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These Italian Easter cookies are a tradition in the southern regions of Italy, they are easy to make and have different fun shapes. The perfect baking project to do with the children.
The names and its origin
They are made with a sweet shortcrust pastry and eaten at the end of Lent fasting. They are originally from the Southern part of Italy and every region has its own name: cuddura, cuddhura, cuddurace, sguta, cuzzupa. The name cuddura comes from the antic greek Kollyra meaning loaf.
The whole eggs are placed on top of the cookie, they are the symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those eggs are raw and will cook in the oven with the biscuits. A tradition is to shape these biscuits in the classic doughnut shape and put many eggs on it based on who you want to give to.
For example, if you want to donate to your boyfriend you should put 7 eggs on it and the Calabrian saying reads: “Setta ma setta”. Basically, you are giving hope to your boyfriend that he can officially present himself to the family.
In addition to the doughnut-shape, these cookies can be prepared in various forms that recall Easter symbols: braid, cross, twist, bow or ribbon. They are easy and fun to make, a perfect project to do with the children,
How to make them
The pastry dough is very simple and requires the usual baking ingredients: butter at room temperature, flour, sugar, eggs and baking powder plus a flavouring. You can use whatever you like. In this recipe, I used orange zest but you can use whatever you prefer: lemon zest, vanilla, almond extract, orange water blossom.
The dough is very malleable and it doesn’t stick to your hand, that is why it is so fun to use with children.
- Mix all the ingredients with an electric mixer, make sure the butter is at room temperature
- Shape the dough into a large ball
- Take each time a piece of dough to make different shapes
Here some of the shapes you can make:
- Place the cookies on a parchment paper in a baking dish
- Brush the top with 1 egg wash
- Sprinkle with coloured sugar sprinkles
- Bake for 35 minutes at 355 F – 180 C
How to eat them
Once cooked they can be stored in an airtight container and they will last for a week. You can brake a piece and eat it with a piece of chocolate, a great combination.
The whole raw egg placed over the pastry for decoration cooks with the biscuits in the oven, therefore you can just peel it and eat it like a boiled egg. In Italy, we eat it with salami and cheese bread (next article).
They are perfect to bring to your Easter Monday picnic.
More desserts Italians eat at Easter
There are many classic desserts Italians eat at Easter, besides these cookies, the most renowned is the Pastiera: a ricotta pie made with wheat and ricotta. Also, a classic is the Colomba, similar to panettone but baked in the shape of a dove. We would usually buy it already made as it required sourdough yeast and it is too time-consuming to make.
Mostly we eat a lot of chocolate, so if you want to try some chocolate recipes, here are some:
To finish the meal, you cannot miss a special homemade chocolate liqueur, recipe from Perugia.
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📋Italian Easter Cookies
- Mix all the ingredients with an electric mixer, make sure the butter is at room temperature2/3 cup butter at room temperature, 1 cup caster sugar, 3 fresh eggs, 2 cups flour, 2 tbsp baking powder
- Shape the dough into a large ball and take each time a piece of dough to make different shapes.
- Shape the cookies and place them on parchment paper in a baking dishfresh eggs
- Brush the top with 1 egg wash1 fresh eggs
- Sprinkle with colored sugar sprinklessprinkle of praline
- Bake for 35 minutes at 355 F – 180 C
- Place in a basket and serve. They will last for a week
- Butter should be a room temperature, not melted
- Once you mix the flour with the baking powder you need to make and bake the cookies within the hour otherwise the baking powder will lose it rising effect
- In this recipe, I used orange zest but you can use whatever you prefer: lemon zest, vanilla, almond extract, orange water blossom.
- Place the cookies on the baking tray at a distance as they will rise while cooking
- You do not need to pre cook the eggs placed for decoration, they will cook in the oven
- Don’t keep the dough in your hands for a long time otherwise the dough will become too mushy
- Store the cookies in an airtight container and they will last for the week