Picture this: Imagine yourself in a sun-drenched village on the Amalfi Coast, strolling down cobblestone lanes lined with colorful stucco homes. As you make your way through the narrow streets, you catch the scent of the Sea and an ascent reminiscent of sweet and sour lemons – the legendary Amalfi lemons, famous for their intense flavor and intoxicating smell.
That moment, as soon as you bite into it, you have the flavors of buttery sweetness dancing on your tongue, directly from southern Italy.
Sounds amazing, right? Thought so, too! Let me take you to the sunlit village on the Amalfi Coast and share this recipe with you!
How to Make Italian Lemon Cookies (Anginetti)
Ready to make delicious cookies? Let’s go!
Full Ingredients List:
For the Cookies:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened over the stove or microwave
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- A pinch of sal
For the Lemon Icing:
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Colored sprinkles (optional for decoration)
Don’t have some of this on your hands? No worries! Here are some suggestions.
- Lemon zest – orange zest, lime zest
- Fresh lemon juice – lemon or lime juice store-bought
- All-purpose flour – gluten-free flour blend
- Granulated sugar – 2 tbsp stevia
How to make Italian Lemon Cookies
Let’s get down to business and make this deliciousness!
Prepare the Cookie Dough:
Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk the softened butter and sugar together until it reaches a light and fluffy texture; then, one at a time, add in the eggs.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, baking powder, and salt to make a flour mixture. Then add the step 1 mixture, gradually mixing with a hand mixer or electric mixer until you have a soft dough, you can use low to medium speed here.
Shape the Cookies:
Step 3: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a slightly greased cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Step 4: One tablespoonful at a time, form the dough into a ball and set it on the baking sheet – this is why it’s called drop dough!
Note: Make sure there’s enough space between each cookie, as they will expand slightly.
Bake the Cookies:
Step 5: In a preheated 350°F oven, bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. When done, remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool at room temperature for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Note: Make sure the top stays pale – ONLY the bottom should be golden.
How to Prepare the Lemon Icing:
Step 6: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and fresh lemon zest in a small bowl and whisk until smooth – if available, use a bowl of a stand mixer.
Note: If the icing is too thick, add more lemon juice. If it’s too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.
Ice the Cookies:
Step 7: Once the cookies are completely cooled, dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the lemon icing and allow any excess icing to drip off – the more drips, the tastier, in my opinion!
Tip: Alternatively, make a simple lemon glaze on the top.
Optional: Place them back on the wire rack and, if desired, add sprinkles while the icing is still wet.
Allow the icing to set before serving – enjoy!
Helpful Tips for this Recipe
Looking to make this recipe even better? We’ve got you!
Color and Texture of Cookie Dough
If you want a brighter lemon flavor, add a drop or two of lemon extract to the dough to make it pop. While if you’re looking for a lighter cookie, don’t overwork the dough and mix it enough for the ingredients to combine.
Here are some other things I found useful:
- Use fresh lemons instead of bottled lemon juice to get brighter cookies and a better taste with the fresh zest.
- Make all cookies the same size to make baking or storing easier.
- Don’t overbake as they will lose their light color and make them too dry.
- Aim for icing that’s thick but is still runny enough to make it easy to ice. It’ll run off the cookie if it’s too thin, while it won’t spread easily if it’s too thick.
- Decorate while the cookies are wet and dry, especially if you plan to use sprinkles or similar.
- Let the dough chill to make it easier to handle, especially if it is too soft or sticky.
- Bake one or two cookies as a test before you make an entire batch, and then potentially waste your hard work if you don’t like the texture.
- Give it variety by adding other citrus tastes, such as orange or lime zest, for a twist.
What to Serve Italian Lemon Cookies With
These Italian lemon drop cookies can quickly become your new go-to comfort food if you’re anything like me. However, if you want to be a bit more fancy, you can pair them with other things that will make them perfect for special occasions, such as family gatherings.
- Coffee – especially cappuccino or espresso!
- Tea – go for Early Grey, chamomile, or green tea to compliment the lemon with floral notes.
- Limoncello – the Italian go-to liquor will intensify your cookie experience, no doubt!
Gelato & Ice Cream
Gelato or ice cream, such as any of these flavors, won’t overpower the lemon flavor:
- Lemon (yes, even that one!)
Cheese also pairs really well with this dessert, but especially Ricotta and Mascarpone!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Got questions? We have the answers!
Wait for the icing to set completely before you put the cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to a week – this helps keep them fresh.
How to store leftover icing?
You can just put the excess glaze in the refrigerator – if it thickens up after it’s chilled, you can thin it with a bit of lemon juice or milk so it’s ready for your next batch.
Yes! You can freeze them by placing a single layer of them into the freezer until they’re solid. Then, you can transfer them to a zip-top bag or airtight container with some parchment paper to separate the layers.
Note: You can freeze them for up to 3 months.
Great question! This could be due to the size of the eggs or the humidity in your environment. If it’s too sticky, just place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or add a little more flour.
Can I make Anginetti Cookies gluten-free?
Instead of using all-purpose flour, replace it with a gluten-free flour blend and check for any adjustments you need to make since gluten-free flour can behave differently than regular flour.
There are various reasons, but the most common is that you overbaked it. When baking the cookies, watch them closely and remove them when the bottoms are slightly golden. If that’s not it, another reason could be that you overmixed the dough, which develops the gluten more and results in harder cookies.
Italian recipes are my favorite because they’re so versatile; whether you want something more citrusy or chocolaty, you will always find something.
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