Weight Loss

Soft Tuscan Cut-Out Cookies (Befanini)

Author Notes: These delightful, soft, cake-like cookies are from the coast of Tuscany, around Versilia, and are traditionally made for January 5, the eve of the Epiphany, w (…more) —Emiko

Makes 50 cookies

  • 4cups (500 grams) flour
  • 1teaspoon baking powder
  • 1cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1pinch salt
  • 4eggs (save one for glazing)
  • 1splash of rum or Alchermes, optional
  • splashes milk, if needed
  • 1lemon, zested
  • Colored sprinkles, as needed
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a wide bowl and make a ‘well’ in the centre. Crack 3 of the eggs (save one for glazing) into the middle, along with the liqueur, if using, and lemon zest. With a fork, begin beating from the centre outwards, incorporating the dry ingredients slowly into the eggs until you have a thick dough. If it is a bit dry or crumbly, add a splash of milk to loosen so that you have a soft but not sticky, compact dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  2. It is easiest to work in two batches, so cut the dough in half and keep one half wrapped and chilled until you finish the first half. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (5 mm). Use various cookie cutter to cut out fun shapes and place them on a lined cookie tray.
  3. When ready to bake, crack the reserved egg and beat in a bowl. With a pastry brush, glaze the tops of the cookies with the egg wash and decorate with coloured sprinkles (I like the method of placing the egg-side down directly onto a plate of sprinkles for full coverage).
  4. Bake at 170ºC/340ºF for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and lightly golden on top. Let cool completely and serve or store in an airtight container.

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