Italian Easter Cookies, or Knots
12 Medium eggs
4 Tablespoons milk
2 Cups oil
2 Teaspoons vanilla
4 Cups sugar
12 Cups flour
4 Tablespoons baking powder
Cream sugar and oil. Whip eggs until lemony. Combine with sugar mixture and beat until light.
Sift dry ingredients together. Combine with egg mixture and knead until air bubbles are out. You
will have a dough that can be kneaded and rolled and shaped. Roll out long tubes about a half inch
in diameter, cut into four- inch long pieces, tie into knots or just make circles. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees until lightly browned. Frost with lemon or anise frosting, sprinkle with confetti colored sprinkles. May use red and green sprinkles to make into Christmas cookies. To make these into true Italian Easter cookies, roll out a large, flat round of dough and shape it into a boy or a girl shape, about six to eight inches in height.
Flatten the shape onto a cookie sheet. Make dough ropes and braid them into arms, which are held akimbo on the hips. Set a hard-boiled egg into the belly of the figures, braid some more dough, and criss-cross the eggs with two braids, fastening it down to the body of the figure. Add cloves for eyes and mouth. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees until lightly browned. Make clothing with lemon or anise frosting, leaving the facial features unfrosted. These are traditionally given to each boy or girl child on Easter Sunday. Nowadays, we make more nontraditional chickens and bunnies, for the same purpose.
Putting the egg in the stomach seems to be a leftover allusion to an ancient spring fertility ritual. Frosting:
1 box powdered sugar
Few tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons lemon or anise flavoring.