It's not actually just one cookie that the website Delish could settle on. They recently put out their list of each U.S. state's iconic holiday cookie, and for New Jersey, it seems with so many delicious choices and so many great Italian bakeries, they just went with Italian bakery specialty cookies that not everyone makes at home.
They mentioned the pignoli, biscotti, armaretti and rainbow cookie.
My mother and grandmother didn't make any of those cookies. They didn't have fancy bakery recipes. They had stuff handed down over generations from the old country.
Mom and grandma made struffoli, little fried balls of dough covered in honey and nonpareils. They also made what they called "butter balls," also known as Russian tea cakes. Amazing little balls of butter and dough covered with powdered sugar.
My favorite, and not found many places, is something called cucidati, which we just called Italian Fig Cookies. It was my grandmother's specialty.
I've tried replicating them a few times, but what I would give to have one of hers now.
The list of iconic cookies in each state is pretty cool and very American in most places, as it should be. Some are boring like Massachusetts and New Hampshire which have chocolate chip cookies, which are great ... but have some imagination New England!
If you're looking to add something new to your holiday cookie repertoire, check out Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina and a real old-school one from the good old state of Maine. Whatever your traditional recipe or go to bakery this time of year, enjoy!
Picking a favorite Christmas cookie seems like a nearly impossible task, we know. But somehow, every state in the U.S. has managed to show an allegiance to a specific type of holiday sweet.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis Malloy's own.