Gaining Weight (Holiday Edition): Sbrisolona


Winter is in full swing here in Idaho, complete with the traditional White Christmas. I’ve been incredibly busy with grad school applications, work, and baking for work functions that I haven’t had enough time to do my customary holiday baking. However, I’m going to share with you something that I threw together a couple of weeks ago.


In case you didn’t know, I have an terrible sweet tooth. This holiday season will probably provide me with a cavity and 10 extra pounds. Speaking of gaining extra pounds, that’s exactly what I did when I lived abroad. Sbrisolona was one of my favorite things that I ate in Italy. I can’t tell you exactly why. Maybe it’s the slight amaretto flavor. Maybe it’s the slightly moist, yet crumbly texture. Maybe it’s because I had never tasted anything like it before. Whatever the reason, it’s something that I ate multiple times a day because Italians eat dessert-like things for breakfast. My favorite. My host family made this and cheesecake multiple times because I liked them so much.


My dilemma was finding amaretti cookies here in the US. Actually, now I know they’re not too hard to find if you buy them on Amazon. But here in Northern Idaho, particular ethnic foods can be a little challenging to find. But I ran into Big Lots for no real reason (which is a rare run especially during the holidays considering the fact that I find their Black Friday/Holiday Commercials particularly annoying).  But their Italian food section jumped out at me, and I almost squealed out loud when I saw the amaretti cookies, and I was just so happy seeing some familiar things, and it was the best day. So I grabbed ricotta at the grocery store, and sped home to make this dessert that I had somehow forgotten about.

I found the recipe that my host grandmother had dictated to me and set to work. Now that I’ve translated the measurements into Imperial system format, it’s so easy. Actually, I find that most Italian foods are simply put together, yet full of flavor—a trait that speaks volumes of Italian culture.  You’ll love this little cake. Pair it with coffee for dessert or breakfast.




Sbrisolona: An Italian Crumble Cake


1 egg
½ c. butter
2½ c. flour
1 T. baking powder
¼ c. sugar
——– ———————

1 pkg*


Amaretti biscotti

1 egg
½ c. sugar
1¼ c. ricotta


  1. Preheat oven to 350° Also, grease and flour a small springform pan or 8 or 9-inch round pan. Set aside.
  2. Melt and cool butter. Mix sugar & egg. Add butter. Mix in flour & baking powder. Mix with hand, then make a ball. Put in fridge for ½ hour.
  3. IMPASTO: Mix together biscotti, egg, sugar, & ricotta. Set aside.
  4. Once dough is set, take more than ½ the ball and crumble on bottom of the pan. Spread impasto on top of sprinkled dough. Crumble rest of dough ball on top of impasto.
  5. Bake for about 30-40 min, or until top is golden brown/toothpick comes out cleanly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

*A note: I only used half the package of the amaretto cookies because I didn’t recall using all of it when we baked it in Italy. Though the cake tasted good, it could have used more amaretto flavor. I suggest using the whole package or maybe adding a little Disaronno for more intense amaretto flavor.


Here are some photos. I baked after dark, so I apologize for the terrible lighting.








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