Monday’s Menu Musings

004 I have wonderful memories of walking up the street from my childhood home in New York to my Italian grandparents house for an afternoon with all my loud, fun-loving Italian relatives.  Everyone would bring sweets and we would spend the afternoon “visiting” and eating – what good Italians do best.  I can remember a specific cookie that I loved made my my great Aunt Franny – a pleasantly plump, brown haired sweet lady who would always pinch my cheeks and plan a great big kiss on them.  These cookies, also known as “Floats” were a delicious cake-like cookie (as are all authentic Italian cookies) with frosting and sprinkles on top that we would dunk in hot coffee filled with lots of cream and sugar (yes my nanny let us drink coffee, we thought she was the best!). They are called floats because you are supposed to put one in your coffee to float and soak it up.  I’ve had the recipe for these cookies upon marrying Kevin when my mom gave me a family cookbook.  However, to my dis-appointment the recipe was wrong because all my relatives didn’t use recipes.  Everything was from memory and expertise and when Aunt Franny tried to put it on paper,  something was wrong and they never turned out right.  To my delight,  I discovered a recipe in one of my cooking magazines sent in by a 100% Italian lady with a different title. As I compared her recipe to my Aunt’s, they lined up to a tee having the same ingredients.  I was able to correct this old Italian family recipe and these cookies turned out exactly as I remember them.  They are delicious with coffee in the morning (sshhh…don’t tell anyone we eat cookies for breakfast). Enjoy this old DiRenzo family tradition, I think you will like it…



1/2 lb butter, softened

1/2 C sugar

6 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp anise extract

4 C. all purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder



3 cups powdered sugar

5-6 T milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

colored sprinkles


Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and extract. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased sheets (my Aunt Fanny used to roll out the dough and tie the cookies into knots creating a pretty cookie) for 9-11 until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks.

Mix icing ingredients and dip cookies, allowing excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper and add sprinkles. Let stand until set. Icing will harden.  Serve with coffee!