Italian Lemon Cookies

Italian Lemon Cookies Title

Hi Everyone!
Back in ’09 when I first started food blogging, one of the first recipes I wanted to conquer were my Nonna Stella’s sugar glazed lemon cookies. I have very vivid childhood memories of sneaking into a low cupboard next to her stove, extracting this long green tupperware and  stealing those deliciously soft, sugar glazed lemon cookies. These days my Nonna no longer makes them, so when I got her recipe to make them myself, I realized that there were no quantities for the ingredients. Nonnas just know how much ‘quanto basta” , but I don’t. My first attempt at guessing the amounts went “OK” but cookies were too floury. You needed a coffee or some water to get them down. Cough. Cough

My friend David at work was the one who came to the rescue. He brought me his “Nana’s” recipe and it had quantities!! Eureka! What I found interesting is that Nana incorporates orange juice in the cookie dough and lemon in the glaze, producing a cookie with a subtle citrus taste. (Other recipes I’ve found don’t add citrus to the batter at all. Its all in the glaze.)

 Lemon Cookies Glam unglazed tousled


3 Eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup of sugar
1  cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of orange juice
Zest of one big orange (or a mix of orange and lemon)
5 cups all purpose flour
4 generous tsps of Magic baking powder

Optional: 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

1lb of Icing sugar
1 tsp of lemon juice (You can also add some fine lemon zest if you wish)
Gradually add water until it is the right consistancy. Should not be too liquify. (See pics below)

For a truly authentic look, sprinkle on some of those cute multicoloured sprinkles. Sprinkle promptly while icing is still soft 🙂


Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until smooth with a hand held mixer.
While the beaters are still running, slowly incorporate oil, orange juice and zest.

In another bowl sift together flour and baking powder and add to your egg mixture about a cup at a time. (Alternately you can add flour to your egg mixture, one cup at a time and baking powder, 1tsp at a time, as Nana suggests)

Don’t overheat. When mixture is quite combined, you can finish with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides of the bowl and turning it over itself.

When properly combined, with the aid of your rubber spatula, pour batter out onto a floured surface and kneed gently until its smooth, comes together into a dough ball and is not overly sticky. It should not be so sticky that its unmanageable. A little sticky is fine. Just flour your fingers a little when forming your cookies.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil

Cut out a heaping tsp of dough and roll it out into a 6-7″ long by 1″ thick “rope”

Join the ends together in a loop.

Then twist in the opposite direction.

Place the cookies on the cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake for 12 to 15 minutes when bottoms are sufficiently golden. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Italian Lemon cookes cooling rack

If you make them bigger, just adjust cooking time.


Gradually add water until it is the right consistancy. Should not be too liquidy.

Then dip each cookie into the icing sugar and place them on waxed paper or parchment to dry. Store in an airtight container for 1wk.

Thank you – and as always, send me your feedback.

Published in 2009 as David’s Nana’s Lemon Cookies on /Edited republished Sept 2015

9 responses to “Italian Lemon Cookies”

Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: