Nonnas Twist Cookies

Source: Nonna Clara, about 1950’s

Nonnis Twists Cookies
Nonis Twists Cookies

Nonna’s Twist Cookies – The Inspiration

Nonnas Twist cookies come from, yes…my Nonna (I called her Nonni). These are light and doughy soft cookies with a soft lemony undertone. Delicious and one of a kind!

My Noni love to bake and in fact if the entire family were to sit around and reminisce, I can almost guarantee, we’d be talking about food. I so remember these cookies from my childhood. My Noni was a northern Italian living in a quaint, neat cottage in Anaheim, California. Her kitchen was perfectly retro, down to the cast iron apron front-sink & the wall-mounted faucet. Her kitchen was bright and faced the east, so the daylight coming in to the kitchen was always light and soft. She had the sweetest little nook where they ate their meals together on their retro kitchen table. In hind sight, that was a totally cool kitchen, and the nook where we ate, gave a perfect little garden view. I loved that little house and remember it fondly. My sister and I would spend several summer’s there visiting from Northern California.

Nonni’s kitchen was always in full production. Her table was always set for breakfast when we woke, lunch which was at 11:30, and dinner, was somewhere between 4 and 5 p.m … not a second late. She was the Nonni that always had a “sweetie” in the house, fresh from the oven. These “Nonnas Twist cookies” were usually made upon request from my sister and I. I inherited this recipe from my mom, and I’ve made them a few times for my group. As you’ll notice from my pictures, sometimes they turn out really nice, and other times I’ve struggled with the dough. I think the key element to these cookies, is taking the time, just like Nonni did.

Nonni’s Twists

Make them with love, and if you want to make them extra special, finish them with a sugar, lemon juice glaze…otherwise, just sprinkle some powder sugar on.  Think of your Noni when you make these …
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 50 twists


  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Mix dry ingredients together
  • hand mix butter until smooth crumbles
  • beat eggs and add liquids
  • mix together by hand
  • preheat oven  to 350, form cookies by rolling a small piece in a rope, then cross them over and twist.  Cook for 25 min. or until light golden. 
    Let cool, then ice with a sugar/lemon juice glaze.


This recipe was taken direct from my Nonni’s personal cookbook.  She did a lot of mixing by hand, since there wasn’t a kitchen aid nearby!  Try going retro when you make these cookies.  It brings you back to the good old days! 
p.s. Living in Europe, I’ve yet to see evaporated milk.  I’ve just read online that you can make your own evaporated milk by simmering down 2 1/4 (cups/parts) down to 1 part. 
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