i’ve been back to *real life* for two weeks now – it’s amazing how time flies. italy sort of feels like a distant dream and i try and remember the scenes and smells and feels every day so i they don’t fade away as quickly. i miss wandering stone streets and always being in awe at the beauty of everything around me. i miss always eating and having wine and grappa with lunch, a million espressos a day, and the hot breeze.
the only thing i missed about home is being in the kitchen. i didn’t cook for the whole 3 weeks i was there, which at first felt weird, then i embraced it, but then by the end i really missed it. my last week was spent with my family, so each day was filled with one of my zia’s feeding me plates on plates of delicious food: arancini, braised peppers, pasta, foccacia, cheese, meats bread, and desserts. i wasn’t allowed to help cook or clean – they were excited and happy to care for me in the way only italian women know how. as relaxing as it was, i was itching to get back to cooking and cleaning. am i such a weirdo that i missed doing dishes? the answer is yes, yes i am and i’m totally okay with it. i love eating and napping as much as the next girl, but where i feel the most like me is in the kitchen, creating something delicious.
i’ve been trying to get back into the routine of healthy-ish eating during the week, after living off of a diet of carbs and cheese for a month, so the only cooking i’ve actually done is filling my fridge with boring foods like brown rice, various beans and chopped veggies. it still felt good to be chopping things and moving around my own kitchen with ease, and i *guess* i feel pretty good about getting back into my normal routine. but i haven’t made anything super exciting except orzo with tomatoes and corn, and these lemon tarallucci, and let’s be honest, cookies are way more exciting that pasta salad. sorry orzo, i still love you.
i made these cookies because i was invited to a friends house to make pizza, and being in italy and attending so many gatherings reinforced my already very strong belief that you should never show up anywhere empty handed. since i was feeling a lil’ rusty, i needed something easy but still impressive to make, and so i consulted my really, reallllly long list of things i want to cook* which reminded me of these lemon twist cookies my nona used to make! they are lemony and soft and cakey, with a sweet lemon glaze that hugs it’s little curves. traditionally the cookies are made with regular sunflower or vegetable oil, but i decided to use olive oil since i’m really missing tasting it’s bitter fruitiness in almost everything. the dough is really forgiving and comes together pretty quickly, so it’s the perfect thing to make if you want something low-key but will still make your host go *woahhhhh*.
*yes i have a list. it’s obnoxiously long and divided up by season and course. and i don’t think i’ll ever get through it all but my life goal is to try!
lemon olive oil tarallucci
*makes 24 cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
generous pinch of salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons lemon juice
lemon zest for garnish (optional)
preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
in a medium sized bowl. whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. with a stand mixer or hand held mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together for about 1 minute. add the oil, vanilla extract, the lemon zest, lemon juice and mix until combined. mix in the flour mixture until just combined. the dough should be very soft and pliable.
cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a work surface. if the dough is still too sticky to handle, add a bit more flour and work in until it doesn’t stick your hands. cut off pieces of dough about the size of a golf ball, and roll into a log about 1/2 an inch wide, then twist pieces around each other. place on cookie sheet and repeat until dough is used up – you should be able to fit 12 to a pan.
bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are pale and edges are just starting to brown. cool on wire rack.
once cookies are cooled, whisk the sifted icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl until fully combined. dip cookies face down into the glaze, then let excess drip off. garnish with lemon zest or petals, and enjoy! best enjoyed if eaten within 3 days (if they last that long).