The sweet smell of these cookies baking takes me right back to my childhood kitchen, knowing the holidays would be upon us soon. The recipe that follows is the basic cookie dough for all of our holiday cookies and is incredibly versatile.

The recipe for this taralli is perfect for a cup of coffee or for an afternoon snack. You’ll notice there are few ingredients, and it uses oil as opposed to butter, and the aromatics come from a liquor called Creme de Cacao. The liquor gives a faint cocoa flavor, though you could swap out any white liquor to meet your own tastes. The leavening agent using in many Italian sweets, called Paneangeli Lievito per Dolci will give this cookie the perfect texture.

Nonna's Taralli

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  1. Remove from heat and lift out tea bags. Serve warm and store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 10 days.


  • 1 kilogram flour
  • 150 ml canola oil
  • 350 grams granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 packets Paneangeli Lievito Per Dolci – or – 5 teaspoons baking powder**
  • 1 shot clear liquor, such as “Creme de Cacoa”, rum or Sambuca
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, if needed


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, mix together flour and lievto or baking powder.
  • In a medium bowl, combine oil, eggs, and liquor.
  • If using a stand mixer, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and let the mixer combine the ingredients together for about 8 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. If the mixture seems dry or crumbly, add whole milk, one teaspoon at a time. When the mixture has formed a ball, turn onto a clean surface and knead by hand for 3-5 minutes, until dough looks smooth.
  • If mixing by hand, turn the dry ingredients onto a clean tabletop surface, and create a well in the center by pressing the bottom of the bowl into the mound of dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the well, and slowly incorporate flour mixture with a fork. Use a bench scraper to bring the dough together, and knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough forms a smooth ball. If needed, add milk one teaspoon at a time to moisten the dough. The dough should be smooth and pliable, and should not stick to the tabletop when rolled.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated and brought to room temperature if being used the next day, or wrapped carefully and frozen.
  • After the dough has rested, cut off pieces of dough using a knife or a bench scraper, and roll into a ball, about 1.5 inches in diameter. Between your palms, or on a tabletop, roll the dough into a cylindrical shape and form into a doughnut shape. Place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 20-22 minutes, switching the position of the trays halfway through. Cookies should be a golden color when ready.

**Though you can use baking powder in this recipe, you’ll notice a significant difference in texture if you are using the Paneangeli Lievito Per Dolci. This is an Italian leavener using in sweets, and it will give the cookie a much softer crumb. Baking powder with create a cookie that has more of a biscotti/biscuit consistency. You can purchase Paneangeli Lievito Per Dolci in most Italian grocery stores or on Amazon.