Tuesday, March 10, 2009

italian love knots

My grandmother, Louise, was a wonderful cook and baker. She passed her experience, skills, and knowledge down to my mom, who has impressed people with her food for decades! I like to think that I've inherited some of these abilities.

As a kid, whenever we went to visit my grandparents there were two guarantees-- biscotti and pizzelles. No matter what my grandma always had a stockpile of both. I can still remember the taste, texture, and smell of each. I've tried to re-create them and I've come close...but I need more practice.

Another one of my grandma special cookies was the italian wedding cookie or love knot. These cookies are light and slightly sweet, flavored with lemon juice and zest. They are wonderful with coffee. My mom has perfected them, but I'm still working on it.

My latest attempt turned out pretty well!

Italian Love Knots (adapted from my grandma's recipe)


3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest


1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

4 to 5 tablespoons milk or half-and-half

1 teaspoon almond extract

Colored sprinkles

To make the cookies:

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the lemon juice and zest.

Gradually add the flour mixture, beating well to combine.

The dough will be soft.

Wrap the dough in wax paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease 2 baking sheets.

Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface.

Break off golf-ball size pieces of dough.

Roll each piece into a rope about 7 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter.

Tie into a knot with one end poking up in the center.

Place 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly.

You want the cookies to be slightly warm when you add the icing.

To make the icing:

In a bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth.

Stir in the almond extract.

Add more milk if necessary to make a slightly thin icing.

Dip the top of each cookie into the icing.

Place the cookies on wire racks and top with the colored sprinkles.

Allow the icing to dry before storing.

These cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container for about 1 week.

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