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!
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)
¾ Bottle Anise extract
½ pound butter, softened
2 Tablespoons Crisco
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.
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!
We add whiskey to the water(approx. 1/4 C) to the icing recipe. My Grandma Galassi and all our relatives also did.
Yum! Thanks for sharing.
Suzanne aka SavoryGirl
My family came to Ottawa, IL from the Bologna area. A version of these cookies was a Christmas tradition. But, when my mother died and her aunties were showing us how to make them, they had a trick for the glaze – they made it in a soup kettle and tossed the cookies to coat them – no burnt fingers.
Great idea! You’re right…I don’t know why only the tops need to be glazed, this would be much easier. Can’t wait to try it next time. Thanks for sharing!
Suzanne aka SavoryGirl
Please help! I am trying to make the suger glaze for Zuccarini cookies. My glaze is not drying and is tacky on each cookie. What did I do wrong?
Ugh…I’m so sorry for the delay! I’m having issues with my website where comment notifications aren’t working of late and can’t figure out how to fix it. I’m sorry to hear the glaze wasn’t drying properly, happy to help if you still need it but I imagine you needed a solution that day vs. 4 days later. Sorry again :(
I am having trouble with the glaze for my succarinis. I do make them smaller like little turbans. However, hoe do I get the glaze on them without the glaze hard ending before they are all covered? Could I use a silicone basting brush?
I find that the best method is to get some thick latex gloves to prevent burning your fingers and then leave the glaze on low on the stove and hand-dip each cookie quickly. The not burning your fingers is the hard part…I suppose you could try to use tongs as well but that would likely be slow-going. You also could lay all of your cookies out on a rack with a pan beneath them and pour the glaze right over the top. There’s always more than enough glaze when I make them so as long as you crowd them on the rack there shouldn’t be too much wasted glaze. Hope they turn out well!
Can u please tell me how long the section is that u tie in a knot? U say to roll 1/4 of dough to a 3/4 in. Rope and then tie in knot. I assume u form the rope and then cut rope into lengths before tying knot. Right? Also, my mom used to shake the cookies in the pan of icing. What a mess. 😀
I actually often leave it in a full rope and then tie a knot at the end, cut it, tie another knot at the end, cut it, etc… But you could certainly cut it into individual sections first! I’d probably start with about a 2 inch length and try and then adjust accordingly if it’s too long/short to tie the knot easily.
Can I divide recipe in half? I want to bake these for my friend who loves them, however my husband does not care for them, says they are too hard. Also, I have found an old family recipe which is difficult to read, that calls for a small amount of milk added to the batter. have you heard of this? Will that soften the cookies? Thanks
I’m so sorry this got caught in a filter and I never saw it to approve it or reply! I hope your cookies turned out wonderfully. I find that the cookies from this recipe actually aren’t as hard as others I’ve had but a tiny bit of milk would be ok. Also totally fine to cut the recipe in half. Apologies again for the delay.
what size bottle of anise extract? I see the come in 1oz or 2oz
I believe I get the one oz bottle since 3/4 of that would be about 4.5 tsp and then you still have a little over one tsp left for the icing. Sorry it wasn’t clear… I’ll update it!