Glazed Taralli – Easter dessert cookies by Alessandra Aiello (bust out the Sambuca!)

Just the mention of Sambuca brings to mind the anise flavor that I enjoyed as a child when I crunched into these cookies. I remember the glaze, the burst of flavor.

In her recipe, Alessandra uses simple ingredients, readily available (except maybe the Sambuca – one of my mom’s favorites!) If you don’t have Sambuca or don’t want alcohol in your cookies, you can substitute anise instead.

When measuring the flour, Alessandra suggests that you don’t press it down but leave it fluffy with air. Then weigh the flour for the best result.

Alessandra reminds us that the dough is an elastic dough. It needs to be worked a long time, otherwise the cookies don’t rise. In her video, she says when you see bubbles, the dough is ready.

If you don’t have Sambuca or don’t want alcohol in your cookies, you can substitute anise instead.

Alessandra was recently featured in Positano news. She was chosen to be a guest speaker for the Italian American Heritage Club in Hunberdon! We are fortunate to share her Taralli cookie recipe with you!

Let’s get started!


4 cups flour (500 grams)

6 eggs at room temperature

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp salt

100 ml extra virgin olive oil (slightly less than 1/2 cup); a lighter oil can be used too

2 tablespoons sambuca/grappa/Marsala wine


3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Juice of a lemon

NOTE: Please use a scale for a perfect outcome of the recipe


Mix all the dry ingredients in bowl.

Whisk the eggs and sambuca. Using a stand up mixer with the hook attachment, start adding eggs to the dry mixture. On slow speed, let it incorporate.

Add the oil slowly. Scrape the sides of the bowl to mix properly and form a dough.

You can work the dough in the mixer for about 15 minutes or move it up a work surface and knead for 15 minutes. This dough can be made directly on a work surface by hand.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour.

Cut dough in four pieces.

Roll logs about 3/4 inch thick.

Cut in 8 inches pieces.

Form a circle and pinch both ends to seal. I made 17 taralli.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Add taralli one at a time, but don’t overcrowd.

When the taralli floats to the top, it is ready to remove and place on a cookie sheet lined with a kitchen towel to dry.

Let them cool and then cut them, starting where you pinched to seal all the way around. Cut only 3/4 deep so the inner circle is still intact.

Bake on a baking rack (even heat) or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Space cookies out because they will grow.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 Celsius)for 20 minutes.

Lower oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 Celsius) and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Mix confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice to make a smooth, thick glaze. If it’s too runny, add more sugar. If it’s too thick, add more lemon or water.

Dip taralli in the glaze, let excess drip off. Place on rack to dry.

Once glaze is dried, enjoy the taralli. You can also eat them unglazed. Enjoy!

Be sure to watch Alessandra’s video here for more info:

Did your family make taralli? Did your recipe differ? We’d love to hear from you!

Buona Pasqua!

Angela DiCicco, The Italian Grandmama

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