Italian Christmas Cookies are little bites of joy. They're everything that is good in the cookie world - a soft and sweet cake-like cookie covered with icing and sprinkles. Since you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now, you can make some homemade Italian Christmas Cookies today!
Italian Christmas Cookies are perfect for a neighbor gift all by themselves, or on a Christmas platter with an assortment of delicious cookies like Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Nonna's Famous Christmas Toffee, and Thumbprint Cookies. I love to give a variety of flavors and textures when I'm making my Christmas cookies to give away. It's also fun to introduce people to a cookie they maybe haven't tasted before.
I love to teach my kids about different countries and how they celebrate holidays. And eating some freshly baked Italian Christmas Cookies together is a great way to do that. Whip up this Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe to go along with them for the perfect evening in.
About Italian Christmas Cookies
This old fashioned homemade cookie full of Italian tradition is so divine. Its texture and flavor are similar to a fresh sugar cookie, but a bit more cake-like. Just the right amount of sweetness is combined with a subtle and smooth almond flavor.
A sweet glaze tops off the cookie, making sure the cookie stays moist, and to add a touch more flavor. I know that sometimes sprinkles are viewed as simply decoration, but you really need the sprinkles on this cookie. They add small bits of crunch and a whole lot of color - perfect for celebrations!
Don't let the name of this cookie trick you into thinking that they can only be made at Christmas. Mix up the colors of your sprinkles and they can be the perfect cookie for any celebration. Their light and simple flavors are amazing any time of year.
Tools you will need
This recipe just uses a few of my favorite tools:
- Baking Sheets
- Parchment Paper (I use these sheets for almost everything!)
- Mixing Bowls - small and large sizes
- Electric Mixer
- Small Cookie Scoop
- Cooling Rack
Ingredients for Italian Christmas Cookies
These delicious cookies use basic kitchen ingredients that can be purchased at any local grocery store. Their simplicity is one of the reasons I love them because they are so easy to whip up at a moment's notice!
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Eggs, large
- Sugar - granulated
- Butter, salted, room temperature - if using unsalted butter, add ¼ tsp. salt
- Almond or Vanilla Extract - or you can use vanilla or anise extracts. Anise is used in traditional Italian Christmas cookies and has a licorice taste. I prefer the more subtle flavors of almond or vanilla.
- Powdered Sugar
- Almond or Vanilla Extract
- Sprinkles- nonpareils or your sprinkle of choice
How to Make Italian Christmas Cookies
The full printable recipe is below.
This recipe is easy to make in just a few simple steps.
- In a small bowl, mix the baking powder and flour and set aside. I always use the spooning method for flour.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, sugar, and extract until well combined. Mixture will look chunky.
- Add the flour and baking powder mixture and mix until it is just combined.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- Using a small scoop or tablespoon, measure and roll the dough into balls. Dough will be sticky, so you can lightly grease your hands with cooking spray to roll it, if needed. I find if I am quick about it and roll them while the dough is still cold, I have no problems.
- Place the dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1" apart. Tip- store the dough in the fridge in between batches in the oven to keep it cold.
- Bake cookies in a preheated 350° F oven for 8-10 minutes until they're set. Do not overcook or the cookies will be dried out and not as good! Allow to cool completely.
- Measure powdered sugar into a bowl.
- Add extract. Note- if using vanilla, it might color your icing. You can also omit the extract in the icing if you prefer.
- Add milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time until a thick glaze forms.
- Place cooling rack inside of a baking sheet.
- Hold cooled cookies upside down and dip in glaze.
- Turn right side up and place on cooling rack, allowing excess glaze to drip into pan.
- Pour sprinkles onto cookies while icing is still wet.
Tips for the Perfect Cookies
- Your butter should be room temperature, which means it will stir easily, but isn't melted.
- Don't overmix the dough. Just get the ingredients mixed, then stop mixing. Overmixing will activate the gluten in the flour and make them tough.
- You need to chill the dough. This helps all the flavors mix together as well as keeping the dough from spreading while they bake.
- If the dough is too sticky for you to work with, use some cooking spray on your hands while you roll the dough balls.
- These cookies should barely be a light brown on the bottom and the top should still be light when they're done. You want them to be soft and moist, so don't overbake.
- Let the cookies cool before dipping in icing. If the cookies are still warm, they'll absorb some of the icing, which you want to remain on top for the perfect Italian Christmas Cookie.
- Use vanilla, anise, or even lemon extracts in the cookie and glaze.
- Top with different colored sprinkles for any occasion.
- Top with crushed candy canes for a peppy peppermint crunch.
Italian Christmas Cookie
A traditional Italian holiday cookie that is sweet, flavorful, and covered with delicious icing and colorful sprinkles.
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour (spoon method)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 eggs large
- ½ cup sugar granulated
- ½ cup salted butter 1 stick, room temperature
- 1½ tsp. almond extract or vanilla or anise extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
- nonpareill sprinkles
Mix the baking powder and flour together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, sugar, and almond extract and mix until well combined. Mixture will be chunky looking.
Add the flour/baking powder mixture and mix until it is just combined.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Use a small scoop or tablespoon to measure and roll the dough into balls. Dough will be fairly sticky.
Place the dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1" apart.
Bake cookies in a preheated 350° F oven for 8-10 minutes until they're set. Do not overcook or they will be dry! Allow to cool completely before icing.
Measure powdered sugar into a bowl.
Mix milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until a thick glaze forms. Add extract.
Place cooling rack inside of a baking sheet.
Hold cooled cookies upside down and dip in glaze.
Turn right side up and place on cooling rack, allowing excess glaze to drip into pan.
Pour sprinkles onto cookies while the icing is still wet.
Tip- store the dough in the fridge in between batches in the oven to keep it cold enough to handle.
Italian Christmas Cookies by Ella Claire & Co. | Sugar Sprinkled Lemon Snowflake Cookies by French Country Cottage | Ginger Orange Cream Cookies by Handmade Farmhouse
Candy Cane Sugar Cookies by Zevy Joy | Snowball Cookies by Freutcake | Gingerbread Cookie Bars by Inspired by Charm
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