Italian (or whatever they’re called) Cookies

Hey everybody, guess what’s over? CHRISTMAS! That’s right, time for us all to declare a truce in the War That Doesn’t Exist (WAR ON CHRISTMAS! CUE SCARE MUSIC!) and go back avoiding Christmas carols for the next 364 days.

Not surprisingly, I’m not big on Christmas. Everyone who has met me (or read this blog) knows I’m not real big on fake joy, creepy elves, and spending time with people I don’t actually like. However, I do like pretty lights and wrapping presents. What can I say – it’s another one of my completely useless talents. I’m good at precisely 4 things:

  • Swearing
  • Writing smut
  • Wrapping presents
  • Taking selfies at angles that kind of minimize my fat face

These are my very specific set of skills. Bet even Liam Neeson would bow down if we were in a contest to see who is better at narrating a fictional sex scene while wrapping books.

Like these skills are useful! You’re just saving your daughter. Can you tastefully describe what a fictional character’s throbbing member is doing to that other fictional character’s orifice of choice? No? Amateur.

So it’s a bit of surprise to me that I would bother to write a post about something I bake every Christmas. Like all of us (yes, Fox News, ALL of us who have grown up in a predominately Christian country where Christmas decorations start popping up before fucking HALLOWEEN), I have a few Christmas traditions. They are as follows:

  • Swear at the cat while putting up the tree
  • Misplace the ornament we bought on our honeymoon even though I know I put it away last year
  • Spend way too much money on presents because I like having shit to wrap
  • Find the ornament we bought on our honeymoon and swear I won’t misplace it again next year
  • Feel like a total asshole when the cats ignore what I bought them for Christmas and then realize I was seeking validation from cats
  • Eat fish on Christmas eve
  • Declare “O Holy Night” to be the most beautiful Christmas carol ever  (the traditional version, none of this pop star doing 9 million runs in the middle of the song crap)
  • Watch the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Christmas episode because I like my holidays full of animosity and fictional fucked up people
  • Bake “Italian Cookies” on Christmas Eve

The baking of the Italian Cookies goes back as far as I can remember. Ever Christmas morning my parents, sister, and I would eat what we called Italian cookies (or pizzelles – sometimes both) while unwrapping presents and listening to Christmas carols. And for as much rage/sarcasm/snark as I pump out on a general basis (like, 45 PSIs on the regular) I can admit that spending Christmas mornings like that were wonderful. I grew up thousands of miles away from my extended family so there was no going to Grandma’s house or Aunt So-and-So’s. It was just my parents, me, and my sister. And it was AWESOME. If you want stress-free (or at least less stressful) holidays, I highly recommend moving thousands of miles from your extended family. Now that I’m an adult (and that’s questionable, obviously) who lives 1000+ miles from my own parents and 2000+ from his, it’s up to my husband and I to create our own traditions. But I was not giving up those damned cookies.

I assume these cookies have a real name. No idea what it is. I could Google, but, you know. Laziness. Not giving a fuckidness. Is that how one spells “fuckidness”? I pronounce it with the “id” in there, which is why I added it. I’m realizing my pronunciation of certain words may be problematic.

Italian (or whatever they’re actually called) Cookies

Step 1

Take a stick of butter and three eggs out of the refrigerator. Leave on the counter until they reach room temperature.

Step 2

Put butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix well. I think this is actually referred to as “creaming”, but given my earlier admission of smutasticness, I decided to forgo use of this term.

For some reason that I’m not entirely clear on, I always mix these by hand. I think I thought I had to at one point and then my mother asked why I was making it hard on myself and I was all, “…” But I still mix them by hand because TRADITION. Or something.

Step 3

Add eggs, anise, salt, and baking powder. Mix. Not everyone likes anise. Sadly, those people have no taste buds and cannot enjoy the perfection that is anise.

Can I take a second to bitch about how god damned expensive anise extract is? A one ounce bottle is like $5. Why? What makes it so fucking special? Is it a finite resource? Has it been blessed by the Pope? Is it made of Beyonce? THE FUCK? (Side note – Isn’t “Partition” the best god damn song ever written? It contains the lines “He Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown” and “He like to call me Peaches when we get this nasty”. Queen Bey, I said I was good at smut? No. Like most things, you are better. Bow down bitches indeed.)

Note: Be very sure to add BAKING POWDER to the mixture. Baking. Powder. Not Baking Soda. I accidently did that one year when I was still living at home with my parents. My sister spit the cookies out. We threw them to the birds and the birds wouldn’t even touch them. Oops.

Step 4

Add flour. Mix. Your dough will be sticky when it’s done.

Step 5

There are a few ways to serve these. One of the more traditional ways is to roll the dough into balls. This is a great thing to do if you’re feeding a larger crowd and/or have a shit ton of time to kill. But for the lazy among us, there is my preferred method, the loaf method.

Put a little bit of olive oil on your hands and mold the dough into two loaves. The olive oil is used to prevent the dough from sticking to your skin. Once it gets on there, its hell to get off. It’s like an ex. Or a cat that has decided your lap is the only acceptable sleeping space in the apartment.

Place loaves on a cookie sheet; put the cookie sheet in the oven for 12 minutes.

I am well aware that I have not included specifics for this recipe. Two reasons for that – most of the time, I don’t measure. With baking, it’s a little different. You have to measure or who knows what the fuck you’ll end up with. Edible food? A rock? Donald Trump’s hair? It’s a crap shoot!

For these, I didn’t include a lot of specifics because this is my mother’s recipe. She’d probably kill me if she knew I gave her recipe away on the internet. Or she’d kill me for a host of other reasons littered across my posts, but this would be reason number one.

Step 6

When they’re done, let them cool. None of that sorta-kinda-cool bullshit. Cool to room temperature. Because here comes the fun part – the frosting.

LOG! Log rolls down stairs, rolls over a chair, rolls over your neighbor's dog...

LOG! Log rolls down stairs, rolls over a chair, rolls over your neighbor’s dog…

Step 7

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar if you’re nasty), milk and anise. Stir.

Even after years of baking these, both in my parents’ home and my own, I still haven’t mastered the frosting. Last year I put so much damned anise in that they were inedible. And I LIKE a lot of anise. The other difficult part to the frosting is it’s really easy to make it either too liquid or too stiff. Too liquid runs off the cookies and pools on the tray, and too stiff doesn’t spread properly, leaving a large portion of the cookie unfrosted. It takes finesse, and if I were a betting woman I’d say that finesse is something I do not possess.

Spoon the frosting onto the loaves. Try to make as even as possible. Before the frosting sets, sprinkle festive (or non-festive, you do you) sprinkles onto the cookies. I always use those little colored ball sprinkles. You know the ones I’m talking about.

I promise they taste better than this picture makes them look.

I promise they taste better than this picture makes them look.

Now they are ready to be sliced like biscotti and enjoyed with your morning coffee and/or Batman pint glass full of mimosa. I may have had both.

IMG_20131225_082233

mmmm…anise.

Yay! Xmas over! I hope y’all got what you wanted. My husband gifted me with the Brave & the Bold Batman & Catwoman issue #197 where Earth 2 Batman marries Earth 2 Catwoman. He gets me. He also gave me the DC Scribblenauts game, which asks the player to use adjectives to help the characters do whatever it is that they need to do. Perhaps it was too much breakfast mimosa or that I’m just an idiot, but guess who forgot all adjectives when first playing the game? That’s right. The girl with the Master’s in CREATIVE WRITING. I couldn’t think of one for a good 10 minutes and just kept trying verbs. I’ll show myself out.

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One thought on “Italian (or whatever they’re called) Cookies

  1. Pingback: Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 5, Episode 2 “A Messenger, Nothing More” | Last Ditch Effort

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