torta sbrisolona

Like the recent recipe for Caramelized Almond Cake, I’ve been anxious to make Sbirolona, a crunchy Italian torta that sort of defies description. I don’t know any other dessert or pastry like it.

The first time I had it, it was already broken into pieces, piled in a covered glass jar at a bakery. I didn’t know what to make of the craggy pieces I was nibbling on. It tasted like streusel topping held together with some butter, was very, very crunchy.

torta sbrisolona

Because it’s the end of the year, I thought I’d check it off my baking roster and toast up some almonds, mix them with cornmeal and flour, add eggs and butter, then crumble the dough into a baking pan, so I could have it at home.

It’s been a curious year. I keep thinking that things in our lives usually get better. Advances in medicine, technology, diplomacy, and efficiency are supposed to improve our lives as humanity moves forward. But the world has thrown a few loops at us, and the problems are larger than the usual three-day news cycle warrants, before it’s on to the next story, and the next.

torta sbrisolona

I’m not sure about what’s in store for us. We all spent a lot more time in front of our computers than we used to, reading, writing, and communicating. It’s allowed us (and yes, I mean you and me) to connect, and I love how this space lets me share stories and recipes. And gives some of you a place to correct my grammar, French and English : )

I’ve always been thankful the tone of the site. Readers has been friendly, and at times, spirited, but everyone takes care to be respectful of others, no matter who they are or where they are from. It’s something that I’ve always been very grateful for and while this is just a personal blog, the tone is very special to me, so I appreciate everyone who visits, comments, and cooks or bakes something from this site, and shares it with me and others.

torta sbrisolona

You’ll probably notice that I have recipes categorized on the site, in the right sidebar. One is “Cookies, Bars & Brownies.” I wasn’t sure where to put this, considering it’s a torta in Italian, but in English, I’m not sure where Sbrisolona falls, or crumbles. To me, it reminds me of a cookie or a bar rather than a cake. (One of our differences is that I don’t think any other culture has word for dessert “bars.”)

Food is something that unites people. America has always been a melting pot of cultures (and cuisines), and while it’s not always as evident, that’s true of many other places – from Spain, France, and Italy, to the Middle East, and beyond. Although we’re all different people, it’s hard to categorize everyone and every place.

I was wondering how to wrap up this post, and the end of the year. The only thing that kept coming to mind was just to say thanks. Happy holidays to you all, and best of the new year!

Print Recipe
10 to 12 servings
To toast the almonds, spread them on a baking sheet and toast them in a 350ºF/180ºC oven for about ten minutes, stirring them midway during baking. Let cool completely before grinding in the food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can grind the almonds and flour in a blender, pulsing them until they're in smaller pieces. If you don't have a square cake pan, a similar pan that's about the same size would work, such as a springform or tart pan, although the Sbrisolona will be thicker as round pans have less capacity. I have seen recipes where people pat the mixture directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet into a rough approximation of the size of a 9- 10-inch (23-25cm) pan, and baking it that way, although I haven't tried it. If you do, let us know in the comments how it works out. Some variations include using hazelnuts instead of almonds, adding some anise seeds (perhaps about 1 teaspoon), or a bit of cinnamon to the dough. For more crunch, replace the 1/4 cup (45g) of brown sugar with granulated sugar, for a total of 3/4 cups (150g) granulated sugar. The brown sugar adds a touch of toffee-like flavor, but does make the Sbrisolona slightly softer. If you have granulated brown sugar, such as turbinado, demerara, or another raw cane sugar, use that. One tip from my friend Judy Witts Francini, of Divina Cucina, is to splash the hot Sbrisolona with grappa, which she says "gives it a nice kick." I'm sure it does!
1 1/2 cups (170g) almonds, lightly toasted
1 1/4 cups (175g) flour
3/4 cup (110g) stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (45g) packed, light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (1 cup, 225g), unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon (each) vanilla and almond extract
zest of one orange, unsprayed or organic
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Butter a 9- or 10-inch (23-25cm) square cake pan or tart pan. (See headnote.)
2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 1 cup (110g) almonds with 1/4 cup (35g) of the flour until the almonds are in fine pieces, but not too fine - about the size of small peas or diamonds. (Unlike diamonds, it's not problem - and even better - if they are very irregular.) Transfer the almonds with the flour to a large bowl. Pulse the rest of the almonds until they are very coarsely chopped, but in large, recognizable pieces.
3. Mix in the rest of the flour to the bowl and mix in the cornmeal, granulated and brown sugar, and salt. Add the butter cubes to the bowl and use your fingers (or a pastry blender) to cut in the butter by working in the cubes of butter, rubbing them with your fingers against the flour and cornmeal, until they are well-dispersed and about the size of kernels of small peas. Like the almonds, the bits of butter can be irregular, and some in larger chunks than others.
4. In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolks with the almond and vanilla extracts, and the orange zest. Add the yolks to the Sbrisolona mixture and stir with your hands, mixing and squeezing it a bit, until the dough starts to clump together.
5. Transfer the dough into the prepared pan and spread it out so that it's somewhat even, but don't press it down or compact it. Bake the Sbrisolona until it's golden brown across the top, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before removing it from the pan in rough chunks. It will not come out cleanly, but that's okay; it's meant to be served in pieces.

Serving: Serve the sbrisolona with dessert wine, coffee, or even as a breakfast treat.

Storage: The sbrisolona can be broken in pieces and stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days, at room temperature. It can be frozen for up to two months.

Related Recipes and Posts

Polenta cake with orange glaze

Baking Ingredients and Substitutions

Recipes to Use Up Leftover Egg Whites

Cornmeal Biscotti

Cornmeal Zaletti

Easy Jam Tart





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  • December 21, 2016 5:05pm

    OMG. Sbrisolona is my favorite cookie. I make it every year for the holidays. Thank you for the post, and happy holidays David! xo

  • December 21, 2016 5:09pm

    You and your blog are still one thing that makes me smile.

  • Adriana
    December 21, 2016 5:16pm

    David thank you for your! Your amazing recipes and your happy approach to life are always a joy to find in my mailbox. Sbrisolona sounds like the perfect marriage of granola and streusel topping in “cookie” form. Yum! It’s on my list!

  • Virginia
    December 21, 2016 5:16pm

    This looks amazing! On my way to the kitchen right now, David. And I said ( after 8 straight days of Christmas cookies) I wasn’t going to bake today! Thanks for this site; I look forward to new ideas and wonderful stories. Happy Solstice.

  • December 21, 2016 5:17pm

    In all the craziness of our world I’m grateful for places like this, where people are opinionated, smart, and kind. And I’m grateful for all the food that we share. I’ve never even heard of sbrisolona, but your description of streusel held together with butter makes me hungry.

  • Helen P
    December 21, 2016 5:17pm

    David, all the best for the Holiday season and 2017. I so look forward to your posts as they do make me smile as well but also more like today. As you reflect on the events that we’ve have faced this past year.

  • Amy
    December 21, 2016 5:18pm

    Pour a good shot of espresso over it, a bit of zabaglione and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. That’s my favorite way to have it.

  • Lisa
    December 21, 2016 5:18pm

    David, this recipe looks delicious! I have stone-ground grits in the cabinets. I know they’re the same as cornmeal but the question is – if I used them would I need to grind a bit in the food processor to make the crumb smaller?
    And happy new year!

    • December 21, 2016 6:25pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know about grits, which are similar (I believe) to fine polenta. I think they would work; the result might be a bit more crumbly, but that’s a-ok – imho. This is a pretty forgiving pastry : )

  • Mary in C-ville
    December 21, 2016 5:20pm

    Your blog is a bright spot in this “curious” year. I’ve enjoyed it since you spoke at UVA. I’m grateful to you and your readers for the friendly exchange about food. Happy feasts of the winter solstice.

  • Sue
    December 21, 2016 5:27pm

    The feeling is entirely mutual, David. Thanks for making this space, and for being a resource for good food, recipes, humor, and good-natured delight. We never have too much of these things, and that’s even more true now than usual.

  • December 21, 2016 5:27pm

    Thank you, David, for this safe place to come and de-stress when life is just too crazy. All the best to you this Christmas and New Year.

  • Amy
    December 21, 2016 5:29pm

    Hi David! What do you think about a substitute for the butter (husband can’t have it) ? Refined coconut oil? Shortening? Or will they just not translate well Thanks!

    • December 21, 2016 6:23pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t have a lot of experience with coconut oil and baking but my take it that the butter has properties that make the cookie/cake crumbly and you may lose that with coconut oil. You might try a very good brand of stick margarine, like Earth Balance, or one from a natural food store, in place of the butter. If you do, let us know how it turns out.

      • Amy
        December 22, 2016 12:02am

        Ok, thanks so much! I will report back :)

    • Adriana
      December 22, 2016 12:38pm

      Amy I make my homemade granola with coconut oil and it turns out delicious. I suspect it would work fine nere. Please do give us an update on your results.

  • Paula
    December 21, 2016 5:34pm

    This sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it and may even attempt a gluten-free one with almond flour for my celiac nephew. David, I so enjoy your blog, website, and unfailingly delicious recipes. I am always excited to see a new post in my inbox from you. Thank YOU for providing a little light in this uncertain world. Peace to us all in 2017.

    • December 21, 2016 5:47pm

      I was thinking almond flour would be a good substitute as well! Let us know how it goes.

  • Julie Franks
    December 21, 2016 5:35pm

    Happy New Year (yes, even this year) to you and yours David Lebovitz! I love seeing the common web through your blog – Berkeley New York, Paris, Philly! And some places I hope to visit. The blog does have a lovely voice.

  • Brenda
    December 21, 2016 5:44pm

    Almost anyone visiting Paris can find the basics like wine pastry and chocolate but thanks to you my extended stay included so much more and I thank you for that. The humour the information and the gentle tone nobody does it better. Happy holidays and a peaceful New Year.

  • Cece Noll
    December 21, 2016 5:45pm

    Where does the name come from? It’s unusual to see the combination of three vowels at the beginning of an Italian word.

    • December 21, 2016 7:22pm

      Ha! I was just thinking, hmm, that photo looks delicious and that name looks like either a typo or a good computer password.

    • Jennifer
      December 21, 2016 9:42pm

      My guess is that it comes from the verb “sbriciolarsi,” meaning “to crumble, to fall apart”; I wouldn’t be surprised if it were pronounced “sbrisolarsi” in one of the various Italian dialects. And the “ona” on the end is the opposite of a diminuitive (if there’s a word for this in English, it’s escaping me). So “sbrisolona” means something like “the big crumbly one.”

      • December 21, 2016 9:57pm
        David Lebovitz

        Someone in Italy let me know that it comes from the word briciola, which means crumb, hence the name. She said it was traditional to “punch” it right in the middle, to crack it. Next time! ; )

        • January 3, 2017 1:00pm

          Thank you all for these comments, but especially back to you David ! Your column is a breath of fresh air in our United States….

  • Rockyrd
    December 21, 2016 5:53pm

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the reminder of a “big cookie” made by an elderly relative. She called it a ciambella- but then again she called everything ciambella. It was similar but round, baked free form on round pizza pan and had the edges fluted like a pie. One thing I always liked about it was she used sliced hazelnuts, but I have a hard time finding them. They are never in the stores here, and the ones I ordered online were not fresh. So I will try sliced almonds instead. Thank you again for a wonderful site, I always look forward to what you send and read it before anything else.
    Have a great delicious holiday season and happy healthy safe New Year!

  • Suz
    December 21, 2016 5:56pm

    Happy Solstice, David. Your writing and recipes help to keep me cooking and being excited about it, at 73.

    And always your trips back to the Bay area are a treat to read about.

    • Susan
      December 23, 2016 8:01am

      Happy Holidays to you David. I am making spiced-poached pears and ginger cake from the collection of well worn typed pages I treasure from your baking classes at the Berkeley Sur La Table. I took quite a few classes back then and yours were always my favorites. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet you on those occasions and have followed you ever since! Your books and recipes have become my most trusted references and the pears and ginger cake my yearly holiday classic (served with a little whipped cream and candied lemon a la David). Stay well and best wishes to you in the coming New Year.

  • Atara
    December 21, 2016 6:01pm

    Hi David, this sounds delicious! I have ground almonds at home but no whole ones – do you think I could spread on a baking sheet and toast the ground nuts?

    • December 21, 2016 6:21pm
      David Lebovitz

      If the almonds are ground fine (like almond meal) you will miss all the crunchy bits of nuts, which are a major component of the dessert. Probably best to wait until you restock your whole almond supply.

  • December 21, 2016 6:11pm

    thank you for this recipe David! I’ve never heard of this before and I’m really interested in trying it. It looks really good! I just recently discovered your blog and I absolutely love it. You are an inspiration to me, a new food blogger and storyteller.

  • December 21, 2016 6:17pm

    This does sound delicious. New to me!

    Incidentally, in British English, what you call a “cookie bar” is usually called a “traybake”, which is also applied to many things cooked in the oven on a baking tray – my daughter has a recipe for a fish curry traybake that sounds delicious.

    Anyway, bonnes fêtes, as they say in your neck of the woods! And all the best for 2017.

  • Romayne
    December 21, 2016 6:30pm

    Many thanks for a year of beautiful food pix, great stories – and seriously delicious recipes. We wish you the best in 2017…and look forward to the next genius thought that arises.

  • Margaret B
    December 21, 2016 6:31pm

    Thank you so much, David. Wishing you a wonderful holiday and Healthy & happy 2017. You are the very Best.
    Would this work with walnuts?

  • December 21, 2016 6:36pm

    psssssst – David: I tried to make your chouquettes recipe last wkend. you tell us to take the pan off the heat when adding the flour but you left out the part about putting it back on while mixing the flour in. i ended up making some really nice pancakes! : ( : ) just saying, for the next person along. happy holidays!

  • Colette
    December 21, 2016 6:42pm

    Thank you David, for all the wonderful recipes, humorous anecdotes and your relaxed outlook on life. Reading your blog is always a joy. May your 2017 be wonderful. The sbrisolona looks delicious. I can’t wait to bake it.

  • Denise
    December 21, 2016 6:52pm

    David thank you for the wonderful recipes and writing. I like the tone of your site too– humorous, humble, serious about food but never pompous. Be glad you are living overseas for the next four years as I don’t think there will be much to smile about under the new administration.

  • Julie
    December 21, 2016 6:53pm

    Thanks David for such an insightful and inspiring entry without ever mentioning what you are really talking about. Happy Holidays

  • Ronnie
    December 21, 2016 6:57pm

    Thank you for expressing these sentiments so well, David. Your blog is a consistent source of pleasure in a world of often difficult news, and I use your recipes more often than any others. Wishing you a joyous, satisfying 2017!

  • Catherine
    December 21, 2016 7:21pm

    If I wasn’t at work, I’d stop what I was doing and immediately head to the kitchen and make this. That’s the affect your blog has on me. When life gets challenging I cook. I’ve cooked a lot this year.

  • Sharon B.
    December 21, 2016 7:50pm

    With all the spot-on comments above, I can only add my thanks to you for your delightful presence on the web.

  • Jere Wineman
    December 21, 2016 8:07pm

    David, I must say that You set the tone for your blog. Presenting it in enjoyable reading along with new and delicious recipes . You make each of us brave enough to try things we never heard me at 90 years old I have passed up a lot of “you must try this recipe”
    Looking forward to the new year and more fun in the kitchen with David L. Jere
    PS. Forget those “toneless” readers (i just made that word up so I not dare ever correct you)

  • Mary
    December 21, 2016 8:11pm

    Thanks for this and all your lovely posts, David. You really do give us all a holiday!

  • Sharon
    December 21, 2016 8:11pm

    I’m sure I would love adding the anise seed – I’ve often made Jody Adams’ recipe for orange-anise scones from her Rialto cookbook.

  • Becky
    December 21, 2016 8:17pm

    David, Thank YOU for all the sharing of recipes and advice that you provide on your blog. You are right, the tone of your blog is lovely, and while you set the tone, I find that blogs that unite around a similar interest are more tolerant of others. Let’s continue to eat our way through the “interesting” times, which I am afraid are upon all of us. At least good food is predictable and provides joy. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • Natalie
    December 21, 2016 8:29pm


  • December 21, 2016 8:29pm

    Hi David,

    i love your blog. Thank you for all the inspiring posts.
    My husband is from Milan and loves Sbisolona – which is a specialty of the area around Mantua – not too far from Milan. I learned to make it in the kitchen of Del Pescatore from world renowned Chef Nadia Santini.
    Your recipe is very close to what I wrote down that magical day.
    Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!

  • Chicagoalleycat
    December 21, 2016 8:32pm

    I love your blog. It’s such a peaceful respite from my daily life in a busy city and I can’t thank you enough for keeping it real in your writing.
    And thank you for this recipe! I’ve searched for this off and on for weeks. Had some at a party and the Italian woman who made it from a family recipe didn’t know its name, only that her family called it “rough road” in Italian. I googled a myriad of permutations but found nada. Then I pull up your blog for my weekly dose of David and eeeeek! It’s the cookie! So thank you, thank you, thank you. The version I ate had a little red wine in the topping. Yum.

  • Deborah
    December 21, 2016 9:10pm

    David, from day one you set the tone for respect and higher road speech–it’s one of the reasons I read all the archives and look forward to every new post. Thank you, this is the best gift!

  • Irene
    December 21, 2016 9:11pm

    This sounds to me like one of those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies! YUMMY!

    I’ll give this a spin with some semolina I have on hand, instead of cornmeal. And whatever old frozen nut I have forgotten about in the freezer and see how it works out. If this comes out as I am thinking it would, I’ll pat this mixture into my cookie flexipan moulds and use as a fancy base for mini mousse cakes.

  • Anne M
    December 21, 2016 9:12pm

    I also love your blog and your cookbooks. I approach your recipes with confidence that the contents are correct and the results will be spot-on. For a dinner party I recently made Chocolate Pots de Creme from your Ready for Dessert Cookbook. I topped it with some mocha whipped cream. When my discriminating friends first spooned into it there was silence and an almost automatic sigh of satisfaction from everyone. The deep chocolate flavor and the incredibly smooth texture was fabulous. One of my friends asked “what is this under the whipped cream?”. After a second spoonful she said “This dessert is worthy of a fine restaurant, I’d easily pay $20 for something of this quality and presentation”. I was proud of my accomplishment but the credit really goes to David for the well written recipe. It even anticipated texture issues and described how to handle them. Its a remarkable recipe and I will make it again. That same evening I also served “Red Wine- Raspberry Sorbet” from the same cookbook. I made it with a sparkling rose and it was delicious. But nothing compared to the show-stopper Pots de Creme. Thank you, David, for such remarkable and reliable recipes. You make tackling new dessert recipes fun and rewarding.

  • Kerrie
    December 21, 2016 9:17pm

    So enjoy your blog, the recipes, the thoughts, the travel hints. Lots I have to save for the alternative season. But here we celebrate with European meals even though it is going to be 36 Celsius on Christmas day. Weird I know. Best wishes for 2017.

  • Gavrielle
    December 21, 2016 9:43pm

    Thanks for making this blog such a special place, and I will raise a glass to 2017 being a better year than this one. Happy holiday season to you and Romain.

  • Jackie
    December 21, 2016 10:35pm

    Cher David, I always look forward to your blog with your amazing photographs of people, places, and foods as well as your recipes. Merci et Bonne Annee (can’t find the accent).

  • Jan
    December 21, 2016 11:29pm

    Happy Solstice David, I so enjoy your blog but also the comments too…so civilized in a somewhat uncivil world.
    Merry Christmas from Southwestern Indiana!

  • JoAnn Cola
    December 21, 2016 11:57pm

    I always look forward to this receiving this blog, and have made a number of recipes from it. Own a couple of your cookbooks, too, and those recipes always come out great. I’m always up for recipes that come out nicely. Thank you for taking the time to write them. Happy holidays from the Bay Area!

  • December 22, 2016 12:00am

    Thank you for your holiday wishes. And that you for your Split Pea Soup recipe, which I made all through the winter of 2016 and have already started again. I have spent YEARS looking for a recipe that could become my own. Yours with just a few tweaks (homemade chicken broth instead of water) and bacon cooked till crisp, then removed from the soup pot to be crumbled on top at time of serving. Happy holidays to you.

  • Damaris Bazañes
    December 22, 2016 12:44am

    Dear David, thank you very much for your blog and your wonderful recipes. And for your kind words. All I think we can do on an individual level is to be kind to each other and civil, and of course keep cooking and baking. Merry Christmas to you and your partner.

  • Patricia Gower
    December 22, 2016 1:05am

    Hi David, I had this cookie served to me in Mantua, where I was told it hailed from. It was served as a round freeform cookie rather like one would make a large shortbread. We broke pieces off it and dipped it into our wine. The memory of it was so lovely that I’ve made it and served it for Christmas for the past five years. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Arielle
    December 22, 2016 1:39am

    Thank you David for writing, sharing, and cooking. You have brightened my year! ✨✨✨✨

  • tim
    December 22, 2016 3:05am

    Thank you Very Very much for your blog.
    I am waiting for your next tour and will be making my vacation if I get a spot.

    I happen to have way to many hazel nuts and not enough almonds. Might try the one you did and a tweak with almond flour and hazelnuts as the crunch.

  • Nancy
    December 22, 2016 4:27am

    Oh, heaven help me! Its almost Christmas, I haven’t tried any of them, and I don’t know what to do! If you had to choose ONE, would it be Shrisolona, Caramelized Almond Cake, or Almond Honey Squares?????? I can hardly contain myself, until at least one of them is sitting on my desert plate with a cup of coffee! Any one want to tip the scale in any of these directions for an ALMOND desert from David’s blog?

    • December 22, 2016 7:57am

      Well the Chez Panisse almond tart is very good. (Sorry, I’m not helping.)

      • Virginia
        December 22, 2016 5:37pm

        I usually get overwhelmed and end up staying in my robe all day and would make all 3. Since you seem like a much more sensible person, I think I’d go for the Almond Cake… I also made David’s Chestnut Honey almond bars/squares and then made them again with lavender honey and they’re gone too, requiring more baking tonight. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

      • Nancy
        December 22, 2016 10:56pm

        Thank you! I’ve printed out all these recipes, and sent my husband to the store for sliced almonds! We shall see….if others have tried all of David’s almond recipes, and want to cast a vote – or YOU, David – let me know! I’m still salivating over all of them.

      • Nancy
        December 22, 2016 10:57pm

        Thank you, Jessica!

      • Esmee
        December 27, 2016 8:15pm

        I usually get overwhelmed and end up staying in my robe all day and would make all 3. Since you seem like a much more sensible person, I think I’d go for the Almond Cake… I also made David’s Chestnut Honey almond bars/squares and then made them again with lavender honey and they’re gone too, requiring more baking tonight. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

  • johanna
    December 22, 2016 5:09am

    i know, uncertain times to come. but, a bright, true, light is certainly emanating from these pages.
    happy new year, happy solstice, happy chanukah to you, dear david. and thank you for all the Good and Joy that you bring to the world through this wonderful, insightful, *useful*, educational, entertaining, and beautiful blog.

  • December 22, 2016 8:04am

    You had me at “like streusel held together with butter.” I’m thankful for your blog. Your writing makes me laugh, and I’ve collected many delicious recipes from you.

  • Kate Patterson
    December 22, 2016 2:30pm

    I love your books, recipes and blog! Keep in mind that you set the tone for your site by being kind, curious, respectful and fun – like attracts like! Happy holidays to you. I’m looking forward to cooking with you in 2017.

  • alexc
    December 22, 2016 2:48pm

    I think your blog attracts a lot of interesting, lovely people for good reason. Your wit, charm, talent and generosity always shine through. Greetings from San Francisco!

  • Virginia
    December 22, 2016 5:33pm

    So delicious! I made a pan of this straight away and it’s nearly gone … I’m going to try it again and sub turbanado (sp?) sugar for even more crunch… What a treat, David — thanks for another new discovery!

  • Maggie
    December 22, 2016 7:42pm

    Thank YOU for continuing to write this blog! I have been reading it since about 2007, when you had just written The Perfect Scoop and came to Ici (where I worked at the time) in Berkeley to do a book signing. I couldn’t be there but my boss Mary saved me a signed copy from you and I treasure it and use it all the time! I also use several others of your recipes often, like your coconut macaroons. I’m glad for your sake this hasn’t turned into troll-land :)

  • Faith
    December 23, 2016 12:13am

    Bonjour David, Just made it- but it’s not crispy. Does it need to be baked more? Should the dough have been like pie crust?
    Thanks so much for a wonderful vicarious year of edible pleasures.
    Happy Hollandaise!

    • December 23, 2016 2:43pm
      David Lebovitz

      It should be like a crisp shortbread, cookie-like, but break more firmly than a standard cookie. Ovens can vary but the time indicated was right for me. (And happy hollandaise to you, too!)

  • Pam
    December 23, 2016 3:40am

    David thank you being you!
    I haven’t kept up lately blogs and Instagram just doing a technology detox. It’s become a more popular movement and I think it’s helped me feel calmer.

  • Vickie Smith
    December 23, 2016 2:36pm

    Your site has been a joy to me over the years. I enjoy baking and think about enjoying candy making – I haven’t done much yet. I just made your marshmallow recipe and it was as simple and delicious as you describe. It is very humid where I am now and I wanted to make filled chocolates but the fillings I wanted don’t do well with this humidity. I tried the marshmallows instead. No problems with the humidity at 57%. You’re talks about recipes and food are always easy to understand and enjoyable. I notice that you display a grace in your communication. What a lovely quality it is. The way I think of grace is humility, kindness and warmth wrapped up together. The older I get the more I notice and appreciate this. Many thanks and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

  • December 23, 2016 6:43pm

    You and your writing are definitely (very) bright spots in my world. As I hunker down at home in Brooklyn with my children and family for the holidays, I am turning to you for some delicious goodies that will cheer everyone up. From your recommendations (Mansoura–yum!) to your recipes, I am very thankful for you.

  • Kristen Maness
    December 23, 2016 8:02pm

    David, I’ve been a reader and loyal recipe-maker of yours for years. Everything you share is perfection! Thanks for letting us have a peak into your world. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Marianita
    December 24, 2016 12:00am

    We just cut into these — oh my! I don’t think they will last very long; my husband keeps wandering over to the pan and tells me he’s “just eating the crumbs.” Thank you!

    Wishing you very happy holidays. We were hoping to spend another New Year in Paris, but our dog had other ideas. As for 2016 — Annus Horribilis — good riddance. Hoping for peace, love and tolerance in 2017!

  • Angie
    December 24, 2016 6:14am

    Greetings David! My great-grandma fed us lunch on school days and afterward, she’d send us off with a buttered wax-paper sack full of these. My brothers and sisters and I (9 of us) would finish the entire pile on our walk back to school, leaving a crumb trail in our wake eaten by our dog. He’d hide under the church steps and wait for us until after school, no doubt hoping for more Sbrislona! I was only seven, but I’m remembering it as torta tre tazza? Which is 3 cup cake…so maybe it made that much? Or maybe its the flours (almond, cornmeal, all-purpose)? Who knows! But thank you so much for reminding me of that.

    Happy Holidays!

    p.s. every sack was buttered…I have no idea why. All I know is everything she baked for us had hints of butter on it and it was so good!

  • hng23
    December 24, 2016 2:56pm

    David– Made your Zaletti this yr using dried cranberries & the lemon glaze. Raves all round! Thanks for this blog, it’s a lovely bright place in a dark world. To you & yours, I wish a Bonne Fete.

  • Art
    December 24, 2016 3:55pm

    This looks great. Can’t wait to make it!

    Thank you, David, for continuing to fill our lives with the sweet things you post on your blog.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Amy in Hunting Valley, OH
    December 24, 2016 5:34pm

    David – as I’ve said before, I think of you as a friend. You take me places I’d otherwise never get to visit. This site is one of the few where I read and enjoy the comments.

    I wanted to put Happy New Year Anyway on our holiday cards but restrained myself. I do wish you and your loved ones all the best in 2017. Thank you for this blog and for being my friend.

  • veronica
    December 25, 2016 5:51pm

    Just want you to know that when I was living in Montpellier (2014-2015) you saved my sanity. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why I couldn’t make a decent pancake. Until I stumbled across your blog post about different flours. It took some searching, but eventually I tracked down a Type 145 flour that made a passable pancake. But that sparked an interest in different types of flours, how they behave, what they are best suited for etc. Now that I’m back in Canada, I’ve been experimenting with different types: FYI half Red Fife / half whole wheat flour makes a lovely, very filling pancake! I’ve also been asking people to bring me back a bag of flour when they travel. I love your stories – la France me manque quand je les lis – as much as I love your recipes. Please keep writing.

  • JosephineTomato
    December 26, 2016 4:18pm

    I made this for holiday food basket gifts and it was the hit of the lot. I doubled the recipe and used 2 9 x 13 pans – perhaps my was a bit thinner than prescribed but it made a perfectly breakable and delicious treat. I used tangerine rind (as that is what was in my fridge). I loved it so much I held some back to enjoy myself. So nice with morning coffee. Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe.

  • Victoria
    December 26, 2016 9:14pm

    Happy birthday, David!

  • Murray
    December 27, 2016 9:44pm

    Hi David – Happy Holidays!

    I have a glass/pyrex square pan. Does it make a difference baking in a glass dish vs. a metal pan?

    Thank you!

    • December 28, 2016 9:50am
      David Lebovitz

      Perhaps but I didn’t try it in a glass dish. Just use the visual clues for doneness, rather than relying solely on the baking time.

  • Julia
    December 28, 2016 7:21pm

    I don’t comment here often, but I’ve been reading your blog for ages (something like 8 years, I believe?) and also own your books. Because it is the end of the year and hard times seem to be ahead (January 20th, G’d have mercy on us), I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you as well. I really appreciate your recipes, which have yet to let me down (in fact, my father-in-law recently requested a chocolate cake recipe I made – your Racines cake – and he is a great baker and NEVER asks for recipes), but even more than that, I like your writing style, your stories, and yes, the comments section here. I often come here when I want to take a break from the real world. So thank you, David, happy Hanukka (if you celebrate) and a great 2017 to you and yours.

  • robinorig
    January 1, 2017 9:05am

    I have been researching this cookie for a while now. I was in SF on a business trip as long ago as 2009 and had dinner and dessert at Ristobar on Chestnut St in the Marina. We had the most divine dessert called “duja gianduia cream with chocolate hazelnut sbrisolona and candied hazelnuts.” I was told that it was the chef’s mother’s recipe. It was the most ethereal dessert. It had different layers including a hazelnut sbrisolona, plus a chocolate hazelnut mousse and candied hazelnuts. I kept trying to have it again on my yearly trip out there but it hasn’t been on the menu again. I kept asking for it and this time they insisted it must be the tiramisu, which, of course, it’s not! Where is the old Gourmet Magazine column “Because You Asked For It” when you need it! Anyway, I have been collecting various recipes for it including ones by Suzanne Goin, Mrs Larkin, Nancy Silverton, etc. This blog had the most historical information and says the original was made from locally foraged hazelnuts!
    And this blog also had good information:

    I really love the texture of the nuts and cornmeal. I can’t wait to bake your version, but I might have to try it with hazelnuts or a mixture of both nuts!
    If you ever get to Ristobar, maybe you will have better luck at finding out the recipe there!

  • robinorig
    January 1, 2017 9:07am

    PS Happy New Year! Thanks for your delightful and entertaining blog, it’s one of my very favorites!

  • Sarahb1313
    January 2, 2017 3:20am

    Happy New Year David. Peace and love to you and yours.
    I really enjoy cooking with you. Work has gotten in the way lately, but I can’t wait to try this recipe!
    Thanks for a great blog.

  • Susan B.
    January 4, 2017 12:16am

    This looks wonderful! I wanted to write and thank you for all the great recipes you posted and I tried this year. The cheese ball was the hit of two holiday parties. Made mine with currents. The toasted pecans are enough for two full balls.

  • January 7, 2017 8:00pm

    Happy New Year David!
    This is again a great recipe, your blog is a full resource for my special meals at home. Thanks!!

  • Juanita
    January 10, 2017 10:53pm

    It’s baking right now! Smells good. I didn’t have an orange so I put in a small amount of lemon zest. I hope that won’t be a fatal mistake.
    Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you have given us over the years, plus the inside scoop on all your adventures around the world. I read every post.

    • Juanita
      January 13, 2017 8:18pm

      The lemon zest worked well. But the cookie is incredibly crumbly. I like it but husband person objects to the cornmeal.