Lighten up... part one
There are certain recipes I would never revise. Mostly because they are perfectly fine, or untouchable family traditions. Most times I am open to revisiting recipes especially ones that I wrote over 20 years ago. I honestly have a lot more experience now and love to find better and easier ways.
Our Lemon Italian Drop cookies or "anginetti" are one of the recipes I never thought needed any revision. These cookies are light and lemony, with a simple icing. A real crowd pleaser and family staple. Sure the dough can be sticky, but you can't be afraid to get your hands dirty in baking.
Many American-Italians make these any number of ways, with vanilla or anise flavoring, some heavier in texture, some rolled and braided. I've been known to try and (most times) love all versions. As an anginetti purist, I do insist that the icing be only white ( no icky food coloring) and no sprinkles or non-pareils ( simplicity rules).
In a very happy accident this holiday season, guest chef Emily filled our flour bin with cake flour instead of all-purpose. I was unaware of this until I added 24 odd cups of it to my half-prepped anginetti dough. Plenty of worse things happen in the kitchen; I just try to make it work.
The dough was very wet so I added a good amount of all-purpose flour to get the dough to the usual consistency. And wow! the dough was less fussy and the cookie had an improved tender yet firm texture. It does make sense that the cake flour ( lower in protein) would make a tender cookie. Many thanks to chef Emily for this discovery and her help this season. Just watch those bins at Max's!
Lemon Drop Cookies "Anginetti"
makes about 50 cookies.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract ( or vanilla, almond or anise)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350F. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, milk, sugar, oil and extract until well blended. On low speed, add both flours and baking powder. Mix just until blended. The dough should be soft and sticky. Using a teaspoon, drop the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Just a light spray of non-stick baking spray will work. If the dough is very sticky, dust your fingers lightly with flour. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart. Bake immediately 10 to 12 minutes or until firm and very lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Cool cookies completely on a wire cooling rack before icing.
Lemon Confectioners Icing
Use a cooling rack placed on top of a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper to catch the excess frosting.
6 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup water
grated lemon zest (if desired)
With an electric mixer, beat all ingredients until smooth. Frost the tops of the cookies with icing. Sprinkle with grated zest, if desired. Air-dry completely. Store in an airtight container.