Sunday, April 2, 2023

Our Favorite Italian Easter Cookies


Both my mother-in-law and my husband's oldest sister, made these Calabrian-style Italian Easter cookies every year and would give us many of them to enjoy. They are called "Nguti" in their Reggio Calabria town's dialect.  If you are Italian, you may know them by another name, as it seems almost every southern Italian town or district has another name for them. My mother-in-law passed away many years ago, and we no longer live near my husband's sister, so we have not had these cookies in a few years and felt nostalgic for them. Years ago, I watched my mother-in-law make them, and I copied down the recipe.  After a quick phone call to my sister-in-law, to make sure I had all the ingredients and methods right, I decided to finally tackle making them myself.  Was I glad I did!  The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but they keep well and the plain ones are wonderful with a cup of coffee or tea at any time of the year. I imagine you could halve the recipe if you'd like to make less, but they are light and not too sweet, so you will find you can enjoy eating quite a few at a time.  I'm resharing them again as I know many missed the original post that I wrote in 2015. 

Italian Easter Cookies


12 cups of flour, divided into 6 cups and 6 cups -- have more flour available if needed--it is almost an entire 5-pound bag of flour.
3 cups of sugar
12 extra-large eggs for the batter
12 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons vanilla 
1 pound butter or margarine.
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Have extra egg yolks beaten, for the glaze--I used 4 egg yolks in total.

If you desire to make the bunny shape holding the egg, clean as many eggs as you like (I used one dozen), and dye them if you desire. 

*Important: The eggs used in the bunny shapes are raw --they will fully cook in the oven along with the cookie holding them.


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and then lower to 375 F
Melt butter or margarine and let it cool.
In a mixing bowl with the beater blade, add 12 eggs and mix --do not overbeat.
Then add sugar, vanilla, baking powder, and butter or margarine to the egg mixture and mix well.
Then add 2 cups of flour and mix
Add 2 more cups of flour and mix
Add two more cups of flour and mix until the entire mixture is smooth. 

Place the remaining 6 cups of flour on a clean board or counter and make a well in the middle. Pour the mixing bowl mixture into the center of the flour. Using clean hands, mix the wet and dry ingredients together, kneading until it forms a smooth ball.  You may have to add a small amount of flour if the mixture is too wet. I did not need to do this.
Clean your hands, pour 1 tablespoon of oil on your hands, and rub the oil all over the ball of dough--this helps to keep it from drying out as you make the cookie shapes.

Cut a piece of dough off the dough ball and roll it into a rope about ten inches long and about 3/4 inches wide (see photo above).  Loop once to hold the egg and twist the top around twice to form Bunny ears (see photo). Place a raw egg in the bottom loop.  Flatten out a small amount of dough, about a quarter-inch thick, and cut two strips, which you then crisscross over the egg. pressing the ends into the loop to hold the egg in place. Using a thin spatula, pick up the cookie and place it on a lightly greased cookie sheet, then brush lightly with egg yolk.  Do not crowd cookie sheets as the cookies will rise.

You can also cut pieces of dough and roll them into shapes.  I made "S" shapes. circles, and twisted (See photo above). Brush lightly with egg yolk to glaze them.  

*Important: make sure to add the non-egg holding shapes to a separate cookie sheet, as they will cook faster than the Bunny shape.

Place the egg-holding bunnies in the 375 F oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until edges are turning lightly brown. The raw eggs will cook inside the cookies. If you place two cookie sheets in the oven at the same time, switch the sheet positions midway through the baking time. 

Place the non-egg-holding cookies in a 375 F oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until edges lightly brown.

Cool on a rack.  Enjoy!

My mother-in-law did not refrigerate the bunny egg-holding cookies, but you can if you'd like. The non-egg-holding cookies store well in a cookie jar.

I am having Easter dinner at my house this year and it will be nice to have the cookies as part of our dessert, along with my New York Cheesecake that I will make with a gluten-free crust for the members of my family that must-eat gluten-free.

Our community had an Easter Egg hunt this past weekend and our oldest granddaughter, that lives nearby, joined in the fun again!  

The first time I shared this post, was in April 2015, when she was just two years old. That post has a collage of our granddaughter at that age.  How time flies!


Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love those kind of plain, not to sweet cookies. They’re perfect for dunking. Buona pasqua Pat to you and yours.

Lorrie said...

These look like very interesting cookies, Pat, and so pretty with the colored eggs. My kitchen is in great disarray because of renovations and Easter will be held at one of our daughters' homes. I don't know what I'll manage to make, but I am bringing dessert. Thank you for sharing your family recipe!

William Kendall said...

Looks good!

Midsnaps said...

Oh my goodness they look yummy :)

eileeninmd said...

Hello pat,

Your cookies all look delicious. I wish you and yours a very happy Easter!
Take care, have a wonderful week!

ellen b. said...

Such interesting cookies. That last collage is stunning! Happy Easter/Holy week to you and yours.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

How wonderful! They look delicious!! Happy Easter to you!

NCSue said...

Really? The eggs are cooked in the oven and come out as if hard boiled? REALLY?
I'm amazed!
Thanks for sharing at

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Everything about your post is so pretty. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I would need to stand and watch you make them to get them right! lol Enjoy your week!

stevebethere said...

All those ccookies look delicious I wouldn't know when to stop lol I wliked the fun photos too :-)

Have a cookietastic week 👍

Maria said...

These look so good and bring back memories from when I was little and we had big family get-togethers for Easter! I am super inspired by your creation and would love to invite you to link up your cookies at the Senior Salon Pit Stop to inspire others and have a chance to be featured!

Donna Reidland said...

They do sound good to have with coffee. I enjoy sweets that are not too sweet. :)

Michelle said...

This recipe makes so much. I am always impressed with your cooking/baking skills and the way you keep traditions. Happy Easter to you and yours.

Esme Slabbert said...

Oh wow so gorgeous - thanks for sharing at Senior Salon Pit Stop. Hope to see you on a regular basis.

XmasDolly said...

Whoa, so many good pictures! Thank you so much for sharing! HAPPY EASTER!

XmasDolly said...

mMMmmmmm I love Easter goodies... don't you? :)

XmasDolly said...

omg THANKS! Now I'm hungry.. hehehehe .... My gramma was from Sicily & she made those Italian cookies too they were soooooooooooooo good (shhh & fattening big time!!!!

diane b said...

You blow mw away with your cooking talent. They look and sound delicious. Happy Easter to you too.

Jeanie said...

WOW! Looks like you could easily halve the recipe if needed. Those are fabulous. I'll have to ask my neighbor next door who is from Calabria if she makes these for her family. She's a cookie master and I always love her Italian cookies at Christmas but have never seen these. They're quite spectacular. Thanks for sharing this!

Little Wandering Wren said...

Oh, how gorgeous Pat, you are getting me right in the Easter spirit. I love that the egg cooks inside the cookie, so clever of you to ensure this family tradition is still enjoyed by the family.
Happy Easter
Wren x

Leslie said...

Your Easter cookies are beautiful! They take me back to the Easters of my childhood growing up in an Italian family!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

The cookies look so yummy! Happy Easter!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

The cookies look yummy - Happy Easter!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Happy Easter!

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for sharing the recipe.

Easter Egg hunts are such fun our grandchildren are looking forward to theirs.

Happy Easter Wishes

All the best Jan

Jim said...

Yum. They are the same Easter treats that Greeks make.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Mmmm... they look delicious, and now I'm hungry for dessert!

Veronica Lee said...

The cookies look adorable with the coloured eggs! Yummm!

Love the collage.

Happy Easter, Pat.

Dixie @ Arranged Words said...

Your cookies look tasty.
So lovely to see a community Easter egg hunt.
Happy Easter.

Daniela said...

Such lovely treats!
May your Easter be blessed with Joy and Wonder, Pat dear!
Xx Daniela @ ~ My little old world ~ (Dany)

Nancy said...

Happy Easter and Pink Saturday. We just received a copy of the parish cookbook from Rome, NY. All Italian recipes, of course.

Light and Voices said...

From our house to your house, we wish you a Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

Those look yummy

Anonymous said...

I’ll have to give these a go great post

Joanne said...

Those look so neat; I especially like the ones with the colored eggs included. I have never heard of these.

Rambling Woods said...

It looks like it was a wonderful Easter...Michelle

Laura | Everyday Edits said...

Hi Pat, Pinned these Easter cookies for next year! They look so yummy!
Happy Spring-it's freezing outside today! ha xo laura