These cookies were on every family wedding table and every family Christmas table when I was growing up. In my family, they are Italian Wedding Cookies. Each cookie I consumed ~ and there were many, represents some of my best and earliest food memories.
Billowing clouds of frosting topped off by (sometimes overly ornate) sprinkles, shredded coconut, pecans or silver dragees became little cakey Masterpieces. I don’t know if it was my Catholic upbringing or the light, sugary goodness of these cookies that conjured up scenes of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in my brain. Each bite was followed by Hallelujah! choruses in my taste buds. It is the perfect cookie to get you in the Christmas spirit!
The recipe and method come from family and neighbors up on Spaghetti Knob in Newport, Kentucky. What was once Clifton Hills in the hills above Newport, where many Italian families established their homes after immigrating to the northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area. Where my Great Grandparents built their new lives after coming here from the mountains northeast of Naples in the early 1900s.
Try them for the Holidays and get the whole family to help, the rolling and decorating can take time. Use a light frosting with these, a little unsalted butter or shortening and powdered sugar creamed together, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, a pinch of salt and then slowly add some whole milk by tablespoon until you get the consistency you want.
These cookies should never look perfect, just have fun decorating!
Italian Wedding Cookies
1 stick butter (or 6 tablespoons oil)
1 cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whisky or bourbon
6 teaspoons baking powder
3 ½ to 4 cups flour
Beat eggs 5 minutes. Add oil, sugar, whisky, honey, salt and vanilla and beat 5 minutes more. Add sifted flour and baking powder gradually. Continue to beat or fold over until flour is used up. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Grease hands with oil to keep dough from sticking and roll into balls or shape into rings.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges just begin to turn light golden brown. Decorate when cool.
Makes 7 dozen cookies.
If not baking for a crowd, you could either halve the recipe, or freeze the baked un-decorated cookies for later.
Click here for a recipe for Gluten Free Italian Wedding Cookies