As many of you know, I live in New Haven, home to the only pizza worth eating, and more Italian-American bakeries than you can shake a stick at. I’ve peered many-a-time into their glass bakery cases, spilling over with all manner of pretty pink, green, brown and white cookies, and cursed the fact that they all contain animal products. This year, my holiday cookie baking was influenced by these pretty displays, featuring these citrus-flavored anginettes and those cookies sometimes known as Italian butter nuts.

I really can’t say for sure how authentic these anginetti are. Over the course of a very-scientific hour-long survey of anginette recipes on the Internet, I concluded that about 80% of these recipes indicate that anginetti are “lemon drop cookies,” while another 10% call them “orange juice cookies,” and still another 10% combine lemon and orange juice and/or anise extract. While I’m pretty stoked on this lemon version, I bet these tender little bites would taste great no matter how you flavor them.

If you’ve never had them, these small, spherical cookies are often described as being “cakey,” but I’d say these are better described as “soft and dense.” They’re glazed, but they aren’t super-sweet or terribly rich, which makes them a nice alternative on a tray of heavy, buttery baked goods. Plus, they’re as simple to make as they are adorable and delicious!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vegan Anginettes
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian-American
Serves: about 30 cookies
  • For the cookies:
  • ½ c sugar
  • ¼ c coconut oil (or vegan shortening)
  • ⅓ c water
  • 1½ tsp lemon extract
  • 1 packed tsp lemon zest (about half a lemon)
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp potato, corn, or tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ____________________
  • For the icing:
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 2½ Tbsp water or vegan milk
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • vegan sprinkles, optional
  1. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and oil.
  2. Beat in the water, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Don’t worry if the mixture isn't completely homogeneous.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, starch, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and beat until a stiff dough forms. Don't worry: it'll be quite dry, but you should be able to form it into a ball.
  5. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, until dough is firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  7. Form walnut-sized chunks of dough into balls.
  8. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until bottoms are golden.
  10. Repeat until all dough has been used up.
  11. Cool cookies completely.
  12. Once cookies are completely cool, beat together icing ingredients in a shallow bowl until smooth.
  13. Dip the top of each cookie into the icing, let most of the excess drip off, and place right-side up on a cooling rack to set. The icing should be thin enough to drop down and cover the sides of the cookies, but thick enough that it doesn't just all drip off. Add a tablespoon or two of sugar if your icing is too thin, or a few drops of liquid if it's too thick.
  14. If desired, sprinkle each cookie with sprinkles while the icing is still wet.
  15. Allow icing to set completely before serving.
If you're using sprinkles, these are best served soon after you've made them; if you keep them in an air-tight container, the color from the sprinkles may bleed a little into the icing. They'll still be delicious, just slightly less pretty! If you must make them in advance, I recommend baking the cookies and either freezing them or keeping them in an air-tight container, and then dipping them in icing and sprinkles right before serving.