The Iaciofano’s are not very heavy drinkers, but a few splashes of liquor can really improve a recipe, including my Italian Knot Cookies. My family usually makes these around Christmas, but, they are light, fresh, and colorful, so they remind me of springtime. Simply put, they are the ideal cookie. The cookie part is soft, slightly sweet, and yellow–almost like a cookie version of Challah bread. And, the icing is a light, sweet coating that dribbles down into the crevices of the knots. This icing is where I “juice-up” the cookie with limoncello, a traditional lemon flavored liquor found in Southern Italy. It is an after dinner drink, sipped to ease digestion. You might recall that John and I experimented with making our own last year. The limoncello is sweet, intensely lemony, and the perfect addition to these cute little knots.Print
“Juiced-Up” Italian Knot Cookies
5 cups of flour
6 eggs – well beaten
1/2 lb of butter at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
5 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 cup Confectioners sugar – more if needed
1 teaspoon of Limoncello
water if needed
multicolored round sprinkles
For the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slightly grease a cookie sheet, or line it with parchment.
Beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar in a standing or hand-held mixer until light and creamy.
Add in the eggs and the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and mix to combine.
Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet. You may have to add more flour if it’s an especially humid day.
The dough should come together easily and not be too sticky. You need to be able to roll the dough and tie it into knots.
Start grabbing pinches of the dough right out of the bowl. Roll them on a board that is VERY lightly floured. Try not to add too much flour at this point. Roll them until the strands are about 1/2 inch thick and about 4 inches long.
Tie the the dough strands into simple knots and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes, until they are light golden in color and the bottoms are beginning to turn golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
For the icing:
Measure the Confectioners sugar into a small bowl. Pour the Limoncello over the sugar and whisk together until combined. You don’t want this mixture to be too runny – it will zoom right off your cookie! If you need to thicken it, just add more Confectioners sugar. If you need to go a little thinner, add a touch of water (you don’t want to overwhelm your cookie eaters with Limoncello at this point).
Drizzle the icing over the tops of the cookies and decorate with the multicolored sprinkles. The icing will dry so that you can store them all together in a happy little tin. Or take them to work with you in a plastic bag. Just don’t accidentally sit on them like I did. Sat-on cookies don’t have the same appeal. My co-workers still ate all of them, though….
Makes about 80 cookies (so you might want to share).