Christmas Greetings from Tuscany

Xmas Cookies from  Ancora del Chianti B&B in Tuscany

Xmas Cookies from Ancora del Chianti – Tuscany B&B

Winter time is a busy moment at Ancora del Chianti B&B
for our young pastry chefs Spartaco and Cesare.

Here they want to share their recipe for Christmas Cookies 2014,


                     Spartaco Cesare  the patissiers

                                 Laura Filippo, the official tasters  : )


RECIPE for 2014 CHRISTMAS COOKIES by Spartaco and Cesare

Xmas Cookies 2014 Recipe

Xmas Cookies 2014 Recipe


200g Brown Sugar
180g Butter
Salt – a pinch

2 Eggs

500g Flour – sifted
Vainilla Extract
1 teaspoon Soda

100g Chocolate chips




Heat the butter and mix the ingredients following blocks and order kneading.

Xmas Cookies 2014 moulding

Xmas Cookies 2014 moulding


Prepare 3 rolls and make it rest in the fridge for 30 min.

Remove the dough from the fridge, knead it until easy to handle and make it flat. Then roll it out with a rolling pin.


Preparing cookies with Xmas moulds

Christmas cookies ready for the oven





Now….. take your favourite Xmas moulds and..have fun!


Preheat oven to 180°C.

Prepare a oven tray with baking paper.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!






Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, until light hazelnut coloured.


Resting on a wire trivet

Resting on a wire trivet





Make them rest and cool down on a wire trivet.







Lovely and simple packaging for a gift, giveaway or placeholder on YOUR Christmas Table as in our case, the biscuits will not last for so long, I believe… : )

Original Christmas Placeholder and Giveaways

Original Christmas Placeholder and Giveaways

See all Pictures on our Flickr Page

Christmas Cookies


Quick, delicious and decorative Christmas cookies to do at home!
Biscotti di Natale veloci, deliziosi e di sicuro effetto sull’albero!

Ingredients /Ingredienti
for 3 baking pan     per 3 teglie:

cane sugar 220g zucchero di canna
eggs 2 uova
melted butter 250g burro fuso
flour 500g farina
one pinch of salt 1 un pizzico di sale
tea spoons of cinnamon and/or ginger 4 cucchiaini di cannella e/o zenzero

Baking pan ready for the hoven

Melt the ingredients in the order of the list and have fun with the cookie cutter. We used a straw for the hole.

Amalgamate gli ingredienti nell’ordine della lista e divertitevi con gli stampini per biscotti. Per il foro abbiamo usato una cannuccia.


Baked Cookies

Put into the hoven at 180° C and bake for about 20 min. Be sure they all have the same thikness otherwise they can burn: have a look here!

Mettere nel forno a 180° per circa 20 min. Fare attenzione che lo spessore dei biscotti sia lo stesso altrimenti succedono guai: possono bruciare ..come a me! 

Red ribbon decoration

Add a lovely decoration and …that’s it!!
Aggiungere una piccola decorazione e il gioco è fatto!

Pictures on our Flickr Page

Grape Tart Recipe


“Schiacciata con l’Uva” is the most typical cake you will find in mamas’ hoven, bakeries and patisserie in September/October in Florence and surroundings. You cannot imagine how easy is to prepare a grape tart: the only difficulty is to have wine grape but a freezer can help.  On harvest day Filippo prefers to leave on the plant the bunches that are not ripe enough so I can go 1-2 weeks after the harvest and pick them. Grape Tart is such a delicious dessert also for winter season as you can serve it warm. I pick the grape as much as I can and then I freeze then in ricycled pasta plastic bag. They are very useful because they are usually transparent and you can recognise immediately that there is grape inside and they are enviromentally friendly because it is a good way to give a longer life to a product. Now let’s start!

Ingredients: 350 g of bread/pizza pasta, a bunch of wine grape, oil, rosmary, and a spoon of sugar cane (it is a secret…!)

For bread/pizza pasta: 250g flour, 100ml water, 1 tea spoons of salt, yeast, 1 table spoon of olive oil



Put olive oil in the pie tray and distribute with a finger also on the side. Then prepare the pasta in a round shape and put on the pie tray. Add grapes.



Add rosmary and cover the berries at the rim. Scatter sugar cane with a spoon like a rain. Put in hoven (180°) until the juice bubbles and bread is golden.


More pictures on our Flickrs Page.

Red as Passion


Red roses are rare in my garden. I always found them a bit too much “classical” and obvious so that I have not planted them since a few years ago. And the reason why was that when we moved here I discovered an old  beatiful red rose  that alone was enough representative the whole category of red roses by itself. Petals are velvety, colour is resistent and stay untill they fade, flower can arrive up to 20 cm of diameter. The scent is also an experience: lemon accent on musk backround…It has no copious flowering, just lonely beautiful red roses. I do not know the name and any help is welcome. Her nick name is “Red Beauty”.

So the following year I have been filling my garden with yellow, pink and white roses. My husband was protesting as only red roses have a meaning for him. The others (pink, white, yellow) are only pale copy of the “queen of the garden”. So, after his protesting, I decided to add red roses but far from the “Red Beauty” and with different characteristics for not competing.

I added a “Crimson Glory”, a climber by Kordes (1935). Roses start deep red and turn purple when they fade.  This rose is now on the iron arch and we are waiting to cover it all.

Both roses are so scented: you can also use for prepare a delicate aromatic tea.

Here a simple RECIPE: boil water and fresh scented petals in a jug untill the petals became dark. Filter the tea and add honey or sugar if you prefer sweeter. It can be served hot with biscuits or cold as refreshment.

More pictures on our Flickr Page

LEMON SMART: the home made lemon detergent


You can make environment smile preparing your Eco- Friendly Dishwasher Detergent with Lemons at home!

I got the recipe from a dear friend of mine, who is the perfect landlady with a spotless home who discovered this revolutionary detergent 100% eco-friendly, effective and money saving. I had to try immediately. I took 3 ripe lemons from the garden and ran the stairs to do the rest. The result was spectacular: a lovely smell of lemon penetrated in every room; the whole preparation was no longer than 45 min and the pots I used were shining after preparation. Curious? Ready? Let’s go!



100ml of white vinegar

200gr of salt

3 lemons

400ml of water


2 empty jar for jam with a lid

An electric blender

A pot for cooking

A (wooden) spoon for stiring

A knife for chopping and take the seed away


Chop the lemons and take the seeds away.

Mince them with some salt in an electric blender until you have a soft impalpable mousse. Put the mousse in a cooking pot and add the other of the ingredients.

Cook it until it boils and stir for a few minutes while boiling. Put it in the jar when still hot for a vacuum effect.

You can store out of refrigerator.


Put 3-4 soup spoons of “LEMON SMART” directly on dishes for a normal wash in the dishwasher. For more effective washing add an extra glass of white vinegar on the dishes.

Use it for hand washing dishes.

Use it to make shining steel and glaze (sink, etc.)


This is YOUR organic, eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable detergent. Be proud of it.

You will save money: ingredients are in every house and they are extremely cheap.

If kids and animals get in contact with (…eat or drink) it: no problem. It is basically food but in a strange proportions.

You can also use it for cleaning steel and glazing.

Suitable for people allergic to chemicals and no harm to eyes or skin when you use it.


The mousse must be very fine up to impalpable. Otherwise the little peels in the lemon will be on glasses and the filter can have problems.

Inform you partner you are preparing a detergent and not a lemon custard! As soon as he/she will smell it, he/she will be forced to taste it. It happened already twice: Simone and Marco have been very upset for not to be warned in advance…..


Try this revolutionary detergent immediately and tell your friends: they will thank you as mine did. Remember, it is easy: 1-2-3-4:

1 as 100ml of white vinegar

2 as 200gr of salt

3 as 3 lemons

4 as 400 ml water

Or simply send everybody a link to this page:

Let’s spread the word around!