We had a nice Thanksgiving in New Haven with Nonni, my dad, my great uncle Joe, and great aunt Reggie. After all of my turkey talk, there was no actual turkey consumed. There never is at Nonni’s. She’ll usually make some kind of pasta first course (manicotti, this year), some kind of meat (like porchetta), roasted potatoes, some kind of stuffed vegetable (like stuffed mushrooms, if that counts as a vegetable), and maybe a few other things. Then, the obligatory trio of pies: pumpkin, cheesecake, and perhaps rice. And, if you’re my dad, you’ll top that off with four of five Klondike Bars from the freezer after everyone leaves.
With her 89th birthday approaching next week, Nonni’s slowing down just a bit. Meaning that when I dare to contribute some squash and cranberry sauce to the spread, she still gets super-pissed, but I can totally outrun her.
Right after dessert, the Toddler stopped his yelling so we knew something was wrong. He spiked a fever soon afterwards. Worried about Nonni’s octogenarian immune system, I suggested she might not want to kiss the Toddler good-bye and risk catching whatever bug he might be carrying. Her response: “That’s true. If I get sick, I might not be able to get pregnant.”
That’s what I get.
These frosted citrus cookies are kid magnets. Must be the sprinkles. Both Nonni and my great-aunt Dava always had these around for us kids around the holidays.
½ cup shortening (or butter, softened)
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup orange juice
½ tsp. orange extract
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. lemon extract
½ tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening (or butter) and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add orange juice and orange extract, and mix (if using butter, it may congeal unattractively during the mixing process, but it doesn’t matter). Sift together flour and baking powder. Stir into wet ingredients until combined.
Drop by smallish tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove just before they start to take on color. Cool.
For icing, mix confectioner’s sugar with lemon extract and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add about 2 Tbsp. of milk and whisk until smooth (you want it thick enough to cling to the cookies without being gloppy; if it’s too thick, add milk a few drops at a time or you risk thinning it out too much). Dip cookies top-down into icing and set on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper to contain the mess. Shake colored sprinkles over the top before the icing dries. Let stand until set.
Makes about 30. Recipe can be doubled.
Dava [Barbaresi] Catone
New Haven, Connecticut - Hamden, Connecticut
1921 – 1998
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