I’m not Italian and have no right headlining this post as ‘My Italian Grandma’s’ anything. However, I think it fair to say that we all have that one little ole Italian lady that strikes a sweet chord within us. Mine is Annie, a lady, at least 75 years old, that I worked with for ~ 9 years. She truly believed that she was the glue that kept her department together and that no one else could figure out the computer system. She was always ready with a kind word, a random pill from the bottom of her purse, and, the wonders of home-made Italian food — whether it be a main meal or a random selection of desserts.
Without fail, Annie would make her Italian cookies at Christmas and, after the first bite, I believe it fair to say that I was addicted. It took me many years to work up the courage to ask her about them, and a few additional years before I became so bold as to ask for the recipe; something she more than happily gave up. I’ve probably had the recipe for 5 years or so, and this is the first year I pulled it out in an effort to liven up my holiday selection, of, well nothing but monster cookies (when a recipe makes ~ 400 cookies, do you really need any other?). Annie’s cookies have been yanked from the oven and will be frosted/sprinkled tomorrow, but according to the look on my Italian husband’s face, I believe, I found something good. I have no idea as to where Annie got this recipe, I fantasize that it’s been handed down from generation to generation, and, for all I know, it could be from a book or the back of a bag of flour, but it is with the most heartfelt and warmest of thoughts that I share it with you today:
Annie’s Italian Cookies:
Melt 3 sticks of margarine; add one cup of sugar and cream together (Note, I, personally, use butter).
Add three eggs, mix thoroughly and then add 4 teaspoons of baking powder to mixture, one teaspoon of flavoring — organe, anisette or whatever you prefer, mix again.
Add 3.5 cups of flour or more and mix again (I wound up using about 5 cups of flour).
The doug should be pliable, not stiff. If too soft, add more flour until the dough can be worked and is not sticky but very, very soft. Make round balls, about 1 inch round, bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until you see that the cookie looks whole and not soft.
After the cookies have cooled, make a mixture of 1.5 cups of confectionery sugar, add 1 teaspoon of flavoring (to complement the flavoring used earlier, if not the same one); and 1 teaspoon of water to the sugar. Mix together ( it should be thick, like cream. If too loose, add more sugar), then dip the cookie into mixture and put round, colored sprinkles on top.
I also made pumpkin cookies tonight (a favorite), but alas, feel woefully inadequate as my aunt had a cookie party recently and wound up with ~1200 cookies. I think I made all of 100 cookies today…oh well, c’est la vie.
Monster cookies to follow tomorrow (a half batch…) in between stuffing sausages…