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Cookies without Nuts
biscotti di lemoni
Biscotti di Lemoni (Italian lemon cookies, with vegetable oil and lemon juice; glazed)
Originated from: Puglia, Italy
Occasion: Special times
Contributed by: Mrs. Yolanda DiTullio

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For the dough (makes about 150 cookies)

9 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
9 teaspoons Magic baking powder
Juice of 2 lemons
4 cups of flour (Or, as much as need)

For the lemon glaze
3 egg whites
Juice of 1 lemon
about 2 lbs of icing sugar


To make the cookies

1. Preheat oven to 300 F degrees.

2. With an electric mixer, beat 9 eggs and 3 egg yolks.

3. Add sugar, vegetable oil, juice of 2 lemons.

4. Mix flour with Magic baking powder.

5. Incorporate liquids and solids, working into a soft cookie dough.

6. Take a small chunk of dough - about a tablespoon -- and using the palm of your hand flatten it out on a floured wooden board.

7. Using the palms of your hands turn the strips of dough into very tiny taralli-style logs.

8. Twirl the tiny taralli-style logs round each other so that three concentric circles are kind of formed -- the bottom part is a touch larger than the second one, and the last one sticks out a little. The dough should be soft, so that the logs should easily stick together, and if they don't they can be pinched a little to do so. The end result should look like a tight swirl. [See photo].

9. Place the cookie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

10. Continue processing the dough, and placing the cookies on the baking sheet, making sure there is ample space between the cookies.

11. Place in the oven, middle rack, and bake for about 15 minutes (The cookies should be whitish, not golden, when ready).

12. Remove and place the cookies on the table, and let cool for 2 to 3 hours.

To make the frosting

13. When the cookies have cooled, make the frosting. To make the frosting beat egg whites for 2 to 3 minutes (Do NOT make soft peaks -- beating is all that is required). Add juice of 2 lemons to the beaten egg whites. Using a wooden spoon, slowly incorporate the icing sugar.

14. Place two or three cookies at a time in the frosting mixture, and coat the cookies with the frosting. When the cookie is taken out of the mixture, make sure that any excess frosting is removed (Can use your fingers to do this).

15. Place the frosted cookie on a table or board lined with wax paper.

16. Let the cookies air dry for 6 to 8 hours.

17. Store in a cold room,"candina," until needed. Or place in the fridge.

18. Serve at room temperature.


The cookies shown in this entry were made by Mrs. Yolanda DiTullio who learned how to do the recipe years ago from her late sister-in-law (Mrs. Teresa DiTullio). While everyone in the Melfi family associated this recipe with Mrs. Teresa DiTullio and so assumed this was a traditional recipe from the Molise region, it now turns out that, in fact, Mrs. Teresa DiTullio picked up this recipe from a neighbor who was born near Bari. If Mrs. Yolanda DiTullio hadn't informed the Melfi clan of this minor detail, everyone of them would have sworn on a Bible that this style of cookie belonged to Molise and not to Puglia. There are no sure things in life, particularly when it comes to one's cultural culinary heritage. Why just look at the name of this recipe. North Americans have been led to believe (modern-day Italians too!) that a "biscotti" can only be a "biscotti" if the cookie is "twice-baked." However, prior to World War II, those living in the Southern Italian countryside often used the word "biscotti" the way most of us now use the word "biscuit" in North America. The words "biscotti" and "pasticcio" ("pastic'" in dialect) were generic terms for any style of cookie. Well, so it was in some little towns, though obviously not in all.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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