Last year, I made anginetti — Italian Easter cookies — from a recipe of unknown provenance. It was not my Italian grandmother’s, but it felt very much like something that should have been. Do you ever find yourself reaching for roots that aren’t quite planted? Consciously channeling a heritage to which you wish you more fully belonged? Having never even tasted anginetti before, baking these cookies made me feel like a bit of an imposter — but then I reminded myself that it is human to want to belong, and also human to want to remember people we’ve lost, sometimes in ways that feel oblique or contrived, even ersatz.
And nature reminds me that there are, in fact, roots of different varieties: the deep-seated tap roots that anchor us, but also the feathery lateral ones that keep us fed closer to the surface.
I plan on making the anginetti again this year. New traditions introduce themselves awkwardly at the beginning, as though wearing too-big shoes, but I think to a future where, maybe, these cookies mean something to my children. If not a reminder of their Italian heritage, then one small way in which their mother tried to make things special.
Anginetti — Italian Easter Cookies for a New Tradition
These cookies are, on their own and absent my heavy-handed tradition-making, a delight. Dense and lemon-y. My sister could not stop talking about them. In my opinion, the style of sprinkles make the cookies–you need them flat and pastel. You can buy them here.
For the cookies:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (grated from rind, no white pith)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (lightly whisked with fork)
1/4 cup whole milk
4 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 teaspoons water
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts, lemon zest, and salt. Add the eggs and beat for a full minute until light and fluffy. Add the milk and baking powder and beat for another 30 seconds. Finally, blend in the flour, but take care not to over-mix at this stage or you will develop the gluten and your cookies will be tough. The dough will be soft and sticky. Be sure to chill the dough at least 1 hour—cold dough is easier to work with. Use flour-dusted hands when working with the dough. If storing overnight, take out dough, pat into a disc and tightly wrap in plastic.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break off pieces and form into balls. (You can also make them into other traditional Italian cookie shapes, like horns, rings, etc.)
Bake about 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies will not brown on top, so look for a light golden browning on the bottoms.
Make the glaze: Into a bowl sift 2 cups powdered sugar. In a separate, small bowl place 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (you should be able to extract this from 1 large lemon). Add 2 teaspoons pure lemon extract and 2 teaspoons water. Drizzle over cooled cookies and top with sprinkles.
+A cookie recipe that did belong to my Grandma Carm. We make them on Christmas Eve, but they’d be good any time of year.
+Saks is running a 25% off Friends and Family sale that is primarily focused on current-season pieces from great labels. My top picks are the Lilly Pulitzer shifts for babies and girls (25% off and otherwise hard to find on sale), one of the on-trend Marni woven bags (smaller size here), and…WAH this splurgey Bernadette dress, which has been haunting my dreams as the perfect gown for an end-of-summer wedding we’re attending in Maine. This solid-colored Staud (comes in a few pretty hues, also included) has a similar shape — have my eye on the pink. All of my Saks sale picks here.
+These linen platforms were just re-stocked. I’ve had them in my cart all weekend. I’m a little intimidated by height — don’t often go that high anymore — but they just feel right for spring festivities with all the pretty florals we have in mind.
+Swooning over this Fanm Mon dress. The embroidered flowers at the bustline! Oh my gosh!
+I’m obsessed with the pink color on this striped J. Crew button down. So good.
+Love the look of these lattice planters. Great price!
+Legitimately can’t believe this dress is $132. It looks so much more expensive — the silhouette, the pattern!
+These are the most joyful pajamas I’ve ever seen for a little one. So happy.
+For Easter, I ended up buying mini this daffodil dress and micro this pastel button-down, which is somehow on sale. You can get 10% off your entire order (including sale) with code LESPRING23. How I’ll style them below, with all details/links here. More cute Easter outfits for littles here, plus Easter basket fillers here.
+This chic everyday boho dress is $36 — I’m such a sucker for billowy, nightgown-like dresses at home.
+I’m not really a mini gal but the botanical print on this skirt (and the ric rac) are SO good. And, like $16 right now with codes.
+FUN pop of orange. Love the shape of the dress, too — would work with bump and while nursing, FYI. Don’t be afraid of color! Some of my best and most favorite pieces are unexpected colors.
+A great belt to pair with spring dresses. Love it in the blue. For something wider, I am LOVING this one from J. McLaughlin — the raffia feels like it goes with everything. I have it in the natural color. It does not have pre-bored holes so you can cinch it to the perfect size, which I love.