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Figolli and Royal Icing

Figolli and Royal Icing

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When Nanette of Gourmet Worrier invited me to participate in World Figolli Day, I said, YES!  I thought it would be fun to try to find my inner Maltese while baking a lovely Easter treat Figolli and Royal Icing.

Figolli and Royal Icing

If you are not familiar with either, let me fill you in.  Nanette is of Maltese descent and lives in Melbourne.  She writes the wildly popular food site Gourmet Worrier when she is not being a mum to her darling children, and a wife to Huxley.  Nanette and I kindled a friendship, a couple of years ago when our food sites happened to collide.  We instantly hit it off, and have since enjoyed each other’s company virtually, and look forward to sharing a glass of wine, very soon.  Her site is filled with wonderful recipes that share her love of her Maltese heritage with her readers.

Figolli is the most important Maltese Easter dessert.  They have the texture of a shortbread cookie and are cut into shapes representing fertility.  Before baking to a golden brown, a homemade almond paste is sandwiched between two of the cutout shapes.  Traditionally, these cookies were enjoyed by children, post-Lent, not only by eating them but also by helping mum bake them.  Since we don’t have children, I enjoyed the relaxing task by myself.

Figolli and Royal Icing

I followed Nanette’s recipe, almost to a T.  Her recipe is heavy citrus influenced, which I love, especially during springtime.  I could not find any lime, so added more orange zest, to my cookie base.  As well, I cut the almond paste recipe in half, as I was concerned it would be too much for my small Easter cutters.  I do adore orange blossom water, so I increased the amount by an additional cap full for the paste.  I also used some of the heavenly scented water, in my royal icing recipe.  It was lovely, and not overpowering at all;  like being in Seville, sitting in the middle of an orange orchard.

I have never had Figolli, and could not wait to try the finished cookie.  Once, they were baked, and iced, I treated myself to a cup of mint tea, and a sweet bite.  They were not overly sweet, which I like.   Slightly crunchy, but with a nice, soft, almond middle.  I really loved the citrus with the almonds, as well as the orange blossom scent.  Definitely took me to a place far away from San Francisco.

Easter is still a few days away.  You still have time to make these treats with your children or even alone.  They are easy to make and easier to eat.

Oh, did I find my inner Maltese?  No, not yet, but I am sure there is a drop of her somewhere.

Figolli and Royal Icing


Figolli Cookie Base Recipe

Yield: 3 cups icing

Royal Icing

Royal Icing

Royal Icing is the best to use for decorating buttery sugar cookies. Fresh lemon juice along with vanilla gives this icing recipe makes it bright and flavorful.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or vanilla extract
  • food coloring, your choice


    In a large mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar.  

    Add the egg white, lemon juice, and orange blossom water or vanilla;  beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.  

    Color the icing whatever shade you like.  I start with adding a very small drop of color, and proceed until I get the shade I am looking for.

    Decorate cookies.

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Patz Caruana

Sunday 24th of April 2011

Hi Denise,

Found your blog when I saw figolli quite similar to mine :) I am Maltese and it seems we had the same idea (and the same cookie cutters!)

What a coincidence! Just for the info... figolli aren't usually made in bite sizes here in Malta... apparently it's just you and me ;-)



Tuesday 19th of April 2011

I've never heard of it but that is really nice.

Claudia Vella

Tuesday 19th of April 2011

Hello! What lovely figolli! Very very well done! I so wish we could taste all these beautiful's the only down side of this World figolli day! Thanks for the link.


Tuesday 19th of April 2011

What cute cookies! Perfect for Easter.



Denise Woodward

Monday 18th of April 2011

Nanette, I would LOVE to hit Malta with you. Can only imagine the fun we would have!!

Lael, I had never heard of them either, until a couple years ago. First time making them, and it was a blast, even if I did it by myself. You should definitely try it with your family.

Brian, Thanks! I thought they were cute as well as delicious. Just ate one with the my morning coffee. Hey, all the food groups were covered!

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