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Italian Love Knot Cookies

Italian Love Knot Cookies! These tender cookies are also known as unicetti, taralli dolci, anginetti or simply Italian Easter cookies. A fun treat to make and eat!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Chill Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 dozen
Author: The Kitchen Prep

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest optional

For Icing

  • cups confectioners’ sugar
  • tablespoons milk or water
  • ¼ teaspoon desired extract, such as almond, lemon, anise or vanilla
  • nonpareils or sprinkles

Instructions

Make Cookie Dough

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add one egg at a time, beating after each addition. After all the eggs have been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat the mixture once more to ensure everything is well-combined.
  • Add vanilla extract and lemon juice. Add lemon zest if making lemon-flavored cookies. {Omit if you don't want them to taste like lemon.}
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until everything is just combined. Do not overmix. You will have a soft, sticky dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking pan by lining with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Shape the Cookies

  • When the dough is fully chilled, prepare your work station by lightly flouring to prevent the dough from sticking. Lightly flour your hands.
  • Scoop out a ball of dough with a medium cookie scoop and roll it until it's smooth. {It should be a bit smaller than a golf ball.} Roll the ball into a rope, about 7 inches long.
  • Carefully "tie" the dough into a knot. One end will poke up through the center. Place on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the rest of the dough until finished, leaving about 1½ inch between each cookie.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are puffed and lightly golden. Do not over-bake. {I like to check them at 10 minutes and see if the bottoms are getting too brown.} The cookies may crack a bit as they puff up during the baking process. That's ok! Remember they'll be covered with icing and sprinkles.
  • Remove from the oven and allow them to cool before icing.

Make Icing

  • In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, milk and extract until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture seems too watery, add a bit more confectioners' sugar to thicken. If the mixture is too thick, add a milk ¼ teaspoon at a time until it thins out. I usually know it's the right consistency when drizzling the icing with a spoon, it disappears into itself within 1 second.

Ice Cookies

  • When the cookies are cooled, dunk each one upside down into the icing, allowing the excess to drip off. Flip over and place on a cooling rack on a baking pan, allowing the icing to drip off.
  • Add nonpareils or sprinkles while the icing is still wet. Allow the icing to set completely before packaging or serving.