Some Italian specialty cookie names include biscotti, pignoli cookies, reginelle and Brutti ma Buoni. Biscotti are twice-baked cookies that originated in the city of Prato in Tuscany. The dough is shaped and baked in one piece and then sliced and rebaked until the cookies are crisp. The flavor combinations are practically endless, but dried fruit and nuts are common. Red and green maraschino cherries are common ingredients for Christmas biscotti. Toasted almond biscotti, called biscotti di mandorle, are also popular.
Pignolis are chewy cookies made of almond paste that are topped with pine nuts. Originating in Sicily, these cookies likely made it to America during the late 1800s. This cookie has no flour; just sugar, egg whites and the almond paste. Those who prefer a chewy texture can bake them a little longer than usual.
Reginelle also come from Sicily. These are simple biscuits of flour, vanilla and nutmeg that are coated in sesame seeds before baking. Traditionally, they are twisted into an "S" shape before going into the oven.
Brutti ma Buoni cookies are made of thick meringue that is loaded with different types of nuts; cocoa powder is also an option. The name means "Ugly But Good" and aptly describes their lumpy appearance. These cookies come from Gavirate, near Milan.