Get Inspired by Martha's Italian Cookie Bar
A table full of beautiful cookies is always a good idea.
Need a show-stopping dessert for your next dinner party? Try a cookie bar! Everything can be made in advance, and it's so easy to set up. Pick a theme and bake a couple different types of cookies (Martha went with classic Italian on "Martha Bakes"). Then break out your prettiest cake stands and display your cookies proudly. Another trick from Martha: cover your table with butcher paper and label each batch (now's the time to practice those calligraphy skills!). That way your guests won't have to ask you what kind of cookies you're serving, and you can talk about the important stuff: like how delicious they are! Check out Martha's traditional Italian cookie recipes below, and be sure to tune in this weekend.
VENETIAN CORNMEAL COOKIES (ZALETI)
As you stroll through Venice peering in pastry shop windows, it's hard to miss the diamond-shaped cornmeal cookies known as zaleti. They call for minimal sugar and instead get their subtle sweetness from dried currants.
SICILIAN FIG COOKIES (BUCCELLATI)
It wouldn't be Christmas in Sicily without a batch of these festive treats! The dried fruit-and-nut filling peeks out of slashes cut in the buttery dough, and the cookies are finished with a a simple glaze.
Pizzelle have long been a dessert favorite in the Abruzzo region of central Italy (some say the first pizzelle were made here in the 8th century). The thin, waffle-like cookies get their intricate shape from a special pizzelle iron. Originally the plates of these irons had family crests embossed on them, but nowadays you'll find them with geometric, floral, or even snowflake patterns.
"Martha Bakes" season 9 airs on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).