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Cavallucci, the Italian cookies with walnuts, candied orange peel, and anise, are the epitome of a humble, un-precious treat. 

The beauty of these cookies is their simplicity. Not too sweet, spiced with anise, and studded with bits of candied orange peel, Cavallucci are the epitome of a humble, un-precious treat. 


1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 ¾ ounces candied orange rind, finely chopped
2 tablespoons anise seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting

Recipe directions: 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan over low heat, cook the sugar in 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water. Once the sugar dissolves, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, stirring regularly with a rubber spatula to prevent sticking, until it reduces very slightly but does not color, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in walnuts, candied orange, and spices. 

Sift the flour into a separate bowl. Add the hot syrup and mix together to form a dough. Oh a work surface well-dusted with flour, roll golf ball-sized balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pat to flatten slightly. Bake until the cookies are hard to the touch but not browned, 15 minutes.

These cookies are meant to have a hard shell and soft interior, so do not overbake them. Let the cookies cool on a rack before serving. Serve with vin santo, coffee, or tea, for dunking. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, they should last for 3 weeks.

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