A tradition in Italian families, these Easter Egg Cookies bring out the biggest smiles and make the best memories. We made a batch last week for Easter and decided the recipe was too good not to share!
Aunt Jo Ann, who lives for sharing her traditional Italian foods, started teaching me how to make these awesome delicacies years ago. It’s a fun, hands-on activity that brings us together to make some truly tasty treats! Each year, I bring Aunt Jo Ann lots of eggs from the bakery, and she pre-cooks them to hard-boiled. The next day, we start the cookie portion of our recipe, roll out the dough, and assemble the hard-boiled Easter eggs into the dough.
While some people don’t love the liquorice flavor of anise, the combination of real vanilla and anise seed used together in this recipe create such a dreamy, mellow flavor! The finished cookies smell like the finest Italian bakeries you can image – don’t skimp on the anise!
I brought some of the cookies back to the bakery for Team Cheeks to enjoy. When I handed one to Noel, one of our newest bakers (who is ½ Italian and also from New Jersey), his expression said it all. With tears in his eyes, he said he hadn’t seen traditional Italian Easter Egg Cookies since his grandmother made them for him as a child…priceless!
Ingredients for Dough
- ½ lb – Margarine or butter (we use butter)
- 6 – Eggs
- 6 tsp – Baking powder
- 1 ½ cups – Sugar
- 1 Tbsp – Vanilla
- 1 Tbsp – Anise seed
- 2 tsp – Anise extract (or Lemon if you prefer)
- 5 cups – Flour
Ingredients for Glaze
- ½ cup – Confectioner’s (10x) sugar
- ¼ cup – Water
- 1 tsp – Vanilla extract
- 18 – Eggs, hard-boiled
- Rainbow nonpareils
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Beat eggs well.
- Add baking powder to vanilla and anise flavoring, then beat into eggs.
- Cream butter with sugar and add in beaten egg mixture.
- Mix in flour with either a paddle attachment on a mixer or with hands, a little at a time, until dough won’t stick to sides of bowl.
- Let dough rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Roll out dough and cut into logs approximately as wide as your finger. Form each log into a ribbon (like the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbons) and reserve 2 more small lengths to create a cross shape.
- Place a hard-boiled egg on the hole of the ribbon shaped dough and add the last pieces of dough to make the cross shape over the egg. Seal the cross to the ribbon over the egg with a touch of water.
- [Optional] Brush with an egg wash (raw egg and water).
- Bake at 375º on a parchment-lined pan or a floured and greased pan for 10-12 minutes or until slightly brown.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, water, and vanilla extract to create a thin glaze. Brush glaze over the baked cookie dough (avoiding the eggs) and sprinkle with rainbow nonpareils. Allow to dry.
- Approx. 18 egg cookies (or additional shapes of choice)
- If you have extra dough after using all of your hard-boiled eggs, you can shape into “S” shapes or whatever you like! (I make pretzel shapes for my pretzel-loving husband.)
Give our recipe a try and feel free to share your photos to our Facebook page! We’d love to see your creations!