Medium Bowl
Large Bowl
Sheet Pan
Silpat or Parchment Paper


Read the entire recipe (always a good idea) and gather the ingredients.


Preheat oven to 350º F.


In a saucepan, add sugar and ⅓ cup water with 1 tablespoon amaretto and cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring regularly, until slightly thickened but not colored.


In a bowl, add sugar syrup to walnuts, orange peel, and spices.


Sift or whisk the flour in a larger bowl. Add the syrup mixture and mix together with your hands.


On a floured surface, roll out small balls of dough, about 1 inch/2.5 cm in diameter.


Place balls on a sheet pan lined with Silpat or parchment paper.


Bake until firm to the touch and not browned, about 15 minutes. They should be soft and chewy on the inside.
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 ounces/57 g candied orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons anise seed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour

Cook's Notes

Jeff’s family is Italian-American. I give a nod in his direction this holiday with what has become my favorite cookie, Cavallucci. Easy to make and a crowd-pleaser to boot! I put these in the category of adult cookies; not too sweet, laced with anise, walnut, and candied orange for sweetness. Although not traditional, I add some adultness (not something I’m often known for) with a splash of amaretto.

These make for a fun holiday snack. Dunk them into hot tea, Vin Santo, or even our 2021 Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Rosé.