Occhi di santa Lucia, how to prepare them with children – Italian Cuisine

They are greedy tarallini to be kneaded together in the family waiting for the night when the saint will bring sweets and gifts to children

If Christmas is everyone's party, Saint Lucia it is above all gods children. It is they who, in the night between 12 and 13 December, anxiously await the arrival of the saint who, according to legend, will pass from house to house on the back of a donkey, leaving treats and gifts to the little ones who have behaved well. Just like the tradition of Christmas Eve, the children who celebrate Saint Lucia, an anniversary felt in this way especially in the cities of northeastern Italy, prepare cookies, milk and a carrot for the donkey for the coming of the saint.

The eyes of Saint Lucia, greedy tarallini

In family, thanks to the afternoons of lockdown where ideas to entertain the children are never enough, the party can start as early as the afternoon of December 12, preparing all together young and old sweets called eyes of Saint Lucia. They are small taralli to the wine covered with a sugar glaze. The recipe comes from Puglia where, as in other regions of Southern Italy such as Sicily, Saint Lucia is celebrated with religious rites and processions and with the preparation of typical dishes. It includes a few simple ingredients that we all have at home: flour, oil, wine, eggs, powdered sugar, water. Younger children can participate in the preparation of the dough that is made with their hands, older children also in the phase in which the taralli are formed and in that of covering with the icing. It will be fun to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen kneading, baking and enjoying!

The recipe for the eyes of Saint Lucia


250 g of 00 flour, 50 g of oil, 50 g of white wine, 1 egg, 150 g of powdered sugar, 25 g of water.


Mix the sifted flour with the oil, wine and egg. Get the children to help you mix the dough well and make it homogeneous. Work initially with a ladle and then with your hands. Now take small pieces of dough and form small strips of dough 1 or 2 centimeters thick. Cut the loaves into shorter pieces of about 8 centimeters which will then be closed in a circle, slightly overlapping the ends, to form the taralli. Once the taralli are complete, finishing the dough, arrange them on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 180 degrees for twenty minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the icing by mixing the icing sugar and water with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cover the taralli with the icing when they have cooled down. Let the icing set and then you can enjoy your Santa Lucia eyes for a snack.


You can enrich the dough with anise or vanilla, or add lemon juice to the glaze for even more fragrant taralli.

Alternative cookies

The feast of Saint Lucia is also very much felt in Sweden. Here we use to prepare the Lussekatter or cats of Saint Lucia, biscuits that are characterized by the presence of saffron in the dough. If you want to try making them, find the recipe here.

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