Italian Taralluces

Italian Taralluces
(makes about 100 little Taralle cookies)

-Traditionally, an Italian Christmas cookie but,  like Purim’s Hamantaschen, too delicious not to offer anytime of the year!

Ingredients

For cookies:
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 fresh orange (juice and the zest)
4-6 cups all-purpose flour
5 heaping tsp. baking powder

For icing:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 TBSP butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a drop of almond extract
2-5 TBSP milk, as needed
Rainbow Jimmies/Sprinkles

Directions for the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl cream together softened butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add vanilla. Grate orange zest from orange; add to mixture. Extract juice from orange; add to mixture. Blend well.  In separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
Gradually add flour/baking powder to the creamed egg mixture, beating continuously to form smooth dough. Knead dough by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth. Place dough under a glass bowl to keep moist while forming the cookies.
Form each cookie from a small piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll each ball by hand into a 5–6-inch rope. Twist the rope into a knot. Place formed taralles on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 minutes on second rack from the bottom, until bottom is slightly brown. Move tray to upper oven rack and bake for additional 2–3 minutes until top of cookie is lightly browned. Allow taralles to cool before icing.

Directions for the icing:

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract. Gradually add milk to make a smooth icing. Mix with a whisk. If necessary add more milk for proper spreading consistency.
Ice each Taralles by dipping the cookie into the icing and then smoothing the icing around the cookie with your finger.
Sprinkle with rainbow jimmies.

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