Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cookie of the Week - Angelettis

As I have noted previously, baking Christmas cookies was not a holiday tradition in my family. Because I’m not sure what is considered a Christmas cookie, I rely on lists such "Classic Christmas Cookies" or "Favorite Christmas Cookies" to guide me. Martha Stewart has several slide shows showcasing Christmas cookies on her site. While most of the cookies are familiar to me, a few are not.

I had never heard of Angelettis. The picture didn’t even seem attractive which I found surprising considering how meticulous Martha is (see below). A quick glance at the ingredients only pointed up two unusual ingredients, anise extract used in the cookies and lemon juice used in the icing. I decided to try them out to discover why Martha is so keen on them.

Like most Martha Stewart recipes, this one is very rich. It uses 6 eggs in the cookie batter and an entire box (16 ounces) of confectioners’ sugar in the icing. My only quibble with her is with the size of the bowl used to sift the dry ingredients into. Four cups of flour is a lot of four and requires a large bowl, not a medium bowl. Be very careful adding the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients. They take a bit longer than usual to be incorporated into the liquid. Keep your mixer on low. Any faster and you should be prepared to be enveloped in a cloud of flour. The batter is very stiff, but scoops nicely into balls. I was surprised when they kept their shape instead of spreading out while baking. Fifteen minutes seemed long, but was exactly right.

Next up was the icing. Believe it or not, ¼ cup of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water will dissolve an entire pound of confectioners’ sugar. The result is rather tart. I was hesitant to use it on the cookies which tasted great on their own but I was glad I did. Once on the cookies, the lemon taste was not obvious. It added a little tang to an otherwise very sweet cookie.

It turns out that I know these cookies. I have eaten them in the past. I can’t remember when or where, just that they were really good. Now I’m glad to have the recipe and to add it to my cookie repertoire.

Verdict: Yum!! This one’s a keeper!!


4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or anise extract
1 box (16 ounce) confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
Coarse sanding sugar, for decorating

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until is incorporated. With mixer on, gradually add four mixture; beat until dough comes together.

Scoop dough into tablespoon-size balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, stir together confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons water. Place wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Once cookies have cooled, top with icing. Sprinkle with sugar, and let stand until icing is firm.

Makes about 6 dozen.

Recycle: vanilla or anise extract bottle

Compost: eggshells

1 comment:

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