Italian Sprinkle Cookies or lemon Taralli are cookies that my mom makes every year at Christmas and that she also use to make with my great-grandmother when she was little. These cookies are very versatile — you can use different extracts depending on what flavors you like. I personally like the almond and lemon combination, so usually stick with those flavors. You can also decorate these cookies with different sprinkles and colored sugars. I like to divide up my sprinkles into different small bowls and dip the cookie tops into the sprinkles. This makes for an easier cleanup and also coats the cookies more thoroughly than shaking sprinkles on top would. This recipe makes about 3.5 dozen if you hand-roll the dough into small 1” balls, but you could also use a cookie scoop and just yield a smaller amount. My mom’s recipe is this same recipe, except doubled. She uses a cookie scoop to make bigger Taralli and makes about 5 dozen larger-sized cookies. I’ve seen all sizes of Taralli and have even seen them braided into rings as well. This is a wonderful, classic cookie recipe that you can truly customize to your own liking!
Because I love these cookies so much, I submitted this recipe to a cookie swap. I have to thank my mother-in-law! She was thoughtful enough to forward me a link for a Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap hosted by WNYC’s (the NYC-based NPR radio station) The Leonard Lopate Show. The Leonard Lopate Show “lets you in on the best conversations with writers, actors, ex-presidents, dancers, scientists, comedians, historians, grammarians, curators, filmmakers, and do-it-yourself experts.” With that being said, the guest speaker on today’s show will be renowned food celebrity Sara Moulton. Sara will talk about her new cookbook The Gourmet Cookie Book. This is where I come in — I submitted this Italian sprinkle cookie recipe and was selected to talk about my recipe on the show! I’m so excited (and also nervous too).
The show is airing live today (December 8th) at 12pm Eastern time. If you live in the NY-Metro Area, tune in to 93.9 fm or 820 am or go to the WNYC website to listen on your computer. They’ll be calling me between 12-12:20 pm to discuss these Italian sprinkle cookies, so please tune in!!
- 3 eggs
- 2.5 cups flour
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp plus 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1.5 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup warm milk
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
- Colored sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat eggs on high speed until light and foamy, about 5 minutes and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and baking powder. On low speed, gradually beat in shortening and extracts until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Gradually add beaten eggs (dough will be stiff).
- Roll dough into 1″ balls and place 2″ apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, lemon zest, and extract until smooth (Add additional sugar to make frosting thicker or more milk to make frosting thinner).
- As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, quickly dip into the glaze and place on wire racks.
- Immediately top with sprinkles (I like to place my sprinkles in bowls, so I can just roll the top of the cookie in it).
- Let dry completely before storing in airtight containers.
Yield: About 3.5-4 dozen