It’s time for the annual Christmas gift making weekend with my mom and we’re making chocolate panforte. After a crazy week of wind storms my mom lost power, so we are cooking in my tiny apartment kitchen.

The first night we spent drinking too much, playing cards and trying to remove skins from hazelnuts. If there is a task that people are forced to perform in hell, it is probably this. It’s time consuming and slightly dangerous because it’s easiest when the nuts are really hot (resulting in several burns). The kicker? I’m highly allergic to the skin part that rubs off. Next year I’ll spend the money to buy hazelnuts that already have the skins removed.

The end product was over baked… Mom said something about a crumb test (like a cake), but they should be taken out when still moist in the middle. They turned out like large hockey pucks but I just told people, oh yeah, it’s supposed to be a cross between biscotti and a chocolate cake. I’m such a liar. But honestly, they were still delicious… just hard on the teeth.