Italian Wedding Cookies

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This is my mother's signature cookie -well these and her biscotti. No one in the world makes these cookies better than her. This recipe dates back for generations. My mother has altered it slightly over the years, replacing milk with orange peel and orange juice. Twelve cups of flour make a boat load of cookies, and it's probably just fine for families of 6 or more people. If you have a small family, feel free to cut the recipe in half. Oh, one other fact about this recipe - it won first place in the 2008 Montgomery County, Maryland Fair in the "Rolled by Hand" cookie category.

Makes about  15 dozen cookies




 

Ingredients

  •     12 cups all-purpose flour
  •     2-1/2 cups sugar
  •     9 teaspoons baking powder
  •     2 teaspoons salt
  •     2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks)
  •     2 teaspoons vanilla
  •     2 tablespoons anise flavoring
  •     2 teaspoons almond flavoring
  •     12 eggs
  •     1/4 cup orange juice
  •     2 to 3 tablespoons orange zest


For the Icing:

  •     Powdered sugar
  •     Milk (or orange juice)
  •     Vanilla or other flavoring



 


Instructions


Step 1: Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Sift to combine. 

Step 2: Cut butter into 16 pieces and add to the flour mixture. Work in butter with hands until completely and fully incorporated and butter/flour bits are smaller than the size of peas. As my father always said, mix and caress the butter and flour like you love it. 

  

Step 3: Add eggs, orange juice, orange zest and flavorings together in a small bowl. Beat together and set aside.

Step 4: Make a well in the flour and add egg mixture to flour mixture. Mix dough with hands until the dough is smooth and firm enough to roll out.  You will most likely need to add a little flour to your surface and knead the dough for a few minutes.

Step 5: Roll into desired shapes and bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly brown.  

 



Step 6: For the glaze:  Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together and mix. The icing's consistency should be runny and easily spreadable.  I sometimes use orange juice instead of milk in the icing.

Step 7: Cool cookies completely, then glaze cookies with powdered sugar icing.

 



 

Comments

The best cookie ever!

These cookies were the highlight of my family Christmas cookie plate. They were popular with both our picky eater kids (& adults), and our visiting foodie sister and her husband! She loved the hint of orange and anise. Will definitely make again!

So glad you like them Krissy. They've been our family favorite as well. My nieces always request these cookies when they visit.

Totally agree with all the comment above. So glad I saw these on Pinterest. I made half the recipe and I should have done the whole batch. Next year I will, if I don't sooner. Unfortunately I ate so many of them I probably put on 5 pounds.

do I use softened butter or cold?

Hi Diane, I would use firm butter (so when you touch it, you only see a slight indent). The important part about the butter is that it should be fully incorporated it into the flour mixture. If you don't the cookie will have a rough appearance. Good luck with the cookies. Would love to hear how they come out.

Just want to say thank you so much for posting this recipe! I've tried so many other variations over the past year just trying to duplicate my grandmothers recipe to no avail. I made these the other night and knew as soon as I began kneading the dough that these were the ones. The search is over and you made a lot of people very happy! Thanks again and God bless!

A little confused. Can you please clarify for me. Previous post says 2 cups vegetable oil, 1 Tbs vanilla, 2 Tbl anise , no almond flavoring, 11cups flour, 7 Tsp baking powder , 1 Tsp salt, 1/2 cup orange juice and 2 Tbs orange zest. Also it makes 10 dozen instead of 15. I have been searching for this cookie recipe and soooo want to make, but I don't know which recipe to follow. Please help!!

I think you might be confusing this Italian Wedding Cookie recipe which uses butter and not oil with another Italian Wedding Cookie recipe that uses oil -- http://cucina.grandinetti.org/recipes/cookies/nonnas-italian-wedding-cookies. The former recipe is from my mom's side of the family and the latter recipe that uses oil is from my Sicilian grandmother. I prefer my mother's recipes that uses the butter but both cookies are delicious. Hope that helps to clarify the two different recipes.

Thank you for clarifying. I will definitely be baking these cookies, can't wait.

I have a lot of salted sweet butter that needs to be used, can I use that and leave out the salt?

I have a lot of salted sweet butter that needs to be used, can I use that and leave out the salt?

Sure, you can use the salted butter. If you do use salted butter, I don't think it would matter if you added or left the salt out of the recipe. Either way should be fine.

I just made these cookies & theyr are amazing , I need them for an event in 6 days..... should I freeze them or just refrigerate?

Thank you. I'm so glad you like them. I would freeze them and take them out the night before your event.

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