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December 31 

Saint of the day:
Saint Pope Sylvester I

Patron Saint of Feroleto Antico, Italy, Nonantola, Italy and Sylvestrine, Benedictines orders

On the 7th Day of Christmas....
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.

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Saint Pope Sylvester I's Story
Resurrected a bull and is a patron of domestic animals.

Sylvester I (also Silvester, died 31 December 335) was the bishop of Rome from 31 January 314 until his death. He filled the see of Rome at an important era in the history of the Western Church, yet very little is known of him. The accounts of his pontificate preserved in the seventh- or eighth-century Liber Pontificalis contain little more than a record of the gifts said to have been conferred on the church by Constantine I, although it does say that he was the son of a Roman named Rufinus. His feast is celebrated as Saint Sylvester's Day in Western Christianity on 31 December, while Eastern Christianity commemorates it on 2 January.

Sicilian fables, recounts the legend as follows: Constantine the king wants to take a second wife, and asks Sylvester. Sylvester denies him permission, calling on heaven as witness; Constantine threatens him, and Sylvester, rather than give in, escapes into the woods. Not long after, Constantine falls ill; when he is desperate of ever regaining his health he has a dream which commands him to send for Sylvester. He obeys, and Sylvester receives Constantine's messengers in his cave and swiftly baptizes them, whereafter (having shown them several miracles) he is led back to Constantine, whom he baptizes also, and cures. In this story, Constantine and his entourage are not pagans but Jews.

Legend has it:
St. Sylvester suggested that the whole question of faith should be disputed before a collective audience of Jews and Christians, and the topics for discussion included paganism, God, Christ and the Ten Commandments. A leading rabbi named Zambri volunteered to perform a miracle as proof of his faith's superiority: he approached an ox and whispered "Jehovah" in its ear. The ox dropped dead. St. Sylvester responded by whispering "Christ" in the ox's ear, and the ox was restored to life.








Basilica di San Silvestro in Capite

(Basilica San Silvestro in Capite)

Piazza di S.Silvestro, 17A, 00187 Roma RM, Italy





Tuile Cigar Cookies (Pirouettes)

Tuile Cigar Cookies, also known as pirouettes, are crisp, delicate little
cookies with a perfect vanilla flavor and buttery crunch.


  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • pinch of salt

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For dipping the cookies:

  • 3 ounces milk chocolate, dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 3 ounces white chocolate chips

  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat and set aside.

  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until blended. Add the flour mixture and blend on low until combined.

  4. To form the cookies, drop 2 teaspoons of batter (for each cookie) onto the baking mat. Space each at least 6 inches apart. I baked these cookies two at a time. Using a small off-set spatula, spread the batter into a 5-inch circle taking care to ensure the cookie is evenly thick all the way across.

  5. Bake the cookies for 5 to 7 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown. The center may not look completely set.

  6. Using a thin metal spatula, careful lift the edge of the cookie and roll tightly into a cigar shape. Place the tuile cigar, seem side down, on a wire rack to cool. This may take a little practice but you'll get it! The cookies are hot so work quickly and use your palms to help roll the cookies. If they cool too quickly to roll, place the cookie back in the oven for about 30 seconds then try again. Continue with the remaining batter until all cookies are baked.

  7. Cool completely before dipping if desired.

  8. Place chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate chips and if needed, microwave again in 30-second intervals until smooth. Dip the end of the tuile into the chocolate and immediately sprinkle with chopped nuts or crushed peppermint. Cool on a parchment lined wire rack until set.

  9. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

A silpat baking mat works best for this recipe. Parchment paper may slide around on the pan while spreading the batter.

An off-set spatula is helpful for spreading the batter into rounds.

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