This is the cookie of my childhood. In no time at all, my grandmother (Little Nonni) or my mother would mix up the dough (by hand, of course), roll it out to desired thickness, and we’d all chip in to cut them into very irregular shapes. As a child, it was a lot of fun to join in and help, and then of course, enjoy the cookies once they came out of the oven (they’re great warm). My mom made these many times for my children, as did I. It’s a great way to occupy kids on a snowy day, and the ingredients are something you always have on hand. But somehow, the tradition stopped there. When I came upon this recipe the other day, I felt bad that I had never made these for any of my grandchildren. Well, I will now! I’m waiting for the next visit to start in with this tradition all over again. In the meantime, when there were no children around the other day, I decided to make these cookies for a Superbowl party we were attending last weekend. I just had to smell them baking in the oven. The aroma is divine. Okay, it’s does seem like an odd thing to bring to a Superbowl party (what about nachos?!), but heck, there were a lot of Italians at the party, and we all love a good “biscotti” at the end of meal. As a matter of fact, several of the guests left with a baggie full of these cookies! I can’t really explain why they’re so good as the ingredients are so basic. It doesn’t get simpler than this.
Just one warning….they’re addicting. It’s very hard to eat just one. If you make these cookies, and you can eat just one, I’d love to hear from you. You either made a mistake in the recipe, or you’re just an amazing person with way too much willpower.
RECIPE: makes about 4 dozen, depending on the size and thickness of cookie
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 lb melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1. Mix all ingredients together. My grandmother and mother used their hands, making a well with the dry ingredient in the manner one might make pasta by hand. I use my Cuisinart, with the dough hook attachment, By hand, kneed for 5 minutes; with the dough hook, 3 minutes of mixing is fine.
2. Form dough into round ball. Cut in half.
3. Roll out the dough to desired thickness. I like it about 1/4 inch thick or so.
4. Using a pastry cutter, cut into strips. Then cut crosswise into the desired size. You can use cookie cuter as well.
5. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until very lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the bottoms.
6. When cooled, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, but make sure to eat one or two still warm.