I first saw these little delights on food blog La Bella Vita , hosted by a charming Italian lady named Roz. During a trip back to Italy she took the time to blog and post all the beautiful foods she was coming across in her journey visiting restaurants, cafe's, and shops, and with pictures of beautiful scenery that made me wish I was there with her. It was around this same time that I had just received my DNA results from ancestry.com that revealed 20% of my bloodline is from the region of Spain and/or Italy. Both cuisines suit me, so that was good news, although for every time someone has asked me if I was Italian, my money is on Italy! So, it was a lot of fun to see what Roz was going to post next; where she was at, what she was looking at, and most importantly, what she was eating! I couldn't help wondering where my own distant ancestors had been, perhaps on the very same ground she was walking (or maybe somewhere in Spain)!
Lemon Zuccherini are considered an Italian biscotti and are commonly available in Italian shops. They are in the shape of a wedding ring and as she states on her site, are given out at weddings. What a lovely tradition! Visit her site and you will see the pictures she took of them during her trip. Now, while mine do not look like what the Italians make, I can say that it was my first time doing the recipe, and regardless of how they look, they taste delicious.
I really like the simple flour pastry with the sweet but zingy coating of the lemon glaze. Due to an emergency we had at the house while I was just taking these out of the oven, they did not get glazed until the were already cooled. After the glaze had dried, I added a dusting of powdered sugar. Needless to say, I kept going back to the container for 'just one more'. And they are a great accompaniment to a cup of hot tea (and a book). What I find nice about these simple ingredients is that if I find myself in the middle of an unexpected cold blustery day, I can just whip up a batch from what we generally already have in the house. No special trips to the store!
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (sea salt is recommended)
*5 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp anise seeds or extract
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup powdered sugar
*2- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- Prepare a large bowl coated with oil
- Prepare greased and floured cookie sheets, or alternatively use cookie sheets with parchment paper
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt onto a large cutting board. Shape it into the form of a large well (or use a very large bowl).Into the middle of the well, add the eggs, olive oil, anise seeds/extract, and lemon zest.Incorporate all of the ingredients together to form a dough, being careful not to overwork the dough.
Place the dough into the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the dough into egg-sized balls and roll out each one into a long rope of medium thickness.
OPTIONAL: For a more layered cookie, flatten the rope and fold it in half along the entire length of the rope.
Shape each rope into a ring, and pinch the ends together. Place cookies onto prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until slightly golden.
While the cookies are baking, prepare your glaze. Mix together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. You can add more or less lemon juice if you want. I personally added extra juice along with some zest to my glaze.
While the cookies are still warm, brush on the glaze. Feel free to add a second glazing after the first brushing has dried and set. I did 2 light coatings and a gentle dusting. If it sounds like a lot, it really wasn't. The nice thing is you can make these to your personal preference and are in control of your modifications.
- I had a little hiccup with my recipe. Roz's original recipe calls for 3 eggs, however, with 4 cups of flour I ended up needing more eggs to bring the dough together. I would take out 5 and start with 3 and see if you need more or not. I am famous for adding or omitting things, so could have been something I did.
As with any biscotti,these are perfect for dunking in pretty much anything you are drinking.
Source: La Bella Vita food blog