Anginetti Cookies or Italian Lemon Cookies, are probably one of the most popular cookies on the Italian cookie tray. This is no surprise since they are cakey, moist and softly sweet little pillows of love. Most Italian wedding or holiday cookie platters will include Anginetti, Ricotta Cookies, Pizzicati, Italian Butter Cookies, Cuccidati, Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies , Sesame Cookies and Almond Paste Cookies on them.
My mother is the Italian cookie queen, but Anginetti were never in her cookie regiment. Although she did not make the cookies herself, she did have a recipe for them when I asked for it. She is not sure where she got the recipe, but I decided to try it and see what we thought. We were not disappointed.
What are Anginetti?
Anginetti are a simple southern Italian cookie with a texture somewhere between a cookie and a cake. They are not overly sweet and can be lightly flavored with lemon, anise, almond or vanilla. I love the traditional lemon version. The cookie is dipped in a white glaze frosting to seal in the moisture and add a little sweetness. One bite and you will understand why they are so popular.
Ingredients for Anginetti
No need to worry about special ingredients for this recipe. Your pantry is already stocked with what you need. Eggs, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, milk, lemon juice and zest, flour, baking powder and salt.
If you have the time, I would set the eggs and milk out for a little while and let them come to room temperature before you start baking. Room temperature eggs will emulsify better and the ingredients will combine easier, resulting in a more tender cookie.
How to make Italian lemon cookies
This recipe is as straight forward as it comes and an electric mixer will make this a very quick process
1. Make the dough
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Mix the egg, sugar and vegetable oil until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the milk, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well.
Slowly add the flour and mix until it is thoroughly combined.
2. Bake the cookies
Roll the dough into 1″ – 1 1/2″ balls and place 2 ” apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake 13-15 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is a light golden brown.
Remove the cookies from the oven and place them on a cookie rack to cool completely.
Flour your hands before rolling the dough into balls. This will keep the dough from sticking to your hands and you will be able to make smooth even cookies balls.
Don’t overbake the cookies. Keep an eye on them as you get close to the end of the baking time. Overbaked cookies will be dry.
Make the frosting for your Anginetti – Italian lemon cookies
The frosting can be whisked by hand. Simply combine all of the ingredients in medium bowl and whisk until the frosting is completely smooth and pourable. The frosting should not be liquidy. You should be able to dip the cookie in the frosting and have it coat the cookie.
If the frosting is too liquidy, add more confectioners sugar. If it is too stiff, add more milk. You should also taste the frosting and adjust the flavor as you make it. If you like a strong lemony flavor you may want to add more lemon juice, one teaspoon at a time, until you achieve the flavor you are looking for.
Decorate the Italian Lemon Cookies
Traditionally these Anginetti are decorated with a white glaze frosting and sprinkles. Let the occasion dictate how you decorate them. Colorful non-perils are a very popular topping for the holidays and family celebrations, but I love the elegant look of decorating sugar against the white frosting for a wedding or any occasion really.
Anginetti cookies variations
Some recipes call for the cookie dough to be rolled out and formed into a knot and others just make a dome shaped cookie. Either way they are very pretty and of course delicious. The cookie dough is soft and sticky so I found that making them into balls was the easiest method and I love the elegant result!
The frosted cookies can be stored in a tin or plastic container with waxed paper between each layer. Make sure the frosting is completely dry before attempting to layer them. They will stay fresh for up to a week.
Yes these cookies freeze nicely. The cookies should be placed in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers of cookies. You can also freeze them in a single layer in a freezer zip lock bag. The cookies will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just take them out of the freezer about an hour before you plan to serve them.
Other Italian cookies for your cookie platter:
These are some our favorite Italian cookies. One of our most requested recipes is Nonna’s Homemade Pineapple Cookies. Two other crowd pleasers that are perfect for any occasion are Lemon Biscotti with Pistachios and Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies. You might also like Pani Di Cena – Sicilian Anise Cookies for Lent which we make during the Easter season.
I love getting your feedback, so if you tried these Anginetti Italian Lemon Cookies or any other recipes on my blog, leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked them.
Anginetti Cookies – Italian Lemon Cookies
- 1 Egg large
- ¾ cup Sugar granulated
- ½ cup Vegetable Oil
- ½ cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tbs Lemon Zest
- 3 cups Flour
- 3 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1½ cups Confectioners Sugar
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp Milk
- Pre heat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl add sugar, egg and vegetable oil and beat for 2 minutes.
- Mix in the milk, lemon juice and lemon zest until fully blended.
- Add flour mixture and beat until a dough is formed and the flour is completely blended in to the batter. The dough will be sticky.
- Use a teaspoon or a cookie scoop to measure the amount of dough for each cookie. Flour your hands and roll the dough into 1½" balls. Place the dough on a prepared cookie sheet leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. The cookies will rise and spread as they bake.
- Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes. The cookies are done when the bottom of the cookie is golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a rack to cool.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add a teaspoon at a time of milk until you have a smooth, thick but pourable frosting.
- When the cookies are completely cooled, dip the tops in the frosting and place them on the cooling rack to dry. You can sprinkle decorating sugar or nonpareils on the cookies before the frosting dries if you like.