The following recipe is from Butter Flour Sugar Eggs by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto and Julia Moskin. Copyright 1999 by Dynamic Duo, Inc and Julia Moskin. Excerpted by permission from Clarkson N. Potter Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

Gale and Rick, both chefs, are a husband-and-wife team. This dessert book is their second cookbook, (American Brasserie is their first), and they own several restaurants in Chicago.

italian almond-iced christmas cookies

yield: about 6 dozen cookies

the cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
the icing
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon egg white
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 colors of food coloring, of your choice
make the cookies:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 sheet pans. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Mix the eggs and sugar in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) until pale yellow and fluffy. With the mixer running, drizzle in the oil, vanilla, and almond extract, and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, form into logs 1 inch in diameter. Working in batches if necessary, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices and arrange the cookies on the sheet pans. Bake until light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.

make the icing:
Whisk the milk, egg white, confectioners' sugar, and almond extract together until smooth. Divide the icing into one large and two smaller batches. Leave the large batch of icing white; color the two small batches to your liking.

When the cookies are cool, dip the tops into the white icing. To drizzle the cookies with the other colors, dip the tines of a fork into the icing and wave it over the cookies. Let set in a cool place 1 hour.

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