It’s the last day of November and the second day of Advent! There’s no better way to kiss this month goodbye AND to welcome the Christmas season than to make a classic cookie!
My Nana made the best Italian Lemon Knots. Just after Blaise and I got married, I visited her for a week and took advantage of the opportunity to learn how to make her sauce, her eggplant, and her famous chicken soup. I didn’t, however, get the chance to shadow her while she made her famous cookies. Luckily, I cribbed a whole bunch of recipes from her little box of cards while I was there. And, I’ve finally gotten “close to the truth…”
The recipe below is a riff on a recipe from Nana’s recipe box called “Aunt Kay’s Cookies.” They’re almost exactly like Nana’s little wonders. Except, I think she used milk instead of lemon juice in the cookie itself, saving the lemon for her glaze. And, her cookie dough was a bright yellow, because she must have used the “margarine” called for in Aunt Kay’s recipe instead of butter. Boy oh boy, do these magical butter cookies remind me of all of my sweet times with my Non! Below the recipe, you’ll find a visual DIY.
The Lunchbox Season's Italian Lemon Knot Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- 4 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice [you can use milk instead]
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 1.5 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups icing sugar [powdered sugar]
- the juice of 1-2 additional lemons [about 8-12 tablespoons]
- non-pareils or coloured sprinkles
- Heat the oven to 350.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl or on a piece of parchment, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add eggs, sugar, and lemon juice, and mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture a half cup at a time to form a dough.
- If desired, or if the kitchen is hot, divide the dough into two discs and refrigerate until ready to use.
- For each cookie, gather a generous tablespoon-sized ball of dough in your hands.
- Shape the dough into a 6-inch long cigar shape.
- Loop the rope into a knot, pretzel, spiral, twist, or, really, any shape of your choosing.
- Bake 13-15 minutes, or until just barely browned on the bottoms.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and slide them right on their parchment onto wire racks.
- As the cookies are cooling, mix lemon juice by the tablespoonful into the icing sugar, until a glaze forms.
- Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and replace, browned bottom down, on parchment.
- Top with nonpareils or sprinkles and allow to set.
I’m so happy to be able to share these cookies with the kids and with all of you!
Now, leave the gun, take the
Cannoli, I mean, Lemon Knots…