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Cookies without Nuts
Nodini ("Little Knots," Italian wedding cookies, with vegetable oil, lemon zest and vanilla)
Originated from: Guardialfiera, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Weddings
Contributed by: Rita Palazzo (her mother's recipe)

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For the cookie dough (Makes about 28 to 36 cookies, depending on size)

3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 to 2 cups icing sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice


To make the cookies

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Beat eggs.

3. Add oil and vanilla to the eggs.

4. In a separate bowl mix flour, sugar, and baking powder together.

5. Incorporate the dry ingredients with the liquids, working into a firm but malleable cookie dough (Add a touch more flour if needed).

6. Divide the cookie dough into two portions.

7. Wrap one portion with plastic wrap, while the first is being processed.

8. Using a rolling pin roll out the first portion of dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

9. Cut strips of dough -- about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

10. Roll the strips of dough between the palm of your hands or a floured wooden board -- making ropes of about 5 to 6 inches long.

11. Tie the ropes into a knots (if the ends are two long, cut them a little [See photo]).

12. Place the nodini on a greased cookie sheet.

13. Repeat steps 7 to 12 for second portion of dough.

14. Place the cookie sheets in the upper half of the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are golden (If the bottoms of the cookies cook faster than the tops turn on the broiler towards the end of the cooking cycle).

15. Remove from oven and cool.


16. Place the lemon juice in a pan and warm it up.

17. Slowly add 1 cup icing sugar, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Add more lemon juice or more icing sugar, depending on the desired consistency (The more lemon juice one adds the thinner will be the frosting).

18. Brush the nodini with the frosting.

19. Place the nodini on a platter (Please note that if any of the frosting drips onto the platter, the nodini might stick to it, so either make sure the frosting doesn't drip onto the plate, or temporarily place them on a platter that is lined with a silicon baking mat and later when serving, place them on a decorative plate).

19. Keep the nodini in the fridge until needed.

20. Serve at room temperature.


Prior to World War II nodini were only made for weddings in the region of Molise. Many of those who immigrated to North America in the 1950s retained this tradition, though a few did chose to offer these cookies at other major life celebrations such as baptisms and First Holy Communions. Photo: Mary Melfi.

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