Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Anginetti / Lemon Knot Cookies, Maltese Style / The Quadrantid Meteor Showers and January’s Full Wolf Moon

A few years ago I posted the recipe for Carmela Soprano's Anginetti.
They’re also known as Italian Lemon Knot Cookies with Lemon Glaze.
The post has become very popular, especially during the holiday season.

One thing I learned when I was cooking my way through the two Sopranos cookbooks is that Carmela’s recipes are often a bit more complicated than Ma’s recipes.
This is also true about the Anginetti cookies.

Carmela’s cookies are individually cut and knotted, hence the name Lemon Knot.
Okay… the knots look pretty on a cookie tray, and they are not too much trouble if you’re only making three dozen cookies.

But, if you’re inviting the whole family over, three dozen cookies won’t be enough.
And, if you’re inviting the whole family over, you’re probably busy making more than just the cookies. 
Like appetizers, a baked pasta item, the main course, the veggies, other desserts…
You get the idea.

So if you’re going for taste more than visual, why not give Ma’s recipe a try?
In addition to being a featured item on your holiday cookie tray, lemon knots are a perfect light treat for when the family drops by in the summer!


Hints:

If you want to bake the cookies in advance, freeze them unfrosted.
When ready to use, remove them from the freezer, allow them to thaw and then top with frosting.

You can also use butter or solid margarine, instead of the solid vegetable shortening. You will need to add 25% more butter or margarine, since they have a lower fat content than shortening.
Cookies made with butter are more flavourful, but they spread more and are flatter and crisper if baked long enough. Cookies made with shortening bake up taller and are more tender.

If you want a stronger lemon flavour you can add more lemon extract. 


                        Anginetti


Makes 2 dozen cookies

Cookies

In a medium bowl sift together
2 Cups flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl beat together until light and fluffy
1⁄2 Cup sugar
1⁄4 Cup solid vegetable shortening (if using butter or margarine, please see hints)

Beat in
1 1⁄2 teaspoons lemon extract
Beat in, one at a time, until blended
3 large eggs
Beat well.
Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until blended.
The dough will be soft and sticky.  Don't add more flour.
Cover the bowl and chill the dough at least 2 hours. Overnight is better.

Lightly grease two baking sheets

Preheat oven to 350º

Scoop the dough with a spoon and place the dough on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.
Bake 12 - 15 minutes, until firm and lightly brown.
Transfer the cookies to racks and cool completely.


Frosting 

Place in a medium bowl
3 Cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Add 
1/4 Cup water gradually, beating until the glaze is  smooth.

Spread the frosting over the cookies.
Add 
multi-coloured sprinkles (optional)
Place them on racks and allow to dry thoroughly.
Store in an airtight container.


About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

January 4 - Set your alarms early to view the Quadrantid Meteor Shower. This is a strong shower, radiating from the constellation Boötes, The Herdsman, and can produce up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. 
Also January 4 is the latest sunrise of 2017. 

January 8 - Look to the east to see the waxing gibbous moon, the bright reddish star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster. Aldebaran will be the brightest star near the Moon, the Pleiades cluster will be above it to the left. Binoculars make for best viewing. Aldebaran is the bright reddish eye of Taurus the Bull.

January 12 - Full Wolf Moon at 6:34 a.m. To see how this full Moon got its name, watch this Farmers’ Almanac short video.

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