Biscotti della Nonna

DSC_8531I learned how to make these cookies from my Grandmother’s cousin and her daughter who live in Baltimore’s Little Italy. We mixed the dough on the countertop instead of inside of a bowl. I think the reason we did that is the quantity…we used 3 lbs. of flour and the recipe makes more than 20 dozen cookies. You can halve the recipe if you want…. and mix the dough in a large bowl. I presume this is the same recipe as my Grandma’s. She used to send us a tin full of cookies each year for Christmas. There were many different types of cookies, but these were my favorites.

Grandma’s Italian Cookies

3 lbs. sifted flour
10 large eggs
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 lb. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. milk

Put eggs in bowl, add milk, beat together.

Put flour, powdered sugar and baking powder on table (or in large bowl) and mix. Add butter, work into flour with hands until crumbly.

Form flour into ring. Put eggs and vanilla in center of ring. Work flour into eggs from inside of ring. Knead until smooth. Dough is right consistency when hands come clean while kneading.

Let dough rest for a few minutes, cover with plastic wrap to prevent it drying out. Don’t clean table after kneading dough — you can roll out better on the surface.

Lightly grease 4 cookie sheets. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Break off handfuls of dough at a time. Roll into rope about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Roll till smooth, break off sections and twist into shapes.

Place on cookie sheets making sure all cookies are about the same thickness. Bake till lightly brown, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely before icing.


1 lb. powdered sugar
boiling water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Candy sprinkles

Put sugar in bowl. Add 5-8 tablespoons of water, vanilla, oil and lemon juice. Mix well till smooth. Add more boiling water as needed for correct consistency. Spread icing on cookies with finger or pastry brush. Sprinkle with candies. Stir icing often and add water as necessary.


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