Monday, July 13, 2009

Lemon Taralli Biscuits (Biscotti Taralli al Limone)

Many years ago I was enjoying the San Genarro Festival in Little Italy in New York City, when I spotted a local baker selling these donut-like cookies on the street. I think he charged me a dollar, and he tucked 3 or 4 of them into a small paper bag. I walked away with my treat thinking not a whole lot about them until I got home. And when I dunked one of them into a hot cup of coffee, I felt instantly transported to a sunny little café near a lemon tree orchard, somewhere deep in the hills of Sicily.

Taralli biscuits are common throughout all of Sicily, and some provinces flavor them with anise, or with orange. This version is lemon-flavored, with lots of bright, fresh lemon zest and juice in the cookie and the glaze. These crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside biscuits can also be enjoyed with espresso, or even a glass of wine (sometimes they are called Wine Biscuits). I say go all European style on these cookies, and enjoy them with a glass (or two) of wine after a long and leisurely late afternoon lunch.

(Biscotti Taralli al Limone)


For the Dough:
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ lb. or 1 stick of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
4 medium eggs
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
flour for dusting

For the Icing:
1 cup confectionary sugar
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of water


The Dough

Make a well with the flour, place in it and combine sugar and butter.
Add eggs, salt, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest. Mix all ingredients with the help of a fork and then using your hands knead to bring dough together.
Do not over mix. Do not handle dough more than necessary. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Prepare pan: grease and dust a cookie sheet with flour.

The Biscuits
Cut dough in 2 pieces and each pieces in 2 parts. Knead dough and make each piece compact, shape each piece into an elongated roll 1½ inch in diameter. Cut it into 6 pieces and roll each piece to form a stick about 6 inches long. Seal the ends together to form a circle, place each piece into a greased pan, 2 inches apart.

The Baking
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until cookies are a light golden color.

The Icing
Place the confectionary sugar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of water and the zest of lemon in a bowl and whip it until it becomes creamy. If needed, add a bit more confectioner’s sugar to achieve the creamy consistency.

When taralli are cooled, using a pastry brush, glaze the taralli. When biscuits are completely dry, store them in an airtight cookie jar or container.



Richard212 said...

Thanks for the offering, it was delicious.

flappergirl said...

anytime, R!! :) glad you liked it

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