One of my earliest memories involves cookies; specifically eating cookies. My cousin Mark and I were only a month apart in age and we were the best of friends, collaborating on all kinds of escapades. His mom, my Aunt Avis always served these tasty frosted cookies at Christmas along with many other types of cookies but these were my favorite. My first memory of them: I was about 3 years old and Mark and I sat under the dining room table sneaking these delectable cookies and stuffing our face with as many as possible before being found out.
The round, bon-bon shape of these frosted cookies is quite appealing to a young child; they fit perfectly in a small fist. I know it was an oversight on her part but, Aunt Avis never should have put that plate so close to the edge of the table.
I don’t know how many we ate but the only thing I remember about that Christmas is the flavor of these tasty cookies and the pleasure we got from eating them before we were caught and told to go play somewhere else.
Anytime these cookies are baking, the aroma of anise and pecans takes me back more than a few years and all of a sudden I’m 3 years old again sitting under that dining room table sneaking cookies, delighting in the taste and smell of these delicious Italian Wedding Cookies.
Aunt Avis’ Italian Wedding Cookies
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 4 cups flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp anise extract
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time beating each one to incorporate.
- Add almond & anise extracts beating till blended.
- Mix in dry ingredients alternating with milk, mixing only till smooth.
- Stir in pecans by hand being careful to not over mix .
- Form dough into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
- 2 teaspoons shortening
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tsp white corn syrup
- Cream shortening, sugar and milk until smooth.
- Stir in almond extract and corn syrup.
- Frost cookies by dipping them or drizzle frosting over them on a rack.
- They should look like round tea cakes.
NOTE: This recipe calls for shortening not butter. It doesn’t work as well with butter. My aunt told me it was a recipe from WWII when things were rationed and butter was not easy to obtain.