The Basic Art of Italian Cooking
What is it about cookies (dolci- in Italian) that have even the harshest food critics saying, Mmm! Whether these sinfully sweet desserts are prepared warm and gooey or tastily crunchy, I’ve never met a cookie that even Santa Claus didn’t like. Derived from the Dutch word koekie, meaning little cake, in most countries cookies are referred to as biscuits. Dating back as far as the 7th century, these perfectly sized treats journeyed globally into the hearts of society by the 14th century, quickly becoming a scrumptious crowd-pleaser among travelers, street vendors, and social classes alike. By the 1600’s cookies marched straight into the ovens of the Americas, proving a multitude of recipes were anything but ‘cookie-cutter’. The delicious aromas springs a nostalgic vision of generations hovering over antique appliances, waistlines cinched in funky aprons, as family traditions and bakeoffs leaves us wanting more.
Indigenous to parties and holiday dinners, Anginetti (a personal favorite) is a traditional Italian cookie-biscuit crafted to pillowy-white hints of lemon, vanilla, and confectioners’ icing. Perfect for tea parties, I located a family recipe and skillfully tried it… unsurprisingly they tasted exactly how I remembered. Versions of Anginetti float throughout the internet, but if you’re not in the mood to bake visit http://www.bellasbakery.com or http://www.gullaces.com for delectably purchasable homemade goodies.
With a cookie-versatility ranging from chocolate sambuca, buccellati, cannoli, biscotti, dolce di fichi, as well as popular originals like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin… it seems someone always has their hands in the cookie jar.
Anginetti Bite-Sized Italy (yields approximately 40 cookie-biscuits)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
6 tbsp butter
½-cup skim milk
½-cup regular sugar (or Splenda)
3 whole eggs or ¾ cup of Egg Beaters
3 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees while lining large cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and non-stick coating.
In large mixing bowl, beat vanilla, zest, margarine, milk, and sugar with electric mixer on medium setting until texture is well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating each addition, and then continue to beat mixture for 1 minute.
On low speed, blend flour (1 cup at a time), powder, and baking soda until consistency becomes firm, sticky dough. If needed, have wooden spoon available for mixing. Dust hands lightly with additional flour, rolling dough into bite-sized balls. Place approximately 20 onto prepared cookie sheet, spacing 2 “apart.
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown.
Icing: While first batch is baking, combine vanilla, lemon juice, sugar, and water into a small mixing bowl, whisking ingredients until mixture is completely blended. Remove cookies from oven, placing a sheet of wax or parchment beneath wire rack. Using a small pastry brush, frost the tops of each cookie with icing, sprinkle with additional confectioners’ sugar, and transfer to rack for cooling. Begin second batch.
Still have a sweet tooth? Check out Maria Liberati’s delicious Cannoli recipe… http://marialiberati.com/blog2/?p=221
Be sure to visit http://www.marialiberati.com and get your copy of the bestselling book, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, by Maria Liberati.