Hi. I'm Becky, and I love to eat. 

Italian Easter Cookies with Orange Zest Cream 

Italian Easter Cookies with Orange Zest Cream 

Italian Easter Cookies with Orange Zest Cream 

Easter is a big deal in an Italian house! Lots of memories of Easter dresses, bonnets, baskets, family visits to Spokane to see the cousins and of course, the FOOD.

My Nona did a whole whole whole ton of Easter baking. Easter baking for her region of Italy used a few primary flavors. 1) Anise seed - that subtle hint of black licorice that fights out the sweet sugars, and 2) Orange. Nearly all frosted and or sweet treats surrounding Easter were finished with orange zest, juice, rind or frosting! 

For this recipe, I dug into Nona's recipe box and combined 2 recipes. Firstly, her WORLD famous Easter bread! This sweet fluffy white loaf speckled with anise is dreamy. I've yet to come close to mastering it, but will keep working. I took the ingredients list from that recipe, and mashed them together with another simply titled "Easter Cookies" (she had 4 others in there with the same name, all different!).

The outcome? Super duper. These cookies need to rest on the counter for a day before baking, so start them in the morning and pop them in the oven late afternoon. There are a few steps, but they are all straight forward. I hope you try them and for any Italian folks out there, I hope it jogs your memory back to being a kid in an itchy Easter outfit, much like it did for myself and my sisters today :)

Italian Easter Cookies 

  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 2 packets yeast
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/4 cup instant potatoes
  • 2 tbsp anise seed
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups white sugar

Orange Zest Cream

  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • Sprinkles, optional 

Microwave milk on high for about a minute, until very warm. Add in yeast, and set aside for 10 minutes. In another small dish, melt butter in microwave, stir in 2 tbsp boiling water, instant potato flakes and anise seed. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat 4 eggs until smooth. combine in 2 cups of white sugar, and stir in yeast and milk mixture and butter mixture as well. Slowly mix in 4 cups of all-purpose flour.  Leave on counter, covered with a clean towel for 6 hours.

Once your cookies have rested, pre-heat oven to 400*, line cookie sheets and set aside.

Using two large spoons scoop dough into balls and form with hands, leaving ample space between cookies on sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from heat and cool on wire rack immediately. While cookies are cooling, prepare your frosting.

Add 1 cup of room temperature butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tbsp orange extract and 1 tsp orange zest to your standing mixer bowl. Mix on high until frosting is smooth. Transfer frosting to a piping bag, and once cookies are fully cooled, pipe frosting in a ring to cover the surface of the cookie; finish with pastel sprinkles for a Spring effect :)

 

 

 

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