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Italian Easter Biscuits recipe

Italian Easter Biscuits recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Biscuits and cookies

Ice with coloured icing and sugar if you like.

96 people made this

IngredientsServes: 48

  • 125g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 60ml milk
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 475g plain flour
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 drops red food colouring (optional)

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:10min ›Extra time:10min › Ready in:35min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. Grease baking trays.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together 125g butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extract, 60ml milk and oil. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the wet mixture. Roll dough into 2.5cm balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll the balls out into ropes about 12cm long. Tie into loose knots and place biscuits 2.5cm apart onto the prepared baking trays.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes on the bottom shelf and 5 minutes on the top shelf of the preheated oven, until the bottoms of the biscuits are golden brown. When biscuits are cool, dip them into the icing.
  4. To make the icing, cream together the icing sugar, 125g butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extracts. Beat in 3 tablespoons milk, one tablespoon at a time, then stir in the food colouring if desired.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(92)

Reviews in English (85)

I just made these with my sister, for her class, and they were really easy to make, except for the knotting which was a bit fiddly. But we persevered and they look and taste great! I put them in a cooler oven so as to make them softer, and I had waaaay too much icing left over, but Other than that great, except I think I would add less vanilla essence.-27 Jan 2011

Took shortcuts.I just made them into circles as I could not make them into knots-25 Mar 2011

The biscuits turned out great but the icing wasn't as i expected. The recipe suggest dipping the biscuits in the icing but mine turned out stiff - so I keep adding milk but still didn't arrive at a consistency to dip the biscuits in so I iced them with it. Any thoughts on where I went wrong?-04 Apr 2012

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  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 envelope yeast, about 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 cup warm water, about 110°F
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, optional
  • multi-colored sprinkles to decorate
  • 1 egg, beaten with a little bit of water to make an egg wash

What are Italian Almond Biscuits?

A type of macaroon, these light and nutty biscuits are sometimes referred to as Ricciarelli or Amaretti Cookies. There are many variations, but they’re essentially crispy, light cookies with a chewy, soft centre.

While these are traditionally eaten in Italy at Christmas, and accompanied by a dessert wine might we add! We say they’re good any time of year.

If you want to use almonds and make your own almond flour, we’ve whittled the preparation process down to less than 10 minutes to crush the almonds, blend with sugar, egg whites and almond essence, and roll up into little icing sugar coated cookie ball morsels. Just as a time comparison.

For a crunchy almond biscuit, try our cantucci (Italian almond biscotti) instead!

35 Best Easter Cookies to Add a Sweet Bite to Your Holiday

Easter might just be the sweetest holiday. With store-bought Easter candy like Cadbury eggs and marshmallow Peeps, impressive homemade Easter cakes, and traditional treats like hot cross buns, there's no shortage of Easter desserts for everyone to enjoy. One kind of treat doubles as a fun activity for the whole family: Easter cookies. You don't have to be a pro baker or master decorator to make a great batch of easy Easter cookies&mdashjust choose one of these recipes!

Some of the best Easter cookie recipes are inspired by classic springtime desserts like carrot cake and Key lime pie&mdashbut in an easy-to-make, bite-size form. Others are bigger projects that involve cutting out dough to look like chicks, bunnies, and butterflies, or piping your best Easter egg designs with buttercream or royal icing. (There's even a fun marbled icing technique in the mix!) No matter what route you choose, baking and decorating Easter cookies is a great way to sweeten your holiday spread and entertain kids and adult alike.

Keep reading for a closer look at some of the best Easter cookie recipes, and for more holiday inspiration, check out these Easter cupcake ideas and the best Easter cocktails.

Italian Easter Bread

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar.

2. Add about half the flour and using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough.

3. Add additional flour until the dough is not sticky anymore. Knead on a floured board until smooth.

4. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

5. Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces.

6. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.

7. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again.

8. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles.

9. Bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

Italian Easter Bread


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup*see Cook's note
  • Nonpareil sprinkles
  • 6 large eggs, uncooked and colored


  1. Combine milk and 1/2 cup of butter in saucepan over low and cook until butter melts. Pour butter mixture into bowl of stand mixer.
  2. Allow mixture to cool to 110°-120° degrees. Add yeast and sugar. Stir to combine. Allow mixture to stand for 10 minutes so yeast can bloom.
  3. Meanwhile: Beat 2 eggs and set aside. In a separate bowl beat the remaining egg and add 1 tablespoon water and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Add 2 beaten eggs, vanilla extract and 2 cups of flour. Combine with the dough hook attachment. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is not sticky anymore. I use the full 4 cups. Knead bread dough until smooth with the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until you have a smooth ball. Place 1 tablespoon butter in large glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Place dough in greased bowl and flip to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled (about 90 minutes).
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces.
  7. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 12-14 inches long. Taking two pieces, braid together, pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.
  8. Place circle on a parchment lined baking sheet and lightly cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 60 minutes).
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush each bread ring with egg wash and set dyed Easter egg in the center of the ring, gently pushing down to make an indentation in the bread. Bake until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
  11. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Brush each Easter bread with simple syrup and sprinkle with Nonpareil sprinkles. Serve and enjoy!
  1. Simple Syrup can be made by combining 1 part sugar and 1 part water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it comes to a boil and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator until ready to use (keeps for several days).

Originally posted April 4, 2012

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Italian stracciatella soup with chicken broth, beaten eggs and parmesan cheese.


  • 2 liters chicken broth
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (this will depend on the saltiness of the broth)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley


  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
  3. Add the parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper to the eggs and beat together.
  4. Once the chicken stock has come to a rolling boil add the egg mixture.
  5. Allow the egg to coagulate at the surface then lightly mix with a whisk.
  6. Do this for 3 minutes, whisking everytime the eggs come together at the surface.
  7. Serve and sprinkle with chopped parsley and more grated parmesan.

Did you make this recipe?

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With a cake-like interior, glazed and sprinkled tops, and delicate licorice flavor, these easy Italian Soft Anise Cookies are a family favorite.

I feel like I am supposed to say that the foods I remember most from my childhood were prepared from memory by my grandmother over the course of an entire Sunday, pressing pinches of love onto my cheek with one hand while she stirred and stirred the contents of a bubbling kettle with the other. I could try to make my memories fit, but it just wouldn’t be true. It’s not that my family doesn’t cook it’s just that we don’t cook “like that.”

In truth, the foods I remember most were store-bought bagels, crisp and buttery from the toaster on tiny white paper plates, and any kind of macaroni — especially Mama Rosie’s cheese-stuffed ravioli with milk and garlic bread. The ravioli was frozen, but the 2-inch high mound of parmesan on top was always fresh, grated by hand from a wedge in the fridge.

I still love bagels and macaroni, but because I can get them anytime, they don’t conjure up a memory sigh. The things that do are rare — the foods that only came out once or twice a year at family parties. Auntie Mella’s Italian Cookies are one of those. She was married to my Uncle Artie, my grandfather’s brother, a warm, teasing man who made a game of standing right next to me when I was small, but looking over my head and asking the room “Where’s Aimee?” while I jumped up and down, waving my hands, yelling “I’m right here!”

Uncle Artie on the right, posing with my Papa at our 1992 family picnic.

My mom likes to tell me that he once asked me, the way you do when children are learning the names of relatives, “Do you know who I am?” and I said that I did — that he was Uncle Artie. When Auntie Mella asked me the same question a moment later I said “Sure, you’re Uncle Artie’s friend!”

Technically, I was correct.

Her cookies were firm and perfectly round, like mushrooms, but once bitten revealed a soft, cake-like interior. The tops were coated with a hard, shiny glaze and covered with minute, colored sprinkles. What child can resist the sight of all those sprinkles?

I didn’t recognize the aroma or flavor, but it was not the vanilla, chocolate, or peanut butter cookies I was used to. If I had known the delicate, sweet taste in my mouth was anise (the flavor in black licorice) I might have stuck out my tongue and said I knew I didn’t like it, but I didn’t know, and they had those sprinkles, so I tried one. And I loved it.

I’ve been dreaming of Auntie Mella’s cookies for years. She passed away before I developed my passion for baking, so I never had the chance to tell her how much I loved her cookies and how much they reminded me of being little and underfoot at family parties where all the people I loved were alive and happy and laughing and teasing one another after a baptism, or at our annual summer picnic.

Our annual family summer picnic celebrated its 61st anniversary in 2011 – our last in Saugus.

I tried to make them over the years. Tried to find recipes in tattered secondhand community cookbooks or online, my eyes scanning the list of ingredients and method of shaping and glazing, looking for something I recognized, but none of them ever looked or tasted right. None of them were Auntie Mella’s.

Then, last weekend, I tried again. Unlike the other times, I updated my Facebook status with my plan, and a half hour later my mom called. She had the recipe I was looking for. Auntie Mella’s daughter, my mom’s cousin Anne Marie, had written it down for her on an envelope a few years ago at a family event. She knew it by heart. My mom read it out loud to me over the phone, and in about an hour, I was biting into one. An actual dream come true.

Out of the oven they don’t look like much, but they smell wonderful, and it’s nothing a little glaze can’t help.

They came out just as I remembered them. How often does that actually happen? I ate my fair share (never mind the number), then shared the rest with my friend Heather, mom, and Nana. Food is arguably one of the strongest links we have to memory, so I plan on celebrating the memory of my Auntie Mella, the whole wonderful Italian side of my family, and my own childhood memories by making these cookies, and making them often.

Try these soft anise cookies for yourself and see how delicious they are!

Auntie Mella’s Italian Soft Anise Cookies

3 eggs
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons anise extract
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk

For the Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon anise extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, extract and baking powder.
  3. Add the vegetable oil and milk, then the flour, one cup at a time, until well combined. Chill the dough for 20 minutes to help with stickiness.
  4. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough, and roll smooth between your palms. Arrange the balls of dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms of the cookies are a light golden brown. The tops will still be pale.
  6. Remove from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl until just smooth. You want it more thick than thin, but still runny.
  8. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the glaze (just enough to coat the tops), then return to the wire rack, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides of the cookie.
  9. Top with sprinkles before the glaze hardens.

Cookies are best served they day they’re made. Once covered the trapped moisture will soften the glaze and the colors from the sprinkles will bleed. Still tasty, but not so pretty.

Why we love this recipe

Whether you choose to make these cookies with anise or without, they always seem to be a crowd-pleaser. Since this recipe makes a lot of cookies, they also make the perfect treats to bring along to a holiday gathering or family get-together.

I’m British, so naturally, I love the licorice flavor in Italian anisette cookies. You can certainly replace the anise extract in this recipe with lemon or vanilla extract if you have people who love the texture of these cookies, but not the licorice flavor. They will taste delicious either way, I promise!