For taralli dough
5 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
2/3 cups butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extra
Multi-colored sprinkles (optional)
o Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
o Beat eggs.
o Add oil to the eggs and mix well.
o Mix the sugar and flour together.
o On a wooden board make a mound with the flour and sugar mixture.
o Make a well in the center of the mound and add the egg mixture.
o Work the mixture into a fine dough, adding a touch more flour if it is too sticky, or adding another egg if the dough is too hard.
o Knead the dough lightly (For some peculiar reason kneading is best done by hand for sweet taralli -- at least the first part should be done by hand, and then when one has a smooth dough one can put it in an electric mixer and continue kneading the dough until it is very smooth and "shiny.").
o Shape the dough into a log -- about 4 inches wide and 2 inches high.
o Cut a slice of the log (about 1/2 inch thick) and turn it into a 9 inch rope long and 1/2 inch thick (Do this by rolling the dough between the palms of your hands or by rolling it on the floured wooden board.).
o Shape the 9 inch rope into a circle (or a half bow) and pinch the ends together.
o Continue making the taralli until all the dough is processed.
o Bake in a greased baking sheet (or one lined with a silicon baking mat) for about 30 minutes or until the taralli are golden brown (Sweet taralli don't require as much time in the oven as "plain" or "salty" taralli as most people prefer them to be a bit on the soft side, rather than hard and crunchy as "plain" taralli are. Sweet taralli taste more like cookies and less like pretzels.)
o Cool before removing from baking sheet.
To make Icing
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Place the mixture in a pan and place on the stove.
3. Heat at low temperatures until lukewarm, stirring constantly.
4. When the mixture is smooth and creamy (looks like icing) remove from heat.
5. Brush the tops of the taralli with the icing.
6. Add multi-colored sprinkles (optional).
8. Keep in fridge until they are served.
The recipe in this entry, "taralli dolci di pasqua," appears on three very popular cooking websites: "fooddownunder.com," "bigoven.com" and "en.allexperts.com." If fact, the recipes are copies of each other -- word for word! I have no idea where the original recipe comes from, but I suspect it is a North American adaptation of a traditional recipe. Most "traditional" recipes for taralli come from the South, and Southern cooking rarely includes butter (Well, it didn't prior to World War II). In the old days few farmers in the South could afford to keep cows -- they were just too expensive to raise. Besides, those that did keep cows, used the milk to make cheese (not butter). In any case, olive trees grew well in the South, and so their fruit was used to make olive oil. Whether one uses oil or butter to make these sweet taralli, they have a pleasant enough taste. Obviously, the icing will appeal to those who have a sweet tooth.... Photo: by the contributor.