Anginetti, Italian Lemon Knot Cookies

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anginetti, Italian lemon knots

Iced Italian cookies, lemon drops, lemon knots, wedding knots or anginetti, whatever your family calls them you’ll be sure to find these traditional Italian cookies at many special occasions and holiday cookie trays. Like most Italian cookies the cookie itself is not too sweet, it has a nice moist crumb and by frosting it you’ll get a more intense lemon flavor, which is a good thing!

anginetti, Italian lemon knot cookies

They’re like little puffs, they look the same color from the raw to baked state except they’ll get puffier and golden brown on the bottom.

anginetti, Italian lemon knot cookies

Honestly, there are so many variations to this cookie, just do a Google search and you’ll see what I mean, but the general idea remains the same. In the past I’ve made them with Crisco shortening, that’s what they used back in the day, then I tried some Organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, which quite honestly turned out a little drier, I think if I upped the amount they would have been better, but this time I used all butter.

You’ll also see other flavorings used such as almond and anise as well as different colored frosting’s and sprinkles, but my family always sticks with lemon.

anginetti, Italian lemon knot cookies

Instead of colored sprinkles which I normally use, this time I wanted  to do a white on white look by using tiny white non-parells and white sparkling sugar and a little lemon zest for garnish, but you can just stir some zest into your frosting instead.

Speaking of frosting, this time I tried a limoncello frosting which was very good but the traditional with extract, lemon juice and zest is just as good!

anginetti, Italian lemon knot cookies

It’s time to get baking!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Anginetti, Italian Lemon Knot Cookies
A traditional Italian cookie served at holidays and special occasions.
  • 5 cups of all purpose, unbleached flour
  • 5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • one and one half cups of melted butter that has cooled down, not hot. Or you can use a vegetable shortening of your choice
  • 1 cup of milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 lemon for cookie and zest of 1 lemon for icing
  • 1 1oz. bottle of lemon extract
  • sprinkles of your choice
  1. If you prefer, dough can be made the day before which makes it nice and chilled to work with, or you can start scooping them right after you make the dough but probably you will have to chill it for a while as you're making the cookies and the dough stays out. I sometimes stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to get it to firm up again.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, add eggs one at a time, then the extract and zest.
  3. In a smaller bowl whisk the flour, salt and baking powder, then slowly add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, you might not have to use all the milk.
  4. When everything is incorporated, let the dough rest for 5 minutes or wrap and chill overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. and place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. To form the knots I like to use a cookie scoop so all will be similar in size, then take the scoop of dough and roll it into a log about 5 or 6 inches, it's the length of a bench scraper, that's how I measure mine.
  7. Then take one side of the log and spiral it into a circle, you can tuck the other end down or up, it doesn't matter.
  8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes according to your oven, mine took exactly 12 minutes, you want the underneath to be golden brown, not dark brown.
  9. Cool on racks.
  11. One and one half cups of powdered sugar
  12. Five tablespoons of limoncello Liqueur
  13. zest of 1 lemon
  15. One and one half cups of powdered sugar
  16. zest of 1 lemon
  17. One half teaspoon of lemon extract
  18. and lemon juice to get the right consistency.
  19. I always taste my icing to make sure it has the right amount of lemon, you can always add more, and I also like to brush my icing on instead of dipping., personal preference.
  20. After frosting immediately put your sprinkles on and then let the whole cookie dry for about an hour.
  21. You can keep them in tins with wax paper in between, or you can freeze them in an airtight container right after they bake and cool down, then frost them a day or two ahead before you'll be eating them.


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  1. i was wondering how thick to roll the dough?

    • Kathleen, I think as stated in the recipe, if you use a cookie scoop for the amount of dough then roll that amount to a 5 inch log then spiral that into a circle you’ll have the perfect size.

  2. Linda C. DiSabatino says

    how do you get 1.5 cup of melted butter with only 1 c of sugar get fluffy? not working for me, too much butter?!

  3. This recipe looks so delicious. I can’t wait to make these cookies. Is it possible to use lemon juice instead of lemon flavoring?

  4. Hi, how many cookies does this recipe yield? I can’t wait to try them!!

  5. Giannina Cangemi-Binotto says

    Hello, How much lemon extract goes in the cookies? The recipe only lists a 1 oz bottle and then in the directions the icing amount ar but I did not see how much to put in the cookie dough itself.

    Thank you

  6. Can I freeze these and then frost them?

    • Yes freeze without frosting them, the frosting will look prettier when you’re ready to eat them, even a couple of days before.

  7. Rosemary Strandberg says

    I can’t wait to make these cookies. They look so delicious. I’m not sure how much lemon extract goes into the batter along with 1 lemon zest.

  8. I am going to try to make your anginetti cookies. I can’t find my receipe. I think I like your web site

  9. Kim Sinclair says

    Marie- these look lovely! I was thinking of making them for my daughters wedding (i am doing all the desserts for it) and wonder if you had frozen them as suggested in your recipe? How far in advance can I make them and freeze them? Thanks!

    • I would do them 2 weeks in advance, freeze them unfrosted, then a couple of days before you eat them you can frost them and place in tins with wax paper in between the layers and it should be fine. Happy baking!

  10. I just bought 1lb of these lemon cookies….exactly like yours..$.13.99 in an Italian deli …..I never had them before…..they gave me 6 which added up to the pound….I’m so glad l have the recipe now and will make them myself…… glad l found your recipe.

  11. In the cookie dough do you use the school hole lemon Rhine or just half all shredded ?

  12. Marie——Happy Holidays to one of the best food bloggers. Just made pizelles using my grandmom’s recipe and now I want to make these—-they look amazing. How many cookies do they make? Thanks

  13. I plan on trying these tomorrow as I can’t stop looking at them (for days now). One question though… Why melt the butter instead of just creaming it unbelted? Thanks so much.

    • I honestly can’t answer that, this is the recipe I’ve always had. I can’t see any reason why it would be a problem as long as it’s nice and soft at room temperature Pat.

  14. These look more like the ones I remember as a kid. I’ll have to try these this year!

  15. We make these every year but always make the icing pink. I love the look of all white and the addition of lemon zest. I’ll be trying it! Thanks Marie!!

  16. So festive, and I know from experience that your cookies are good! xx

  17. Your Anginetti look so pretty, Marie! I love the lemon flavor of these cookies and the way you decorated them. Sadly my Christmas cookie making might be limited this year–I am having eve surgery again in early December and recovery will limit the time I have to do all I’d like. Time will tell!

  18. any way you could make this gluten-free???

    • I never tried it Catherine, but there are some really good gluten free flour mixes out there right now, you could test it with a small batch.

    • I’m sure you could substitute a gluten free flour, but make sure it has tapioca starch or tapioca flour in it because you’ll want a bit of stretch to the dough, and this ingredient adds that elasticity. I’ve not used cup4cup for this, but I have used Pamela’s GF flour, and also Bob’s Red Mill (chickpea) GF flour. Both were good, but of course with the chickpea flour there was a savory aftertaste, so I won’t use that again. I made a 1/2 batch of a very simple knot cookie recipe just the other day (a bit different from this recipe) using Pamela’s GF flour and I added a heaping tsp. of tapioca flour. Generally, GF flours suck up moisture, so when I halved the recipe I used, which called for 3 eggs, I used 2 instead of 1 and a 1/2, and they were fine–delicious even. I like anisette extract as well, but the lemon is good.

      By the way, with 5 cups of flour and a bottle of extract–when you’re using expensive GF flour, you’re definitely going to want to halve this recipe and see how it turns out for you before going “all in.”

  19. I love these cookies; they are a classic for certain, and your photos are so tempting. Something else I want to comment on is how very accessible you make all of this. You just make it all seem so easy, so friendly, and so much fun. Congratulations on a job well done, and on a terrific beginning to the holiday season!

  20. Hi Marie, these look divine! One question, where does the 1 cup of milk come in? Thanks!

  21. At first I thought the recipe said 12 Tbsp lemoncello. Wouldn’t that be a crowd pleaser? These cookies look divine and will sure be a treasure to add to my collection. Thank you so very much!!

  22. Yum……….brings so many memoires seeing the pictures of these cookies. Never knew the official Italian name for them.
    My mom made these every year along with so many other goodies. After seeing your post I just may give them a try.
    Thanks for taking me back…….C

  23. I love the white on white look with the lemon zest Marie. Sometimes the colored decorations “bleed” into the frosting after thawing from the freezing of these, so this probably eliminates that, I’ll bet. These cookies remind me a lot of the taralli my mom made – same type of recipe, but a round shape.
    I was planning to make Michael Guttuso’s family recipe for anginetti, but now I’m in a quandary after seeing yours. Maybe we can exchange some of each?

  24. You had me at lemon! I will add these to my cherished Italian cookie recipes — all from you! I’m not doing my big xmas cookie extravaganza this year, but these lemon cuties will need to be made. I love, love, love your lemon ricotta cookies as well. And, of course, “my” xmas eve/day cucidati. Happy Holiday, Marie!

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