Christmas desserts have a leading role during Christmastime. Here too, each region has its own traditional recipes, different for type, taste, shape and color.
Christmas Cakes: among Christmas “cakes”, no doubt, the most popular are Pandoro and Panettone that, even if they were originally created, respectively, in Verona and Milan, represent Christmas desserts all over Italy. Pandoro is for simplicity-lovers, as beyond the base dough it just have some icing sugar on the top. Panettone, on the contrary, may contain chocolate, candied fruit, dried fruit, etc.
Beside those, you can also find Panforte in Siena, Parrozzo in Pescara, Pandolce in Genova, and so on.
Christmas Fried Desserts: among Christmas fried desserts, the best-known are Neapoletan struffoli, small balls of doug, deep-fried and covered with hot honey and sprinkles.
Christmas Cookies: in this category I must definitely mention rococo cookies, still from Naples. They are doughnut-shaped cookies with almonds, candied fruit and spices. Their main characteristic, besides the unique taste, is that they are very hard cookies.
In Naples you can also find Mustacciuoli, Susamielli and Divin amore. But you can find traditional Christmas cookies in other regions too, like cantucci and ricciarelli, but also nougat and almond brittle.
Christmas Desserts Around the World
As per Christmas desserts outside Italy, among the best-known:
Yule Log: or bûche de Noël, is a typical French dessert, cylindrical-shaped, with chocolate stuffing and icing, resembling like a chopped off branch.
Gingerbread Men: symbol of all Christmas cookies, especially popular in Anglo-Saxon countries, in North America and Northern Europe, they are cookies spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc., simple or with sugar iceng decoration. Sometimes, they are also used as a decoration for Christmas tree.
Lebkuchen: a traditional German Christmas dessert, also spread throughout Alto Adige. There are many variants, but the most common is with dried fruit, candied fruit, marzipan and spices.
Linzer Torte: an Austrian desserts, with a shortpastry base flavored with cinnamon, vanilla and lemon zest, and a stuffing of redcurrent jam.
Vanillekipferl: Austrian almond and vanilla cookies, widespread in Germany too.
Zelten: quite common in Trentino, but in Germany too, it is made with cinnamon and dried fruit, but there are many variants according to the area of production.