March 28, 2010

Italian Easter Cookies


As a child I remember always looking forward to Easter the most. The egg hunt with the best prize in the Golden Egg, the baskets chock full-o whatnots and the cookies. The massive platters of cookies from the best Italian bakery around had to be my favorite part of the day.


It wasn't until last year when I found this recipe for Taralli Dolci Di Pasqua (Easter Ring Cookies) that I even thought about making them at home. Sure we all love a good cookie at the Sweet Oven but this was different. Taking the first bit of my first batch brought me back years (dare I say decades?!) , this was spot on how I remembered them - the flavor, the texture...it was heaven.


The cookie is very mild, not super sweet and has a slightly dry texture making it a perfect pairing with a cup of coffee...or tea...for those of us who gave up the good stuff for Lent. The dough whips up in a flash, no butter softening or electric mixer required, which makes it that much more appealing.


(they puff up so beautifully when they bake, just adorable little chubby cheekers!)

Now the recipe told me to knead the dough on a floured surface but I really really hate cleaning flour and dough off my counters so I just kneaded it in the bowl that I mixed it in...worked like a charm for me. Also, the recipe said it made 16 cookies, but I imagine that would be one heck of a jumbo cookie, too big for my tastes, so I made mini ones. I guess I'm just a sucker for mini desserts but they turn out so much cuter and easier to eat. I got about 30-35 cookies the way I made them (and I halved the recipe!).


Italian Easter Cookies (adapted from Perfect Cookies, Cakes and Chocolate)

2-3/4 C all purpose flour
3/4 Tbsp baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 C granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Icing

3 C confectioners' sugar
1/4 C water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
multi-colored nonpareils

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the flour and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, add the eggs, whisking to break them up. Slowly whisk in the sugar, then the melted butter and vanilla. Whisk until everything is very well combined. With a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture.

Knead the dough lightly (this is where it says to turn out to a floured surface but I kneaded it right in the bowl). Pinch the dough off into about 1-inch ball sizes and roll between your hands to make a rope about 4-5 inches long. Pinch the ends together to form a circle and place on prepared pans about 1-inch apart.

Bake about 22-25 min until puffed and golden brown. Cool on racks before icing.

For the icing:

Set your wire rack over a cookie sheet.

Combine all ingredients, adding the water just 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach a slightly thick, but still pourable consistency.

Taking one cooled cookie, turn it upside down and dip it in the bowl of icing. Turn it back over and return to the wire rack, allowing the excess to drip off.

Sprinkle with multi-colored nonpareils while still wet (I dip 4 at a time then sprinkle and repeat).

Enjoy and Happy Easter!

3 comments:

  1. I love these cookies- my friends father makes them as a art of their Easter celebrations, too.

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