Monday, December 7, 2015


I'm a little behind on my Christmas duties having been laid up with a nasty cold for the last week. But one thing I managed to do before I got sick was bake these Anginetti cookies. 
They're a recipe I got in August from Florida-based cook Michael Salvatore Gottuso and I've thought about making them for Christmas since then. They remind me a lot of the sweet taralli cookies my mom used to make, although she made hers in the shape of circles rather than "knots." 
The recipe actually comes from Michael's nonna and I'm so grateful to both of them for sharing this recipe so freely. It makes A LOT of cookies (I cut the recipe in half and got at least four dozen), so it's perfect for shipping off to friends or for tucking into the freezer when company stops by. 
The dough is a breeze to work with - so pliable and easily formed into little knots. I think kids would have fun rolling out the dough into logs and shaping the cookies too, so get your children or grandchildren involved and start a tradition.
As Michael says, there's no right or wrong size -- make them as small as your patience permits or as large as you like.
Bake until they're still pale on top, but slightly tan underneath. (I baked them slightly longer than the recipe called for because I like these cookies to be a little "harder" with some crunch.) 
Then let the cookies cool, frost with the icing, and top with sprinkles right away.  
My friend Marie, of Proud Italian Cook, recently posted her recipe for anginetti and they look delicious too. Hers are flavored with lemon, as are Michael's, but Michael's also contains anise extract, a classic Italian flavoring for cookies. Use whatever appeals to you and your family. 
Once you've tried them, I'll bet they become part of your traditional Christmas cookie repertoire.

Recipe from Michael Salvatore Gottuso (thanks to his nonna)
makes at least 8 dozen cookies.

7 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. anisette extract
juice of one lemon
juice of one orange
1 1/2 t. grated fresh orange zest
1 1/2 t. grated fresh lemon zest
3 sticks melted and cooled unsalted butter
8 cups flour
1 t. kosher salt
8 t. baking powder

juice of 2 lemons
juice of 1/2 orange
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 t. anisette extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 t. grated fresh orange zest

Mix together 7 beaten eggs with 1 cup sugar until well blended. Now add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon anisette extract (make sure to use pure, not imitation), juice of one lemon, juice of one orange, 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh orange zest, and 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon zest. Blend well. Add 3 sticks melted unsalted butter (make sure they are cool). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now sift unbleached flour enough to make 8 cups SIFTED flour. In batches sift together the sifted flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 8 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it's aluminum-free) and gently blend into the bowl until it's a soft, not too sticky, pliable dough. You may have to gently knead with your hands. Don't panic if it's still a bit sticky. To get to the right consistency, simply dust a little more flour into the bowl and onto your hands and only add enough until you are at a smooth dough. Then stop and let it rest for a good 15 minutes. Pull out the dough in small balls, like a golf ball size and roll into a rope, then turn it into a knot (like a "wreath"). Place onto sturdy baking sheets. Remember there is not "set" size so no debating on this. Make that your own preference. My family likes them a bit bigger than some other families do. The cookies cook fairly quickly and are NOT supposed to be a dark brown. Bake for 10 minutes, check the bottom to see if it's light brown. When you are done with your last batch going in, it's time to make the icing glaze. Mix everything together till you get a nice consistency: juice of 2 lemons, juice of 1/2 orange, 4 cups of confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon anisette extract, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange zest. If it appears too loose, in small batches add more confectioner's sugar. Dip the cookies on their tops into the icing and let the excess run off. Grandma suggests that you also dip the bottoms as that will encase the cookies in the icing and keep them fresh longer. Place the iced cookies on racks and top them with small confettini (multi colored non-pareils).

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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Pretty, tempting and wonderfully festive!



Amy said...

Love it, we have been making a similar recipe for over 30 years with recipe handed down thru generations!

Chiara Giglio said...

non conosco questo dolce, adesso grazie a te si, sembra delizioso ! Buona settimana Linda

Kate said...

Ooh yes, I would love to try these cute little guys!

AdriBarr said...

I am sorry to hear you have had a cold. I hope you are on the mend now. I just love these CHristmas posts, and these cookies sure do bring back lots of memories. I love the look of the knots. They look so cute. A big thanks to Michael, his nonna, and you for keeping the tradition.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Beautiful Linda, a labor of love, as all these traditional and very special cookies are. Next time I make them I will add some anise to mine and I just love the gold sprinkles, I'm ordering some from Amazon right now, I never see gold in my stores, love it! Glad you're feeling better xo

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

Those cookies look adorable. I especially like the gold on them -- so very Christmasy. I do like making a lot of cookies out of one dough -- that way it is easier to share. I'll have to start looking out for the gold sprinkles -- I wonder if Michaels has them? I saw that Marie ordered hers from Amazon -- I'm almost ashamed to admit I'm on a first name basis with Amazon :-( Hope you're back to 100% soon. Sending big hugs!!

janie said...

These remind me of cookies my grandmother used to make. I don't think I've had them since. Hope you're feeling better!

Paola said...

A family tradition - love the gold sprinkles, they make the Anginetti even more festive.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

With all the wonderful citrus in these they must be wonderful! I love the beautiful gold sprinkles, Linda.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Having tasted these myself, after receiving your very kind delivery of cookies, I can tell everyone they are wonderful and very flavorful! Thanks again, Linda for your sweet surprise and your well wishes to me after my eye surgery. I am coming along day by day. I can't wait to see well again in both eyes! xoxo