MAKES 4 DOZEN
This spiral-shaped holiday cookie from Benevento, in southern Italy, descended through a long line of bakers in the Giuseppina Tavino family.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon almond extract
6 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon half-and-half or light cream
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the almond extract.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together onto wax paper. Add to the butter mixture and mix with your hands until blended. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough holds together and is smooth. Cover the dough with a bowl and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter two cookie sheets. Divide the dough in half, then into quarters, and so on, until you have 48 pieces.
On a floured surface, roll each piece under the palms of your hands into a 7-inch rope. Form each rope into a spiral about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, leaving a tail pointing up in the center of each one. Space the cookies 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar and half-and-half until smooth. Cover and set aside.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until firm to the touch but only lightly colored.
Cool the cookies on the pans for 5 minutes. Then frost and sprinkle with colored sprinkles. Place on wire racks and let the frosting dry completely before storing between layers of wax paper in airtight containers.
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