Italian-American baker shows patriotism through sweets

Angelica Pizzonia, 34, was born and raised by an old-school Italian family in Williamsburg, and grew up around traditional cooking and baking.

It was during the pandemic, however, when she took matters into her own hands and started her small baking business, “She’s Baking Cookies.”

“I started baking because of my grandpa, Rocco Lomuto… he loved sweets. But especially during COVID, because obviously we couldn’t go out to eat anywhere” she said.

“Grampie ended up telling me, ‘You should really sell these treats. What are you doing?’ and I didn’t listen. When he passed, I told myself I would never bake again, but in honor of him I started this business for my grandpa.”

Pizzonia offers a variety of sweets and treats on her menu, such as chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies, but she specializes in traditional Italian baking, including cannoli, biscotti, and the well-loved tri-color cookies.

For this time of the year, she put a patriotic spin on the classic tri-color cookie, making them red, white, and blue in honor of Independence Day.

“They are my favorite cookies to make, and can be made in many different colors and mean so many different things,” she said. “I’ve made them in the Italian flag colors and American flag colors. Many people say that the religious interpretation for the Italian flag is green for hope, white for faith, and red for charity… but there’s so many meanings to it.”

For her, the American flag version of the cookie was made in honor of her grandfather, who was a World War II veteran, serving as a staff sergeant in the Army.

A Marine Corporal purchased Pizzonia’s American flag-themed tri-color cookies on Memorial Day, which is also his birthday.

“He was such an American man. We’re Italian, but he would say we’re American-Italian because we’re American first, and we were born here,” Pizzonia said. “I just felt like it represents him because he was a vet. And it’s an American flag, so it’s just so meaningful to him and to me.”

Pizzonia said that it took her a while to master the recipe for the tri-color cookies, as they are quite difficult to make, but now has the formula down pat.

She also added that she did not really learn to bake from anyone in her family particularly, but instead feels like the art was “instilled in her,” or perhaps “in her blood” as an Italian-American woman.

Pizzonia still lives in Williamsburg, but is proud to say that she serves all local communities in Queens in Brooklyn via pickup and delivery method.

“I feel like I’m more supported by the Queens community, because I think they’re very family oriented. I have a lot of young people in my neighborhood, they don’t really have families and stuff,” she said, “So I think the Queens community just loves to help their own grow.”

On Memorial Day, Pizzonia sold a platter of American flag tri-color cookies to a U.S. Marine, who also happened to be celebrating his birthday.

She is thrilled that she was able to provide such a meaningful sentiment to her customer on a day so important to him, while simultaneously honoring her family members who served in the military.

“He is a corporal in the Marines, which means a lot because my grandpa was a staff sergeant in the Army and my grandpa’s brother, Frank, was a PFC in the Marines,” she said.

“My grampie was all about the military and America and doing the right thing in life. Respect and loyalty was my grandpa,” she continued. “He would have been so happy to know a Marine corporal ordered my delicious cookies.”

If you’re interested in purchasing baked goods from She’s Baking Cookies, you can visit her Facebook page with the same name, and check out her Instagram page, @shesbakingcookies, where Pizzonia posts whimsical reels and baking content.

“I’m not boring; I’m a little whacky,” Pizzonia said. “I try to bring something to life. I’m so dedicated to my cookies and baking, but I want to make it fun for people to watch—so I can be remembered not just by my cookies, but also for the way that I am.”