Not Your Average Sugar Cookie, Sugar

I've had, what can only be described as a torrid and tumultuous affair with cookies over the last 5 years. I'm not sure what exactly it is, I just cannot seem to make a good cookie. I can never get past the dough! I measure with neurotic precision, I follow instructions to the letter, I refrigerate, wrap, and knead exactly as the instructions dictate and the dough just never stays together right. If, some how I create something that will even make it onto the baking sheet, the end result is a thin, burnt, pancake of disappointment. 

Enter the cookies that changed my life (well...if my life were all about cookies).

This is a sugar cookie recipe that was inspired by my Grama's savory Italian Taralli. Taralli are traditionally made with just a few simple ingredients and pair perfectly with white wine. My Grama, a little Italian woman who sprinkles her routine speech with dramatic gestures and Italian curse words, made these as appetizers every holiday as far back as I can remember. This is my sweetened version of those savory treats, which I have deemed Tarallina. My Tarallina are garnished with a simple caramel drizzle.


1 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Sticks Butter, Softened
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
13/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
Juice of 1/2 a Small Lemon
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
Pinch of Salt

Caramel Glaze:
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Stick Butter, cut into Tablespoons
Pinch of Sea Salt

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F)

Combine the powdered sugar, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat until creamy.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and beat until just combined. Try not to over mix, we want a light and airy cookie. Trust me tho, these cookies are basically fool proof.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe 2 inch rings onto an un-greased baking tray (or make a gigantic mess like I did with the wrong bag and tip, and give up on the piping bag in favor of "thumb print" style cookies). 

Bake 15-18 minuets. These cookies won't brown until burnt, so even if your tempted to leave them in "a little longer", take them out of the oven, and patiently wait for them to cool.

Caramel Garnish:
In a large sauce pan combine the sugar and water, then bring the pot to a boil.

Be patient. Don't touch the sugar. Let the pot boil.

At this point, make sure you're watching that pot obsessively. The line between perfect, luscious, eat it off the spoon caramel and burnt waste of sugar is thin. 

When your caramel is just a touch darker than golden take it off the heat and immediately whisk in the heavy cream. Continue stirring until the mixture is no longer bubbling, then slowly add the butter 1 Tbsp at a time. Be careful to mix each addition of butter thoroughly before adding more. If you add it all at once it will get greasy. Caramel is very much about patience. Wait patiently for the pot to boil. Wait patiently for sugar to caramelize. Wait patiently for the butter to mix into your sauce completely before moving to the next step.

Once all the butter is mixed in, let the caramel sauce cool and drizzle over the cookies. 

Top with a sprinkle of sea salt and powdered sugar.

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