How to Make Italian Easter Cookies
Italian Easter Cookies are a tradition in almost every family. In southern Italy, Calabrese families get together on Good Friday to make their version known as Sgute. These cookies are crunchy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside, making them perfect for dipping into a hot drink on Easter morning – and then finishing breakfast with an egg placed in the centre!
The Sgute look like little doughnuts or bagels, but the taste differs. You can dip them in your coffee or tea or eat them plain. Sgute is made from flour, water (and sometimes eggs) with added sugar and orange peel. Furthermore, it’s said that these Italian Easter cookies were initially made by farmers who would take them out into their fields at dawn on Good Friday to start working again after a long Lenten break. They have a special meaning, too, so watch my video to learn more!
Vincenzo’s Top Tip To Make Sgute Cookies
Always have extra flour around your counter.
Add and incorporate more flour gradually if the mixture is very sticky.
Keep in mind the baking time.
Since each oven cooks differently, keep an eye on the cookies and remove them when the edges are a delicious golden brown. The time required to cook cookies will also change depending on their size and thickness. Lastly, don’t overcook them, or they will dry out.
Italian Easter Cookies
- Medium sized mixing bowl
- Baking Tray
- Baking Paper
- Board or Table for kneading dough
- Pastry brush
- 1 dozen Organic eggs at least 70g p/egg
- 250 grams White sugar 1 cup
- 250 ml Extra virgin olive oil 1 cup
- 250 ml Milk 1 cup
- 1 kg Self-raising flour 35 oz
- 1 Lemon
- 1 tbsp Vanilla essence
- Italian Easter cookies need fresh, organic eggs! Start by cracking 5 eggs into the bowl and whisk well.
- Add sugar, milk, EVOO, vanilla essence and the zest of 1 whole lemon.
- Cut the lemon in half and squeeze all the juice into the bowl.
- Mix this base of your Italian Easter cookies really well using the whisk.
- Next, a cup full at a time, sift in the self raising flour. Once you have added approx. 3/4 of the flour, mix using a spatula.
- If the mixture is very sticky, gradually add and mix through more flour.
- When you are happy with the consistency of the Italian Easter cookie dough, sprinkle flour on to your bench/board and place the dough on to it.
- Start kneading the dough, adding a sprinkle of flour when you need to.
- Knead the dough for around 5 minutes or until it is no longer sticking to the board.
- Now roll it out into a really thick log, cutting it in half if easier to manage.
- Before you start rolling out the Italian Easter Cookies, wash the remaining eggs well as they will be used in your biscuits.
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F.
- Using a knife, cut a small piece of dough from the large log and roll it out.
- Get an egg, place it underneath the small log you rolled, in the middle.
- Wrap the pastry dough underneath the egg until it crosses over, then twist the rest, curling the ends up.
- Put a small slit in the ends using a knife or fork, then roll out two smaller snake shapes and create a cross on top of the egg.
- You can also create another shape, twisting an entire log and then wrapping this around an egg.
- If you have leftover dough, make up your own shapes and get the kids involved too!
- Place each biscuit onto a lined baking tray – not too close together as they rise and baste lightly with plain milk using a pastry brush.
- Put the tray of Italian Easter cookies in the oven for 20 minutes, then check on them, turn the tray around (if necessary) to cook evenly and leave for another 5-6 minutes
- The biscuits should start to turn a nice golden colour but not all over – don’t overcook them or they will dry out.
- E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!
How to serve Italian Easter Cookies
Sgute are traditionally made with the family on Good Friday and then served on Easter Sunday for breakfast. Best enjoyed when dipped into yummy hot chocolate or coffee! You can also dust them with icing sugar before serving.
These biscuits keep fresh for a couple of weeks – but, if you do add the egg, this is best eaten within 3 days as the egg is cooked.
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