Italian Lemon Cookies | Raffiuoli
Light and spongy Christmas treats from Naples that blur the line between cake and cookies. Pan di Spagna sponge is piped into ovals and baked. Once finished, they're dipped in lemon icing that creates a crunch once dried. These are often enjoyed alongside other Neapolitan Christmas classics such as mostaccioli, roccocò, and susamielli.
For the Cookies
- 4 Eggs, separated
- 160 g Sugar ¾ cup
- zest of one lemon
- 200 g All-Purpose Flour 1⅔ cup
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
For the Icing
- 500 g Powdered Sugar 2½ cups
- 4 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 8 tbsp Hot Water (don't add it all at once!)
To Make the Cookie
- In a large bowl, put in two whole eggs plus two egg yolks, setting aside the whites for later use.
- Beat the eggs with an electric beater and add the sugar a little at a time, beating until the eggs become fluffy and voluminous. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Gently fold in the lemon zest.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and then sift that over the egg mixture.
- Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture, taking care not to deflate the eggs.
- Beat the two leftover egg whites until you reach stiff peaks. Gently fold that into the batter.
- Transfer the batter to a couple of piping bags. Cut the opening of the piping bags to be about 1 inch or 2½ cm. Pipe the batter into long ovals on two parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving enough room between each cookie because they spread a bit during baking.
- Bake in a 400℉ / 200℃ pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer them to a cooling rack to completely cool before icing them.
Icing the Cookies
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add a little bit of the hot water at a time until you reach a thick but pourable consistency. When dropped on the surface, the icing should leave ribbons and then very slowly disappear.
- Dip the top of each cookie in the icing. Tip the cookie from side to side to allow the icing to slowly pour over all the edges. Place the iced cookie on a rack to continue dripping.
- When all the tops of the cookies are iced, add a little bit of water to the icing to thin it. Lift each cookie from the bottom with two forks. Set the cookies in the icing. Once the bottom of the cookie is coated, pick it up with the two forks and set it back on the rack to dry. Repeat this with each cookie.
- Allow the cookies to sit on the rack uncovered for 24 hours. A couple of times during that 24 hours, slide a spatula under each cookie to make sure it doesn't get stuck to the rack while drying.
- Once the icing is fully dry, enjoy!