These were a specialty of my late great-aunt, Elvira Pescatore Basile, who made them every Christmas.

Makes about 96 cookies


4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter or 1/2 pound lard
4 large eggs


3 cups unblanched almonds
1 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Toasted sliced almonds

3 or 4 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover 3 or 4 cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. For the dough, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor; pulse to mix. Cut butter into 12 pieces and add, then pulse to mix in finely. Add eggs and pulse until dough forms a ball. Remove from bowl, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
  3. For filling, grind almonds in food processor then add honey and cinnamon. If mixture is very firm, add a tablespoon or two of water.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll each into a 12-inch square. Cut dough into 8 strips, each 1 1/2 by 12 inches. Spread filling down center of each strip, then fold strip up to contain filling. Cut into 4-inch lengths and twist once or twice.
  5. Bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until pale golden. Cool.
  6. Before serving, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with almonds.