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It seems unfathomable that you’d ever have leftover cookies when you’re baking your first batch in early December, but by the time Christmas rolls around, most of us are up to our necks in sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, biscotti, linzer cookies, and more. You can freeze them if you think you’ll want cookies in a few weeks, but cookbook author and television star Giada De Laurentiis has a better idea. She uses crumbs made from her leftover cookies to make this Italian crumb cake, which has a rich, dense texture that makes it ideal for serving with coffee, tea, or some holiday liqueur.
De Laurentiis points out that in many Italian recipes (like panzanella, ribollita, and other dishes), leftovers are called for. In “the olden days” it was a way to stretch ingredients, and these days, it’s an eco-friendly alternative to throwing out ingredients you don’t want anymore.
In this cake, cookie crumbs and bread crumbs are used instead of flour. You can make the bread crumbs yourself out of stale bread or buy them from the store, but if you buy them, make sure they’re plain, not Italian seasoned. As for the cookie crumbs, you can blitz your cookies in the food processor to crumb them. De Laurentiis recommends amaretti cookies or biscotti, but any other dry, crunchy type of cookie would be good here.
The crumbs are mixed with cocoa powder and milk, then eggs, salt, baking powder, and bittersweet chocolate chips. There’s no additional sugar in the recipe, so it will only be as sweet as your cookies are.
The cake only takes 25-30 minutes to bake, and when you take it out of the oven it will be barely set.
The result? A fudgy, chocolatey cake that you can serve any time of day with your favorite cozy holiday beverages, and you can feel good about reducing your food waste.
Before you go, check out our top foolproof holiday gifts for absolutely everyone on your list:
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