Today I made a small batch of the Easter cookies, and made a couple changes just to experiment, and I like the result, so here you go way down below for the new recipe. My new method uses only butter, at a higher proportion. And I thinned the icing slightly more than usual besides making it egregiously bright, 🌈 so it soaked in a little and made the cookies look like Easter eggs.
Italian (American) Easter Cookies, original version—this is culled together from an old yellowed piece of notebook paper, and some trials with various internet recipes. It's one of 4 or 5 recipes I should have asked my mother for, that I've been trying to conquer for a long time.
Yield: 6 dozen.
6 large eggs
1 cup oil (You can use half butter, but the recipe had oil written on it, and I'm certain actual Sicilians would use olive oil.)
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tbs vanilla or 1 tbs anise flavoring (or combine vanilla with almond extract, which is what I prefer.)
6 cups flour
2 tbs baking powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk, add a little at a time to the powdered sugar, until it's thin enough to dip cookies in.
1 tablespoon lemon, almond, or anise flavoring (I mean, you should probably use the anise only if you used vanilla in the dough, but maybe you like anise a whole lot. And you could combine some vanilla and anise or vanilla and lemon for the dough; I just particularly like almond.)
A few drops of food coloring can be added to make Easter colors—just be sure to start with only 2-3 drops, then add more, one at a time until you have the color you like.
Cream sugar and oil. Beat eggs until lemon-colored and foamy. Here is the de rigueur egg photo:
Combine with sugar mixture, milk and extract and beat until light. Sift dry ingredients together. Combine with egg mixture, and knead lightly on a floured surface, until the dough is smooth and easy to handle, then roll dough lightly into 1 inch balls. If you like, you can roll the balls into ropes about five inches long. Tie into loose knots or braid and place cookies one inch apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 14 minutes. If you want more browning and don't plan to ice, you can brush the ropes or braids with egg yolk beaten with a wee bit of water.
Dip into icing when cool, and let dry on waxed paper.
My grandma made these at Easter, and we each got a special one which was a braided circle with a colored hard-boiled egg placed in the center of it. She put a cross made of dough over the top, and cooked it in a slower oven. They are not very sweet, especially if you leave off the icing. They are perfect for coffee or tea, and improve the next day.
Modified Easter Cookie Recipe:
1/2 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
Follow procedure above, and use 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and @3 tbs milk for the icing. This makes 24 cookie balls. Chill them for a few minutes before baking.
Today I used only vanilla in the cookies, then made 2 cups of icing with 1/4 cup milk, divided it into 3 custard cups, then added 1/4 tsp anise extract to one, 1/4 tsp lemon extract to one, and about 1/2 tsp almond extract to the third. Then I added 2 drops of gel food coloring to each, but you might want just 1 drop if you don’t want bonkers bright colors. There was extra icing, so next time I make a small batch, I will use 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and about 3 tbs milk.