My mother passed away at the age of 91 in 2004.  She will always be missed.

 Italian Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:
6 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cloves
2 very full cups of shortening
4 beaten eggs
1 cup cooled, strong coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
Grated rind of 1 orange

Instructions: Mix and sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening and work with fingers until all is mixed. Add eggs, liquids, nuts and rind. Roll into balls and bake on ungreased cookies sheets at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. They will appear soft, but do not overbake. As they cool, they will set. Pour a thin white icing with vanilla flavoring over all in a large pan. Store in an airtight container. Makes 10 dozen cookies.

Grandma’s Cookies

Ingredients:
1 dozen eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 pound butter and margerine (mixed)
2 1/2 cups sugar
12 teaspoons baking powder
12 cups flour (enough to hold dough together)

Instructions: Shape into desired style. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the time closely.

Carm’s Cannoli

Shell
Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon shortening (Crisco or other)
1/4 cup white wine

Instructions: Sift flour and sugar, cut in shortening and add wine. Pinch off a piece of dough and roll, very thin into a circle. Wrap each circle around an aluminum form, put a little beaten egg or milk on the edge to seal and prevent unfolding.

Fry in hot oil until light brown. Turn as needed. When done, remove to paper towels and drain a few minutes. Use oven mitts on hands to remove the shell from the form. Makes approximately 18 shells.

Filling
Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds ricotta
1 1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, ground or use 1/2 cup mini chips
1 1/4 cup sugar
Finely ground nuts

Instructions: Bring milk to a boil over a slow flame, mix in cornstarch and sugar combined, cook until thick. Add vanilla and stir in. Cool thoroughly! Beat ricotta until creamy, add cornstarch custard, and chocolate chips. Beat until fluffy. Fill shells from both ends, dip in ground nuts and sprinkle with powdered sugar. If filling seems “runny”, add a little instant vanilla pudding powder to it.

Carmella Markett Carmella has been with Wilton for 34 years. She is a Senior Inside Sales Representative who loves exchanging ideas with her customers across the country. She loves to cook and bake and has collected recipes from co-workers for the entire 34 years she has been here. She has a huge book at her desk that has treasured recipes from many employees who brought in treats for various occasions. She was raised in a large Italian family with traditions and recipes that are priceless. When she is not in her kitchen, she loves attending athletic events when one of her 5 grandsons are participating. She also is involved in helping at Ronald McDonald House in Maywood, IL.

5 Replies

  1. Tom Markett says:

    This was written by the best mom ever, my mom. She was not wrong in saying those things about her mom as she was the greatest Nana anyone could’ve ever asked for and is missed everyday.

  2. Kelly bodie says:

    I have yet to try the recipes but they sound delicious. I have known Carm for about 25 years and my mom has known Carm for about 30. She is the best sales rep a store could ask for, and an amazing person!

  3. Sandy says:

    Whenever anyone of Carm’s accounts takes classes at the Wilton School they always ask for her endearingly by name, as a personal friend. She treats every account she has as if they were one of her son’s or grandson’s. She is truly an icon in Customer Service, a real champion of Wilton!

  4. Rosemary Anderson says:

    I’m Carm’s sister. Carm is less than 13 months older than I am, so because of me, she wasn’t able to be a baby for very long. I know she is a wonderful rep for Wilton and I couldn’t imagine another company that would be a better fit for her. Our mother was a wonderful cook and Carm is just like her. We learned to live in our kitchens from her. In my opinion, Carm is more like Mom than the rest of her siblings are. When she can’t sleep or gets up early, she is in her kitchen baking something or making a pot of soup for someone. When we make a sweet table for a bridal or wedding shower, she always has the most to contribute. When we have a family occasion where everybody “brings something”, her car trunk is always full of appetizers, side dishes and desserts. Some of the best recipes I have came from her. She loves her family above all else, and I am so blessed to part of that family.

  5. Francine Serpico Vienne says:

    I am Carm’s sister and the fourth daughter, born 16 months after Rosemary. None of us were babies very long! There was so much love in our family from our parents and for each other that it didn’t matter how long we were the youngest. I affirm everything that my sisters said about our mother and what Ro said about Carm. Since I could remember, we have shared recipes and the joys of cooking and baking. I hope that all mothers can be remembered as we remember our mother…with love and respect and with gratitude. The wonderful smells of cooking and baking woke us up some mornings. We remember the meals and treats that were made in mom’s kitchen with few ingredients and few spices and loaded with flavor and lots of love. Carm has a heart of gold is a great sister(and aunt to our kids) and Wilton has been a great fit for her for so many years. She loves going to work and what she does…and she does it so well. All of the family loves and uses the Wilton products…thanks to Carm!

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