genitas: little drops of sunshine

today, i found myself missing my dad who’s 3000 miles away in florida. we call him poppy. now poppy shares my love of cookies, though we’ve had our friendly disagreements over the years. he likes his oatmeal cookies hard and crunchy, while i’m a soft oatmeal cookie fan. he likes crispy edges on his sugar cookies, while i’d rather something a bit lighter and softer.

but the one cookie we can both agree on are genitas. they are small droplets of sunshine, with lemon infused throughout and a tart, lemon frosting glazed atop. in my bronx neighborhood pastry shops, these italian cookies always seemed a little too dry and crumbly to appeal to my childhood cookie sensibilities. however, as i’ve grown older, i find that one or two of these cookies with a refreshing glass of iced tea, or a strong cup of espresso, can be just the right after-dinner dessert. not too sweet, not too tart. i still dislike the very dry versions of these cookies, but have perfected my own recipe so they are a bit more cake-like, yet still hold the flavor and essence of those original bronx versions.

so, as i prep the batter on these delicious little treats today, i think of poppy. i’m hoping that these genitas will find a welcome spot in your family’s cookie jar, as they have in mine! enjoy!


3 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups unbleached flour
8 teaspoons baking powder

1. preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. in a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder.
3. with your electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, milk, sugar, lemon extract and vegetable oil until well blended.
4. add flour and baking powder on low speed, mixing just until blended. do not overmix – the dough should be sticky and soft.
5. keep a bit of additional flour nearby so that you can dust your teaspoon, your fingers and the dough lightly as you drop them onto the cookie sheet. spacing them about two inches apart, drop a teaspoon of dough onto cookie sheet covered with parchment paper (if you do not have parchment paper, lightly grease your cookie sheet.)
6. bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly browned.
7. remove from oven and carefully remove cookies to a wire rack for cooling. sometimes, these cookies may be crumbly while trying to remove them from the cookie sheet, so proceed carefully! i use a metal spatula, and it seems to do the trick.
8. when cookies are completely cooled, frost with lemon frosting (recipe follows).

lemon frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 cup warm water

1. place wax paper beneath your wire rack. (this will make for easier clean-up of the surface beneath the cookies!)
2. with your electric mixer beat all ingredients until smooth and syrupy. you may need to add a few more drops of warm water after you have beat all the ingredients, if you find the frosting is too thick.
3. holding a completely-cooled cookie upside down, dip into the bowl of frosting. when the top and sides of the cookie are completely covered with frosting, hold upright and place onto the wire rack. frosting will ooze off the cookie onto the rack and the wax paper beneath the rack, but that’s what you want it to do! the cookie should still be covered with frosting. repeat with all remaining cookies.
4. let the frosting dry. depending upon the humidity, this may take a number of hours. be sure frosting is completely dry before storing.
5. store in airtight container.

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