For the dough, beat the butter until soft and light, either by hand, with a hand mixer set at medium speed, or in a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat in the sugar, zest, and vanilla and continue beating until very light, 3 or 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Mix the flour and baking powder together and add half of the mixture to the butter mixture, stirring it in by hand. Stir in the milk, then the remaining flour mixture, to make a sticky dough.
Form the ancinetti using a pastry bag fitted with a
Bake the ancinetti at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden and fairly firm. Cool briefly on the pans.
Immediately after removing the ancinetti from the oven, prepare the icing. Combine all the icing ingredients in a large saucepan and stir to mix. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and just hot to the touch, about 130 degrees. Remove from the heat and add the still-warm ancinetti, about 6 or 8 at a time, stirring them gently in the icing. With a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove them from the icing, draining them well, and arrange them right side up on paper-lined pans. Continue with the remaining ancinetti, reheating the icing if it cools and becomes too thick.
Allow the ancinetti to cool completely so that the icing dries, then place them in a tin between layers of wax paper.
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.