Posted by request, these pretty little cookies are very often served at holiday gatherings in many Italian American families. You may shape them any way you prefer, and change the flavoring of the icing slightly to suit your tastes. The original recipe came from one of my favorite community style cookbooks called "Preserving Our Italian Heritage" compiled by the Sons of Italy Florida Foundation. I combined several variations submitted by 5 different ladies, all of whom used the same basic cookie recipe but used slightly different methods in shaping and icing the cookies. The yield will vary depending upon how you shape your cookies.
- 1⁄2 lb butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 3⁄4 cups powdered sugar (1/2 of a 1-pound box)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon anise extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- colored crystal sugar, to decorate
- Cream butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
- Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
- Combine flour and baking powder, then blend into the butter mixture.
- Break off small, walnut sized pieces of dough and shape into bows, braids, knots,"s" shapes, or any shape you desire.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.
- Cool on wire racks,then ice as desired.
- Icing: Blend sugar and your choice of flavoring, adding milk slowly to form a soft, smooth icing (some ice the cookies while they are still warm, others wait until they are cooled).
- Sprinkle with colored sugar or confettini (tiny multi-colored sprinkles) before icing sets.