Besides the obligatory pizzelle and cannoli, no Easter is complete without rosette, shown here with the pizzelle and the traditional Peeps, a little-known Italian delicacy. These knot-shaped cookies are lightly sweet, somewhat bready in texture and iced with a simple glaze. A drop of food coloring makes for pretty pastel colors to enhance the Easter flavor.
This year, my aunt found an alternative recipe in, of all places, Entertaining with the Sopranos. Previously, she was using a recipe that called for ricotta, which makes for a moister cookie, with occasional clumps of ricotta in the cookie itself. The new recipe, called anginetti in the cookbook, is dried and breadier, which is evidently closer to the original cookie that my great-grandmother used to make. I'll include both recipes (after the jump).
Which one is better? The jury's still out. I think I'll have to make a few batches of each before I decide.
4 c. all-purpose flour
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 c. sugar
1/2 vegetable shortening
2 tsp grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
For the glaze:
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest
Make the cookies:
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest, then the eggs one at a time until blended. Beat in the milk and lemon juice, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until blended. Dough will be soft and sticky. Cover and chill for at least two hours, if not overnight.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with foil.
Divide dough into thirds. Cut each third into 12 pieces. Roll each piece between hand into a six-inch rope; tie the rope into a loose knot; and place on baking sheet. Continue with other pieces, allowing for one inch between each cookie.
Bake 12 minutes, or until firm and lightly golden. Cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. Makes three dozen.
Make the glaze:
Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. Stir in water one teaspoon at a time until the glaze is as thick as heavy cream. Separate out into smaller bowls, and add a drop of food coloring to each if desired to create pastel colors.
Dunk cookies topside-down in glaze, then set on racks to dry.
4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon, orange or anise extract
2 sticks butter or margarine, melted and cooled
2 c. sugar
1 lb ricotta
Mix together dry ingredients. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together butter, sugar and extract until blended, then add the eggs one at a time. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Mix in the ricotta cheese. You can roll and knot the dough as above, or just drop in 1-1/2 tsp dollops onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 325ºF for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to cooling racks, and glaze as above when cool.