Italian Lemon Cookies
Foods trigger nostalgia, sparking the sense memories – sight, smell, taste, even touch. My nonna's lemon cookies take me back to my childhood up until my early 20s - when I stood beside her as she demonstrated how to make them. Teresa Marzilli Santopietro made these sweet rounds weekly, and had them ready for the unexpected visitors. The cookies are great morning biscuits, midday snacks, or dessert, and best accompanied by a cappuccino.
For the cookies:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon extract
For the frosting:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, or more to taste
3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon milk
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1. Prepare the cookies: Set the oven at 350°F. Have on hand a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well. Make a well in the center.
2. Add the sugar, oil, milk, egg, and vanilla and lemon extracts. Beat the liquids with a fork until well combined. Slowly work the flour into the wet batter.
3. When the mixture forms a dough, roll pieces of it into 1¼-inch balls, slightly smaller than a golf ball. Lay them on the baking sheet. Bake them, rotating the sheet halfway through baking, for 18 minutes or until the bottoms brown and the tops turn a light golden. Cool completely.
4. Make the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, milk, and lemon extract.
5. Holding a cookie by the bottom, dip the top into the sugar mixture. The frosting should lightly coat the cookie. If necessary, add more confectioners' sugar to thicken the mixture, a touch of milk to thin it. Continue with the remaining cookies. Set them on a wire rack until the frosting hardens. Makes about 24 cookies. –Jill Santopietro for The Boston Globe.