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Italian Iced Lemon Cookies (Anginetti) recipe

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These traditional Italian cookies are delicious! They are light, buttery, with hints of lemon and vanilla. Perfect for snacking on or served with a cup of tea or coffee.

35 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 24 cookies

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 375g icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:50min

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and 90g of butter with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in flour and baking powder (it will be a soft, sticky dough). Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle. Pipe 5cm diameter rings onto the prepared baking tray.
  4. With moistened fingertips, press ends of each ring together to form a smooth ring.
  5. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. To make icing: Melt 15g of butter over low heat. Add sugar, water, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until sugar melts and mixture is heated through. Thin with more water if icing is too thick to brush.
  7. Remove cookies from oven and immediately brush warm icing over hot cookies. Cool iced cookies on tray for 2 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(24)

Reviews in English (19)

Icing is lovely, and I don't normally like icing.-09 Jan 2011

by Jenny W.

The Anginetti recipe is a dream come true. My Traditional Italian grandmother made these cookies every year and they were bakery perfect. None that I baked came out like hers until I tried this recipe. It really tastes like the authentic quality of melting in your mouth heaven and a not too sweet experience. They are a "Wow!" To give the cookies a more melt in your mouth quality, I substituted Crisco for the butter. I used the same amount that the recipe calls for. The Crisco needs to be heated and melted then cooled in order to take these cookies up one more notch towards perfection. The next variation that I added is actual lemon zest, in both the cookie and the icing. It then creates a cookie that is truly at the peak of gourmet perfection. I share this recipe with others, and I bake these cookies for so many holiday gifts for family, friends and loved ones. It's the one the people start asking for weeks and weeks before the holidays get into swing. They say, "I hope you're gonna bring us those lemon cookies again this year!!! What more can I say. Just make them.-21 Dec 2006

by D

Great Recipe! Very similar to what you would find in a bakery. My only suggestion would be to put the dough in a ziploc bag and snip off the tip (instead of using a pastry bag).-07 Apr 2007

  • icing:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 35mins
Adapted from

Nonna’s Anginetti Cookies

Anginetti are basic Italian drop cookies made in households throughout southern Italy. I swear that almost every Italian nonna (grandmother) makes these, including mine. These soft, cake-like, vanilla cookies have a sugar glaze on top and are usually decorated with colored nonpareils. This basic cookie can be made in a variety of flavors – anise, lemon, orange, and vanilla.

I made several different batches of these cookies using my grandmother’s recipe as a guide. She used all-purpose flour and shortening in her recipe. Nonna’s cookies were great on the first day but seemed a bit dry by the second or third day. So, I decided to experiment by using different types of flour and fats. My goal was to produce a moist, flavorful cookie that still retained its shape. I’ve included a photo of my results. I found that using pastry flour and butter gave the best results. I also used buttermilk for added moisture. I hope you enjoy these sinfully moist and rich cookies!

To the left is the cookie made with cake flour and shortening, which spread too much and was a little dry and bland. In the middle is the cookie made with pastry flour and combination of butter and shortening, which rose slightly higher but was not very flavorful. The cookie on the right was made with all-purpose flour and shortening, which kept it’s shape nicely but was dry and bland in flavor. It also formed cracks along the top.

(Biscotti Anginetti della Nonna)

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 17 large (3 ½-inch) cookies.

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3 1/4 cup white pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs+ 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Nonpareils, sprinkles, or colored sugar crystals

1. MAKE THE COOKIES: Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Using a whisk, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a mixer bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs at medium speed until light and fluffy and sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add vanilla and oil, and mix about 1 minute. Add flour mixture, butter, and buttermilk, and mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit 1 hour.

2. BAKE THE COOKIES: Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a large cookie/ice cream scoop (3 measuring tablespoons), scoop dough and place 2 1/2-inches apart onto cookie sheet. Alternatively, you can drop rounded tablespoons of dough, 2-inches apart, onto cookie sheet. Smooth the tops lightly with a wet finger. Place in oven and bake for 17 minutes (slightly less time for smaller cookies), until cookies begin to color along edges. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

3. MAKE THE GLAZE AND FROST COOKIES: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil, and place a cooling rack on top of each one. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth. Frost each cookie using a butter knife, add sprinkles and place on rack for several hours until glaze is hard to the touch, about 4 hours. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: For anise flavored cookies substitute 1 teaspoon anise extract for the vanilla.
For lemon flavored cookies substitute 1 teaspoon of lemon extract for the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.
For orange flavored cookies substitute 1 teaspoon of orange extract for the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon grated orange zest.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl beat sugar, vanilla, lemon peel and 6 tablespoons of butter with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat for 1 minute.

Stir in flour and baking powder (will be a soft, sticky dough). Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip. Pipe 2-inch diameter rings onto the prepared cookie sheet.

With moistened fingertips, press ends of each ring together to form a smooth ring.

Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

To make icing: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over low heat. Add sugar, water, lemon juice and vanilla and whisk until sugar melts and mixture is heated through. Thin with more water if icing is too thick to brush.

Remove cookies from oven and immediately brush warm icing over hot cookies. Cool iced cookies on sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Are Italian Lemon Cookies an Easy Recipe?

This Italian recipe is actually very common, and simple to make. Do not be intimidated! However the recipe I have is from my Italian family and when I research online the variations of the cookie, I find that this one which uses more egg (6) than most I’ve seen beats the rest I’ve seen hands down.

These are light, soft, and sweet enough that you don’t even need the icing if you don’t want that extra sugar and sweetness. Or what you can do is simply spread on the icing thinner. You’ll see in my picture above that I put the frosting on fairly thick, well, it was a bit thick for my taste but my husband and father adored them.

Italian Lemon Cookies (Anginetti)

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!

Until recently, I didn’t realize exactly how similar Texas and Italy are. Italy has pasta, and Texas has….beef. Italy has ancient buildings, and Texas has…wide open plains. Ok, so maybe they don’t have that much in common. This recipe for Italian Lemon Cookies would be much appreciated in Texas, though. And why is that? Well, because it makes a boatload of cookies…and we all know that everything in Texas is bigger, right?

I was born in Texas, and although my wife is from Pennsylvania, her family has strong Italian roots. That’s fine by me as it means we get to snack on Italian Antipasto Salad every summer and ravioli and meatballs every Christmas. (Yes, Christmas dinner features a turkey along with a huge pot of ravioli and meatballs. I usually go straight for the ravioli. Just sayin’.)

When my wife and I moved to upstate New York several years ago, I was surprised at the heavy Italian influence in this area. I grew up all over the Southeast, and there just isn’t a huge Italian presence in the southern part of the U.S. (I somehow still managed to develop a love infatuation for all things Italy, though.) Here in our area, we’re lucky enough to have Italian markets all over the place. That means we have access to some really awesome authentic Italian ingredients. Given my love for Italian food, that almost makes up for all of the snow that dumps on us every winter up here. Almost.

I discovered these Italian Lemon Cookies (aka Anginetti) after a coworker at the school where I taught brought in a big batch of them one morning. One bite and I was hooked. Like seriously hooked. These cookies are soft and crumbly and full of lemony goodness. I personally think they partner quite well with a cup of coffee…which means you are totally allowed to eat these bad boys for breakfast!

The key to these cookies is the lemon glaze. Without that, I hate to say it…but they’d be a bit boring. Anginetti often have multi-colored sprinkles on top, but I chose to keep it simple and just sprinkle a tiny pinch of lemon zest on the top of each cookie. I also added in a tiny bit of anise extract to the dough. Anise is somewhat of a polarizing flavor. I get it. You either love anise or you hate it. I’m not one to eat a bowl of black jelly beans (I pick around the black ones), but I do enjoy the hint of anise in these cookies. But feel free to leave the anise out. I’ve made these cookies both ways, and they’re both delicious.

What is your stance on eating cookies for breakfast? More importantly, do you eat the black jelly beans?

Italian Lemon Drop Cookies I’m in an Italian sort of mood this week and these Italian Lemon Drop Cookies are definitely satisfying my craving. Earlier this week Mr. Wishes and I had a cousin visit from Italy and we all had dinner together Monday night. We didn’t eat pasta, but everything else about that dinner made me feel like I was back in Italy again: everyone speaking in Italian, tons of food, the best homemade wine I’ve ever had, late-night espresso, and the list goes on. Now, I did not partake in the espresso as I can’t handle my caffeine, but I did enjoy everything else in that list.

I’m so glad you’re here! Follow along on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Like most Italian cookies seem to be, these Italian lemon drop cookies are not overly sweet. The texture of these cookies is that of a cake more than a cookie – soft, light pillows of goodness. They have also been known to be called Italian Lemon Knot Cookies, Lemon Iced Cookies, Tarallucci…and the list goes on.

These really are the perfect treat for summer or spring and would be a great addition to your holiday dessert tables or cookie trays! Can I get away with serving lemon cookies at Christmas time? I like to break the rules, so I say, what the heck?

For the delicious icing, I deviated from the original recipe and I used my favorite glaze recipe that I normally use to top Italian cookies. I use it for my Italian Ricotta Cookies that I make for Christmas each year and loved it with these cookies. Add some lemon extract to it for that lemon factor and BOOM – perfection.

If you’re loving lemon desserts, check out my Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. I just love the combination of lemon and blueberry. You will also love my Lemon Mousse Sugar Cookie Cups! Can you tell I’m on a lemon kind of mood today? I am also drooling over this lemon sheet cake from my friend Cheryl.

Note: you can use yellow sprinkles in place of the lemon zest on top for the garnish, if you prefer. I loved the extra lemon flavor that the zest added to it, though.

Italian Lemon Cookies

MIX flour and baking soda in large bowl CUT IN butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

BEAT egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl with whisk attachment on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. BEAT IN sour cream, lemon juice and lemon peel. ADD yolk mixture, 1/3 at a time, to flour mixture, stirring just until combined after each addition. REFRIGERATE, covered, until firm, 30 to 60 minutes.

HEAT oven to 350°F. Work with 1/4 of the dough at a time, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. ROLL pieces of dough on lightly floured surface into 6 x 1/2-inch ropes. SHAPE as desired place on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE in 350°F oven until lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. COOL on baking sheets 5 minutes. REMOVE to wire racks cool completely.

Servings 24
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 60mins

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F.
For cookies, cream together sugar and shortening.
Add eggs and lemon extract and beat well.
Add flour, baking powder and salt Mix well.
The dough should be soft and sticky. Wrap dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for about an hour so that you can work with it easier.

Create a small ball in your hand of dough and then roll into a log shape. Place in a coil on a cookie sheet, spacing them about 2-inches apart.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until firm and lightly brown on the bottom. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

For frosting, dip the tops of each cookie into the frosting.
Allow cookies to dry before stacking.

Store in an airtight container.

If you want to freeze the cookies, freeze unfrosted and frost once thawed.

Healthy Anginetti Cookies aren’t difficult to make at all. Here’s a step by step guide on how to make them.

  1. Mix your dough, it will look a little clumpy but that’s ok!
  2. Roll the cookies into small balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake and let cookies cool.

While the cookies are cooling, whisk together your powered sugar glaze.

Dip the cookie in the glaze, place on a cookie sheet for excess glaze to drip off and sprinkle with your favorite sprinkles.

Anginetti Cookies

This has been one of my post popular posts making it worthy of another look, especially at this time of year. If you are from an Italian-American family with roots in southern Italy and lived in the greater New York area, you know what these are. Anginetti were a part of every family celebration – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Engagements, Weddings, Baptisms, First Communions, Graduations – you name it they were there. These were usually made by the family matriarch, more often than not the grandmother, who began the production line days before the event monopolizing the kitchen table along with every other surface at home. The finished Angenetti were arranged on dollie lined aluminum pie tins, wrapped in cellophane and transported to the party destination to be proudly placed on each table.

Anginetti are also referred to as Lemon Drops, Italian Lemon Drops, Italian Knot Cookies and Rosette naturally each family has their own coveted recipe. Comparisons were part of the Anginetti culture when I was a child, often citing flavor and texture as key evaluative factors. Skillful grandmothers would quietly perform intense interrogations of family members to assure themselves that their Anginetti were far superior to those of a particular second cousin after all, hers were “as hard as a rock”.

Ingredients for Anginetti are largely the same in all recipes and include flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, a fat, and flavoring. A simple powder sugar glaze and often times sprinkles topped these homey confections. Historically, butter was not commonplace in the southern regions of Italy which explains why some recipes use oil or shortening. Local flavorings typical of southern Italy such as lemon, orange and anise are most commonly added. Calabrese used black anise seeds from the La Sila Mountains to flavor their Anginetti. We always had a supply of these in our home as Zio Mimi would make the drive to La Sila to be certain that the entire family was well stocked. These seeds have a delicate licorice flavor, unlike any other anise seeds or anise products. Unfortunately, they are not readily available in the United States, but pure anise extract serves as a good substitute.

Anginetti conjure up memories for all who are part of this tradition they are familiar, comforting, and ever so satisfying. With this recipe you can be part of my tradition, begin your own tradition and perhaps start your own family competition for generations to come.

Watch the video: Italian Lemon Drop Cookies (October 2021).