When Life Gives You Lemons, Bake Cookies

Matt Ingersoll

When Fabrizia Spirits co-owner Phil Mastroianni started to look ahead to what is normally a quiet winter season for the Salem limoncello producer, he turned to his younger brother Nick with an ambitious idea.

“We’ve been cooking and baking with our limoncello for years,” he said. “When we first started Fabrizia 11 years ago, we would do tastings at some of the liquor stores … and I would bake a limoncello cake and give out samples of it. So I said to Nick that we should start a baking company with our limoncello, and from there it didn’t take too much convincing for him.”

The Fabrizia Lemon Baking Co., which launched on Nov. 5, will feature a full selection of baked goods infused with Fabrizia limoncello that will be introduced over time. The company started with Italian limoncello cookies made from a family recipe, followed by limoncello whoopie pies. More lemon-flavored goodies like cakes and biscotti are expected to be added soon.

Utilizing space the company had recently acquired during a production expansion, Fabrizia added a commercial oven and received a food service license from the Town of Salem.

The cookies are baked fresh every day with all-natural ingredients, including real cane sugar, butter, eggs and lemon zest from freshly squeezed Sicilian lemons. The alcohol from the limoncello that’s used is baked off, making the cookies suitable for consumption of all ages, according to Mastroianni. They come in packages of six, each one weighing individually just over three ounces, and are available for online ordering and shipping.

“We wanted it to be kind of a luxury treat item and not just another run-of-the-mill cookie,” he said. “People really like the crispy exterior and the soft inside. … The lemon zest also makes it unique. When you’re able to use fresh lemon zest, it makes a great difference.”

Shortly after debuting the cookies, Fabrizia introduced lemon whoopie pies. Those feature a lemon cake with the limoncello worked right into the batter, while the cream filling is made from a combination of confectioner’s sugar, marshmallow and finely chopped lemon zest. Each ¼-pound whoopie pie is wrapped individually and can last frozen for up to a year.

By early December, Mastroianni said, the company expects to roll out limoncello biscotti integrated with almonds, a recipe inspired by the two brothers’ grandmother. The baked goods add to Fabrizia’s growing product line, which includes multiple types of limoncello flavors and ready-to-drink canned limoncello-infused cocktails.

From each order placed on Fabrizia’s new baking website, $1 will be donated to Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks across the country.