I recently held a family recipe contest at the call center in Peoria, IL that I oversee as a part of my day job.  I got so many amazing contributions of recipes that sounded delicious & had a fabulous back story, but there could only be one winner…and that winner was Michelle Turchi’s Family Succarini (or Zuccarini) Cookie Recipe!  Just in time for me to try out for my annual Cookie Party!

So what did I think?  They’re quite yummy…and remind me a lot of biscotti, so are a great “breakfast cookie.”  But making them in this particular little shape and then trying to dip them in hot bubbling sugar without burning yourself is a bit labor intensive.  So I think next time I make them I’ll make them larger so they’re both faster to make and easier to dip.  That probably means they wouldn’t technically be Zuccarinis….but hey, they’d still taste just as good!  Kudos to Michelle for making them every year…hers were much more beautiful than mine so maybe she has some tips on how to make the process easier as well!

Michelle’s lovely family backstory and recipe are below…enjoy, and of course if you have a family cookie recipe of your own please share!


Michelle’s Story:

This Succarini Cookie recipe came over from the old country, Italy with my husband’s great grandma. It was passed down to my husband’s grandma and then passed down to my mother in law and now to me.

This recipe means Christmas to the Turchi family!! The recipe was almost lost to future generations, as grandma Josephine Turchi passed away, and my mother in law only made them once or twice after her passing. I asked my husband what cookies he liked as a kid at Christmas time. He replied “Oh, my favorite ones, you could never make. Succarinis. “Grandma was the only one who knew how to make them, and she passed away.” I called my mother in law, and asked if she had the recipe for him. A couple months later she found it and told me how grandma made them from memory; the size to roll the dough, how you have to watch the sugar coating, etc.

That Christmas I made them with my husbands coaching. My father in law was floored! These are his favorite too. I make these every Christmas since then and even on Easter. Succarini cookies are a true Italian treat, that melts in your mouth.

6 Cups flour
5Teaspoons baking powder
1 Cup sugar
1 Lemon – (juice and zest)
10 Eggs
¾ Bottle Anise extract
½ pound butter, softened
2 Tablespoons Crisco

Sugar Coating:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 Teaspoon Anise extract

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Put flour, sugar, & baking powder into large bowl. Form a bowl inside the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix together butter & Crisco.  Add eggs, two at a time & keep blending together. Add ¾ bottle Anise extract, juice from lemon and zest of lemon.

Mix egg mixture into the flour mixture until it is not sticky. Add additional flour if needed.

Cut into 4 sections. Flour surface of counter. Roll into snake strip (about 3/4” round). Stretch and tie a knot (like you start the tie of your shoe). Cut after the knot with paring knife.

Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees until lightly browned.  Cool cookies on a cooling rack.

Line counter with wax paper and then proceed to making sugar coating.

Sugar Coating:
Place the sugar, water & anise extract in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then insert a candy thermometer and cook the candy to 215-235 degrees.

To test for doneness, take a small amount of the syrup onto a spoon, and drop it from about 2-inches above the pot. Let it drip into the pan. If it spins a long thread, like a spider web, it’s done.  Remove from heat immediately

Dip each cookie top into sugar coating (using tongs) and place on the wax paper. Be very careful while doing this since the hot sugar will burn you!  Allow sugar/candy coating to harden, and enjoy!