“Where troubles melt like lemon drops” the magical words once sung by Judy Garland. Though she was making reference to the lemon flavored candies, her tune might’ve been a bit different had she tried them in cookie form.
Lemon drop cookies or lemon twist cookies (also known as Anginetti) are dense and not overly sweet with a tangy lemon glaze. Some might say they are similar to Taralli but softer. They are a familiar cookie typically made at Easter, and a longstanding tradition in our home.
These popular biscotti are a typical southern Italian dessert whose recipe can be found in the repertoire of many a nonna, including our own. To do this day we still day we still use her traditional recipe which calls for oil (not butter), and is flavored with sweet vermouth (as were many of her old recipes –Cheers!). Another key ingredient is lemon juice (and zest) as opposed to extract; this is what gives them their distinct burst of citrus flavor which makes them a perfect pairing for a cup of tea (or of course espresso).
As with many classic cookies regional variations exist. There are recipes that utilize orange juice as the element of citrus, anise as the preferred liqueur and shortening or butter as the fat. Some recipes finish the cookies off with sprinkles or coarse sugar and some also see the dough shaped into knots, twists or wreaths.
When life (or our grocers) gives us lemons we’re quite happy to turn them into these tart lemon drop Easter cookies (Biscotti di Pasqua) which can also be made to order.