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!
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.
Her 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
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.
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.
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.
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.