Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ciambelle (Lemon Wreath Cookies)

Christmas time is here! The ground is covered in snow, A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio is spinning in the CD player, and the tree is decorated.

In my family, "Christmas" is also synonymous with "Baking" specifically Cookies. The house is covered with flour and frosting the days leading up to this beautiful holiday. So I invite you to join my family to live these cookie-filled moments with us. The first treat of the season is Ciambelle. 

"Ciambelle" in Italian can refer to any ring-shaped cookie, cake, or donut. In this case Ciambelle is a lemon wreath cookie, a buttery cookie base, covered in a lemon glaze, and decorated with nonpareils.

These flakey and flavorful cookies pair excellently with a warm cup of tea and are sure to become a Christmas classic, just like lights on the tree.

Ciambelle (Lemon Wreath Cookies)
adapted from Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookies 2010 Issue

yields 6 dozen lemon wreath cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 - 4 lemons depending on their size)
1 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
white nonpareils, for decorating

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk to combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Zest and juice lemons.

In a separate bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, and zest with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture until combined.

Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 4-inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly, and press together to form a ring.

Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer rings to a parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake for 9 minutes. Then rotate the sheet and bake for another 9 minutes or until pale golden on bottoms and around edges. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Whisk confectioners' sugar and remaining lemon juice until smooth. Dip top of each cookie into the glaze, letting the excess drip off.

Return cookies to wire racks, glazed side up, and sprinkle with nonpareils. Let dry completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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1 comment:

  1. These look so delicious! I love cookies (and other baked goods in general!) that have a nice hint of lemon flavor.

    I love your christmas tree decorations. My house isn't big enough for a tree but we did get a wreath that I put a couple ornaments on :)


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