Holiday tradition’s Italian roots
BY COLLEEN ALMEIDA SMITH World Associate Editor
Monday, December 31, 2012
12/31/12 at 6:28 AM
Because I Said So is a blog written by six parents and one grandparent.
Battle of wills: Kid vs. parents at bedtime
Teach kids importance of sincere apologies
Christmas and cookies have become closely linked.
Is it because we like to leave cookies for Santa? Or because the small treats make such great gifts? Maybe it's because good cookies are so simple to make that most people can feel like master bakers with little effort. Whatever the reason, I think it's a special tradition.
I have picked up several great cookie recipes from the newspaper, magazines and friends over the years, but my favorite ones are still the family recipes.
Each year, four generations of my family gather in my kitchen before Christmas for Cookie Day. My mom, grandmother, daughters, sister-in-law and nieces become a virtual cookie factory, pumping out dozens and dozens of cookies to be shared with family and friends.
We have made up to 13 different cookies at one time, but this year it was eight tried-and-true recipes. (It would have been nine but for a terrible miscalculation on my part in which 1.5 ounces of flour - about one-third of a cup - got translated into 1.5 cups of flour. Oops.)
One of my favorite recipes is simply called Italian Cookies. It's one of the recipes that my great-grandmother brought with her from Italy. My mom made these throughout my childhood, and they continue to be a staple of Cookie Day.
The plump cookies are great for dessert, for a snack or - in my younger days - for breakfast. I hope they live on in my family for many generations to come.
Makes 5 dozen
1 stick margarine ( 1/4 pound)
1 cup milk
5 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
1-2 tablespoons lemon extract
1. Melt margarine over low heat. Turn off heat, and stir in milk.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs and lemon extract. Mix in margarine and milk combination. The dough will be very soft and sticky. Cover hands with flour. Take a walnut-sized piece of dough, and roll between your hands like a pencil. Shape the dough into bows, knots, S shapes, pinwheels or twists.
3. Brush top with egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water), then cover with sprinkles or leave plain.
4. Bake at 350, until light brown on bottom - about 15-20 minutes.
Note: Cookies can also be topped with a simple icing of powdered sugar and water mixed with a couple of drops of lemon extract. Put icing on cookies when cool and top with sprinkles, if desired.
Colleen Almeida Smith 918-581-8481
The recipe for Italian Cookies was handed down from a great-grandmother to Colleen Almeida Smith, Tulsa World assistant editor. COLLEEN ALMEIDA SMITH