These cookies have so many different names, but I only know them as “Lemon Knots”. They are also known as Italian Lemon Cookies, Italian Bow Knots, Anginetti, and Taralucci.

Along with the many different names are the many variations of making them, but the end result is a soft, slightly crumbly, moist cookie, with the distinctive flavor of pure lemon throughout. They are definitely an Italian tradition!!

You can add nonpareils or not, it’s up to you, but the frosting is made with pure lemon juice, a little grated lemon peel, and powdered sugar.


5 cups unbleached flour

3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 bottle of pure lemon extract or,( 1 oz.)
Grated lemon rind
5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 Cup of sugar
1 3/4 cup of shortening

Mix together flour, eggs, milk, lemon extract and rind, sugar, and baking powder, in large bowl. Add shortening till it forms a dough. You might need to add some more milk or more flour to get the right consistency, but after doing so, take golf ball size pieces and shape them into balls or roll them like a log and tie them in a bow, or make a horseshoe shape and twist them over like I did. Bake at 350 degrees for exactly 15 minutes.

When they cool dip them in the icing and place them on wax paper untill they set.


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  1. Looks refreshing and a nice change from all the gingerbread lately! I saw Giada de Laurentis make something like this on her show.

  2. Nice refreshing idea!!
    Ciao ciao

  3. Love the cookies oh and the icing is wonderful

  4. I took note of the 5 cups of flour as the first ingredient and thought “Wow! She put a lot of effort into these!!” Usually when I get around to doing cookies the amount of flour used is rarely over 2 cups. And I am always relieved when I’ve finished shaping/rolling the last of it.

    I am sure they are as delicious as they look. Happy cookie baking!

  5. Thanks happy cook!!

    Rowena, I figure if I’m going to total my kitchen, I might as well make alot!! (ha ha) Besides I give them away anyway!!

  6. btw …. my oven does not get to 350C !!!! It is 350F?

  7. food traveller, Yes, it is 350F

  8. Grandma’s famous italian cookies

  9. Soft, moist lemony cookies sound good.

  10. oooo, I love lemon cookies. Those look so fun and festive. My boys would love these. I’ll have to make them soon!

  11. give some away to me please, please, please:) You know me and my addiction to lemon and sweet things Marie!!!

  12. We call these “tarals”. Marie, these bring back so many memories for me. I used go to my grandmothers house for cookie baking day near the holidays. When too little to do anything else, I iced and put on the sprinkles. I can smell the baking cookies as I sit here now..and taste them as well.
    Thank you, Marie. Thanks so much 🙂

  13. Yum! These look like Mom’s cookies, but the ingredients are in a more normal portion. Only 5 cups of flour, not 5 pounds!

  14. Jenren, Actually these are not Gramma’s cookies, totally different,I’ll tell you why on Tuesday.

    Thanks Kevin!!

    Hope you try them Jenny!!

    Come on over Lorraine, I got a cookie tin waiting for you!

    Maryann, I’m glad I brought up some happy memories for you. Before you know it your little cutie will be baking with you!!

    Jo, Looks like Mom’s but are not. She made more of a biscotti type, which was hard with annisette, these are soft like the bakery ones, with lemon in the frosting and inside.

  15. Hey you’ve been busy cookie baking! These look nice and light.

  16. How very cool! I have never known anyone else to make these. I posted a version last week – but misquoted the name, I believe. These look wonderful!

  17. Susan, I have!! I’m finally done!

    Chris,Thanks, I’m going to check yours out!

  18. We usually make these too – but we flavor them with anise. But they look exactly the same and we call them “wedding knots”. So cool!

  19. this post brought tears to my eyes…. my family makes something similar (we do almond flavor as well as lemon)…. and it’s been a long time since ive laid eyes on these cookies!

  20. Hi Jenn, Anise sounds real good too!

    Meghan, Isn’t it something how certain foods bring up great memories?? Glad you stopped by.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hey thanks for the yummy cookie recipe. i though i leave my blog of recipes.It’s enjoy.

  22. Thank you so much for this! My family has made these cookies for generations, and I have never been able to find anyone else who makes them–although I knew there had to be other people out there!

  23. I bake a similar cookie (looks exactly the same) but with anise. I call them anise twists. My aunt Rose taught me how to make them many years ago…my sisters and I call them dunkers…we love to dunk them in a cup of coffee! Can’t wait to try the lemon version. Thanks for sharing.

    • Felicia Barosa says:

      Please can you send me the annesette hard cookie recipe as I lost mine in moving. Thank you.

  24. I have a family recipe too for these delightful cookies. However, I found the almond paste too pricey at my supermarkets. I asked my local Italian bakery on Long Island, New York that I frequent, if they would sell me almond paste. To my suprise they did! I paid $4.00 for a 1/2 lb. Hey, you don’t ask, you won’t get! Good luck.

  25. I remember enjoying these made by my grandmother (direct from Italy) She called them Tadati.

  26. Marie…I remember my grandma making these! Yum,!, at the risk of sounding silly…what is the recipe for the icing???
    Do you put any lemon flavoring in it??.

    • Angela, I usually take a whole bag of powdered sugar, dump it in a bowl, add lemon juice and water or milk to get the right consistency. You might want to add a little lemon extract too, just taste it for the right lemon flavor you want.

  27. Rosanne Steinhilber says:

    How many cookies does this recipe make?

    • Roseanne, at least 5 dozen.

      • Anne Roberts says:

        HELP! Does anyone know if I can bake these ahead of time and/or store or freeze?
        If so, is it better to hold off on icing them and do it when ready to serve?
        Baking for wedding but cannot bake the day before – probably a week before.
        Thanks much for your input.

        • Ann yes you can, I would freeze them up to 3 weeks, a month the longest, I like them as fresh as possible. My friends frost them before but I prefer to defrost them then frost as needed, sometimes the frosting starts to crack if you do them ahead of time and they might not look as nice.

          • Marie,
            Thanks a million! I do want them to taste as fresh as possible, and was concerned about icing them in advance for the very reason you’ve stated. Curious if you or your friends ever stored them in an air tight container and frosted later? I hope to complete my baking a week ahead of schedule. I think I’ll go the “freeze ahead route” and frost later.
            Appreciate your input, very very much!

          • Anne, I cool them down completely, then place wax paper between the layers in an air tight container for sure!

  28. Marie ~ That’s great news! Concerned that I may run out of freezer space and glad that I can use air tight container(s) as backup. Certainly appreciate your help. Many thanks again!

  29. Marie,

    Marie ~ Decided to ask another question. Have you ever mixed the dough the night before and refrigerated it for baking the following day? I have and it worked out okay. One time, however, I tried freezing a dough, same consistency but lemon version, and the dough became discolored. Just curious.


  30. I can’ wait to make these for my husband. We moved to Michigan 8 years ago & I know he misses his Families Traditional Italian Christmas Dinners. and I want to make some of the dishes for him. I am having a hard time finding a recipe because no one has handed it down as it’s all done by memory. don’t even know how to spell it but here goes It’s pronounced GO DO DEEKS a simple pastry type cookie they dip in karo syrup. do you have a recipe like this & would you share it with me?

    • I have not heard of that pastry, but it might sound different because of dialect, if I find something out I will contact you Chris.

  31. I love these cookies. I used to make them with my mom for Christmas <3
    * But I have a question I was looking at her recipe and she used Regular Flour not "UN Bleached" Flour, is this ok? I just bought a huge bag of the Regular flour. Please let me know.
    We never used Lemon "Grind" either. I have to grind the top of a lemon correct to get Lemon Grind?
    As for the Frosting how much Lemon Extract into the bowel of 1 Bag Powered sugar. Can you please clarify the amounts for the frosting. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • You can use regular flour we just always used unbleached. Yes you grate the zest of the lemon only, I use a microplane. Start with a 1/2 teaspoon then taste to add more to your liking for the extract.

  32. CrispinoMom says:

    This are my boys favorite…. We call them Nonna’s cookies because she spoils them every Christmas with them!

  33. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Hi Marie I found you on Pinterest. My question is about the shortening. Do you mean white Crisco? Also, can I cut the recipe in half? Have a nice day.

  35. Catherine Montanari says:

    These remind me of the cookies my grandmother used to make. Sooo delish! 2 questions: can I use butter instead of crisco? And actually I don’t see a separate recipe for the icing. It reads sugar and lemon rind in the flour for cookies recipe. Can you clarify? Thank you!

    • Catherine, This is an old recipe so using butter might change the texture of the cookie, I’ve never used butter. As for the icing: I usually take a whole bag of powdered sugar, dump it in a bowl, add lemon juice and water or milk to get the right consistency, it should coat the back of a spoon. You might want to add a little lemon extract too, just taste it for the right lemon flavor that you want. Enjoy!

  36. I don’t have a great deal of freezer space, and am trying to make these for my son’s rehearsal dinner on Thursday. Will they be okay if I make, ice, and store them 4 days before the event?



    • Joann, I always use Ceresota unbleached flour and yes those are the sticks from crisco. I recall about 5 dozen from this batch but of course that’s according to the size you make them.


  1. […] was looking for Italian Lemon Knot cookies. I’ve adapted my recipe from the original I found here, please take a look and try the different shapes. These cookies are easy to make but like all […]