Monday, December 19, 2011

Italian Oil Cookies

First, thanks everyone for weighing in on the fabric choices yesterday. Keep your opinions coming. I'm am stalling because A. upholstery fabric is not cheap and B. I've never reupholstered anything so I'm not sure how difficult a swap would be. Anyway, more on the chair later. Today is all about cookies!

Have you ever heard of Italian Oil Cookies? If you are from central New York then the answer is most certainly yes. If not, then it's less likely so but you should because these are delicious! These cookies have always been a Christmas treat in my family.  I remember helping my Italian grandmother and other times my mother to make these treats. My mother prefers to cut out various shapes a la sugar cookies and I prefer not to spend all day baking these and roll them into balls.

These cookies are sometimes called anise cookies because that is the flavoring most often used but I've used almond flavoring and that proves to be glorious as well. However, I generally stick to anise because that's the traditional flavor. Outside of these cookies I hate black licorice flavoring but this cookie is different and have a perfect hint of anise.

One other note about these beauties. They make a whole lot, I mean a truck-load if you follow my recipe. People, my grandmother was the youngest of 11 children and lots of local families were in the same boat. So if when they wanted to make cookies to share with the other church families a large quantity was needed. These days unless your last name is Duggar you probably are more accustomed to making cookies that yield somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 dozen. There's good news, you can share these with your friends and they will love you forever. Or you can just half the recipe and your friends will be sad.

Italian Oil Cookies
Yield 8-10 dozen

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 Tablespoon salt
6 cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon anise extract
6 tablespoons baking powder

4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of milk
6 drops food coloring


Beat the eggs until they are smooth then add oil and milk and beat for 3 more minutes. Add sugar, salt, anise, 1 cup of flour, and 1 tablespoon baking powder and mix. Gradually add remaining flour and baking powder, 1 cup and 1 tablespoon, at a time. After each addition mix until just combined. The dough is very sticky so chill for at least a couple hours or overnight to make it easier to work with.

Roll into small balls or roll and cut into shapes as desired. Bake in 400 degree oven for 8 minutes. The bottoms of the cookies should be just a shade darker than the tops (brown is over cooked).

After the cookies have cooled dip into icing. I eye-balled the amounts but mix powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until you reach desired consistency add more sugar for thicker or more milk for thinner icing. Feel free to add food coloring for fun. Finally, after you have iced the cookies be sure to sprinkle with nonpareil sprinkles.


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