Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
Signora Libera Pilla sent me the recipe for this heirloom cookie, which she begins making right after Thanksgiving and continues until Christmas. The dough is very soft, so it's best to refrigerate it for several hours before forming the cookies. Their delicate cake-like texture and not-too-sweet taste make these cookies a perfect accompaniment to fresh strawberries, raspberries, and peaches.
Makes 4 1/2 dozen
4 Cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Cups sugar
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 tablespoons almond extract
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together into a bowl.
In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the sugar and shortening together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the milk and almond extract, beating until smooth. On low speed, slowly beat in the flour mixture until well combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 2 to 5 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. Place the confectioners' sugar in a dish.
Using two teaspoons, form balls of dough the size of a walnut, drop the balls into the confectioners' sugar, and gently roll them to coat completely. Place the balls on the cookie sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch and just lightly browned. Transfer to cooling racks.
Note: These can be made ahead and frozen for up to one month. When ready to serve, sprinkle additional confectioners' sugar over the tops.