This one is the star of the family favorites – Aunt Emma’s Apricot Cookie.

Aunt Emma was Emma Peditto, nee Monaco, and the 4th of 11 children – Victor’s mom was the 10th. Emma was the cook – their parents both died at an early age and she took over the role of matriarch. The family gatherings all centered around her kitchen.

This particular cookie has always been a family favorite and, while many cousins today try and replicate them, we’re the only ones who do them justice. Naturally, everyone else says that theirs are the best, also. However, ours are.

The recipe calls for lard. Yes. Lard. Crisco just doesn’t work as well – it makes a tough cookie.

The filling was made yesterday and the dough needs to refrigerate at least a day, so we’ll probably start them tomorrow…

Aunt Emma’s Apricot Cookies


  • 1 pound dried apricots, chopped fine (soaked overnight – we soak in apricot brandy!)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • grated lemon rind (we use about a tablespoon – the amount was never specified)

Drain apricots. Place in saucepan with lemon rind, sugar, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until water is absorbed.  Be really careful — it burns easily.  Cool.


  • 2 pkg dry yeast
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pound lard
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 shot whiskey
  • Juice and rind from 1 lemon

Proof yeast with 1 tsp sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.  Cut lard into flour, as you would for a pie dough.  Make a well in the mixture and add all the other ingredients, including yeast.

Work dough with your hands and form into a ball.  (Don’t overwork.  Use a light hand.)  Refrigerate overnight.

Roll cold dough to about 1/8″ thick.  Aunt Emma would cut the dough into triangles, place a scant teaspoon of filling at the wide end, then roll up and shape into a crescent similar to a croissant. It takes a bit of practice. The easier way is to cut squares, fill, and fold over. Place scant teaspoon of filling, fold and seal. Shape into crescent.

Bake at 325° until golden brown on lightly greased sheets or ungreased parchment paper. (Investing in a box of parchment paper is the only way to fly!!)
Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.


Make a well and add your ingredients.

It starts getting gooey.

Break up the egg yolks…

…and just start slowly incorporating the flour into the liquid.

In just a few minutes you have a completed ball of dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

They do take time, but they really are worth the trouble.