Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies

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  • Prep 35min
  • Total2hr25min
  • Servings60

Ricotta and lemon...because sometimes you need to shake tradition up a bit.MORE+LESS-

Updated September 20, 2016

Make with

Betty Crocker Cookies




pouch (1 lb 1.15 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix


cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour


cup part-skim ricotta cheese (from 15-oz container)


teaspoons grated lemon peel

Glaze and Decorations


to 5 tablespoons lemon juice

Assorted holiday candy sprinkles


Hide Images

  • 1

    Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir Cookie ingredients until soft dough forms.

  • 2

    With floured hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.

  • 3

    In small bowl, beat powdered sugar and lemon juice until glaze is smooth and can be easily spread. Spread glaze over cookies; immediately top with candy sprinkles. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Expert Tips

  • Ricotta cookies with lemon are a traditional Italian Christmas dessert.
  • For even baking, make sure the cookies are the same size and shape.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Cookie
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value
Total Fat
2 1/2g
Saturated Fat
1 1/2g
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C

0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1/2 Fat;

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

10 Easy Italian Christmas Cookies to Make This Holiday Season

These yummy treats will have your guests coming back for seconds.

If there's one item you need to include in your holiday spread to feel like you've just sat down to celebrate Christmas in Tuscany or Sicily (or anywhere in between!), it's Italian Christmas cookies.

From fruit-filled confections to classic sugar cookies, we've found the best recipes for Italian Christmas cookies to inspire your holiday baking this season. Some of these Italian Christmas cookie recipes are easy enough to get the kids involved, while others offer a more challenging project for skilled bakers. Whichever one you choose, these Italian Christmas cookie recipes will fill your home with intoxicating aromas and the sweetness of the holiday season. And for even more crowd-pleasing options, try some of our other beloved Christmas cookie recipes.

12 Italian Christmas Cookies That Are Simply Magnifico

It wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say that Italians are bound by tradition almost as much as they adore good food. And it's a good thing, too: At Christmas in Italy you can sure that there will be cookies and sweet, golden breads, just as there are piles of fried pastries many powdered with sugar, in the days leading up to mid-winter Carnevale, there is colomba, a dove-shaped cake, seen in every shop and bakery before Easter. At Christmastime, friends visiting one another always bring a cheerfully-wrapped panettone and plates of cookies are on tables in most houses, for dipping into coffee or a glass of vin santo.

Throughout the country and (or maybe especially) on the island of Sicily, holidays have specific foods and rituals associated with them. These vary from region to region, naturally, but how comforting it is to have a sense of predictability when the holidays roll around each year, and there are the cookies of the season, like our fig buccellati and Anise Orange Cookies, to look forward to.

Many cookie and pastry recipes in what is now Italy can be traced back centuries to the early spice trading routes, when cinnamon, ginger and black pepper were introduced to the kitchens of Venice and spread gradually further into other regions. Italian bakers also rely on their wonderful almonds for cookies like the Amaretti Cookies shown here, and fruits, like figs which they add to holiday recipes to indicate prosperity, generosity, and luxury. These have become popular as part of a New Year's celebration&mdashliterally wishing guests a fruitful year ahead.

7 Irresistible Italian Christmas Cookie Recipes

Italian cookies during the Christmas season are an absolute must. After a packed dinner of pasta and wine, the perfect digestif is an Italian Christmas cookie. And what every family makes and puts on their cookie platters is very different. Here’s a listing of some of the best Italian morsels you can add to your dessert tray this holiday season (click the subheads below to open the recipes).

7. Italian rainbow cookies

Sure, you don’t need to have these for Christmas. You can enjoy them all year round. But adding them to the Christmas cookie platter adds a beautiful burst of color. Plus, what better way is there to represent the Italian flag on your dessert table? The cookie has a bit of an interesting history , but there’s no denying how delicious it is.

6. Italian fig cookies (Cuccidati)

These are truly a labor of love. They take all weekend to make and are filled with sweet, delicious citrus flavors that stand out against a platter of other cookies. Once sliced into, the cross section of these are gorgeous to look at too. The golden fig mixture is wrapped in a sweet sugar cookie draped in white icing and covered with colorful sprinkles. They may take a long time, but it’s a recipe and traditional that can be passed on through the family.

5. Florentine (lace) cookies

There is no denying these cookies are gorgeous. They can add some textural variety to the other cookies on this list, and they have a certain lightness to them that makes them a little different. The addition of dried oranges adds a note of brightness. Plus, who can deny the combination of oranges and chocolate?

4. Thumbprint cookies

These cookies are delicious for a few reasons. One, they can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Two, you can change out the fig spread for basically any other kind of jam. And three, although they are somewhat labor intensive, they are so, so worth it. Something I like to do is experiment with different kinds of filling to see which ones tastes the best.

3.Italian Christmas cookies

Here is a pretty classic selection to add to your Christmas cookie platter. You can get your children or grandchildren involved in the decorating process and even try out different colored glazes, sprinkles and cookie shapes. The addition of anise extract adds that little something extra that traditional sugar cookies don’t have.

2. Anise pizzelle

Traditionally made with anise, but you can also use vanilla, rum, lemon or orange, or even chocolate. Serve these scrumptious morsels hot off the press. Yum!

1. Butterballs

Butterballs are a dream. They are the best cookies, hands down. They represent Christmas with their snow-like shape and look, and they literally melt in your mouth. You can change up the type of nut you use to flavor it (my preferred is hazelnut), so as they dissipate on your tongue, you’re left with a warm, nutty flavor. There’s no real story behind their name, other than the fact they have tons of butter in them, which is the reason they are so delicious.

Italian Christmas Cookies

Easy Italian Christmas Cookies that taste just like sugar cookie mix but better. These Italian Christmas cookies taste just like the sugar cookies your family would make every year for Christmas as a child!

Quick and easy, 10-ingredient Italian Christmas Cookies. These cookies will rival your classic sugar cookie that’s been passed down from generation to generation. These cookies are soft, fluffy, and have a classic sugar cookie.

It’s the start of the holiday season and now is the best time to make a list of Christmas cookies and desserts to make for family parties.

In just a few days, it will be December. This time of year always go by quick with Christmas parties, and holiday work parties. In between shopping and gift wrapping, I like to bake. I always start the holiday season off with Thanksgiving and then I start to bake cookies and fudge for the Christmas season. This season, I’m all about these Italian Christmas Sugar Cookies.

Perhaps the best part of making these easy sugar cookies is that the dough doesn’t need to be rolled out on a floured surface. During the holiday season, I don’t always have the counter space to do that and sometimes I like to pack up all the ingredients and head to a friends house where they don’t the room to roll out cookies. Well these cookies just need time to chill in the refrigerator and that’s totally okay with me while I enjoy a glass of wine with my friend.

I’m a huge cookie fan. Everyone that knows me, knows that I love to bake cookies. Baking cookies is therapeutic for me and it helps to relieve a lot of stress. Other times, I’m simply craving a sweet dessert and cookies are it for me.

It’s been a family tradition since I can remember to bake Christmas cookies throughout the holiday season. I always start with the classics like Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies, Pecan Snowballs, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and Crinkle Cookies, however, I like to try new recipes like these Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies. I’ll also adapt old favorites and introduce them during holiday cookie parties.

This year, I’ll be shipping my a variety of Christmas cookies off to family and friends. We love to do a holiday cookie exchange and these cookies always make the cut.

The secret to creating bakery style sugar cookies is to add vanilla and almond extract. Almond extract is used to give cake batter desserts their flavor and it makes these cookies a go-to Nonna approved Christmas cookie recipe this holiday season.

If you’re looking to add more flavor to these cookies, try experimenting with different extracts and citrus zest. Almond extract is my go-to flavor enhancer when flavoring cookies and cakes as it adds a “cake batter” flavor I remember and loved growing up.

More flavor ideas include peppermint, lemon, caramel, maple, and anise extract flavorings.

Italian Christmas Cookies are classic sugar cookies. The baking powder in the recipe allows the cookies to rise with heat and they stay set throughout cooling. One bite of this Christmas cookie recipe and it will quickly become a favorite. It will even make the Christmas cookie list year after year.

Italian Christmas Cookies

These Italian Christmas cookies have become our favorite Christmas recipe – try them and see for yourself how delicious they are!
Has Christmas fever started to shake you up?
I’m burning up! More specifically, I’m burning, because I want everything, but I manage not to finish anything. I have xx open eyelashes with recipes that I want to prepare, eat, erase from the “to do” list because it’s not good to move all that to the New Year, right?
But it’s not happening the way I would like it to… and this terrible weather! I’m waiting for noon to start taking pictures, the closer the moment gets, the darker it gets. I will never get used to the winter weather.


4 eggs
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3½ cup of flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
6 teaspoons of water

Sicilian Christmas Cookies

The cookie on the left is a cucidato , a traditional Sicilian Christmas cookie with a fig and dried/candied fruit filling enclosed in pasta frolla, the Italian sweet pastry dough. The one on the right is an X cookie, made from the same dough and filling and popular in pastry shops in Calabria and Sicily. The recipe makes quite a few cookies, and making some of each type is a little less labor intensive than making all cucidati.


These are a bit of a project to make, but are worth every minute of it. The filling may be prepared, covered, and refrigerated up to a week in advance, and the dough a couple of days before you form the cookies. The process of assembly is the most time-consuming part, though it goes quickly if you divide up the work among several people. Once baked, they keep well for a couple of weeks at a cool room temperature or they may be frozen.

4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

2 teaspoons baking powder

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 16 pieces

One 12-ounce package Calimyrna figs, stemmed and diced

1/4 cup dark or golden raisins

1/4 cup candied orange peel, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Egg wash: 1 large egg well beaten with a pinch of salt

Multicolored nonpareils for finishing

3 cookie sheets or jellyroll pans covered with parchment or foil

  1. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse 3 or 4 time to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until it is finely mixed into the dry ingredients. Add the eggs and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball.
  2. Invert the dough to a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Form the dough into a fat cylinder and wrap it in plastic. Chill until you intend to prepare the cookies, up to 3 or 4 days.
  3. For the filling, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to mix. Scrape the filling into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse repeatedly until the filling is finely chopped and holding together, but not ground or pureed. Scrape the filling into a bowl, cover and reserve it. It keeps refrigerated for a week.
  4. To make the cookies, set racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator to a floured surface. Gently knead the dough to soften it until malleable. Roll the dough into a cylinder 15 inches long and cut it into 15 1-inch slices. Set them aside. Repeat with the filling, using a bit more flour on the surface.
  6. To form the cookies, clean the work surface and flour it lightly. Roll one of the pieces of dough under the palms of your hands until it is about 8 inches long. Flour under the dough again and use the palm of your hand to flatten it until it is about 3 inches wide – if you use a rolling pin for this, flour the top of the dough and don’t roll over the long edges or it will distort them. Slide a thin metal spatula under the strip of dough to make sure it isn’t stuck.
  7. Flour another part of the work surface and roll one of the pieces of filling under the palms of your hands until it is 8 inches long. If you do this behind the strip of dough, you can roll it right onto the dough without having to lift it. Center the filling on the dough and lightly egg wash the exposed edges of dough, using a brush. Draw the dough around the filling to enclose it and make a long cylinder. Roll the cylinder under the palms of your hands to lengthen it to about 12 inches, being careful not to point the ends while rolling.
  8. Use a paring knife to cut the cylinder into four 3-inch lengths.
  9. Seam side down, flatten each cookie slightly and slash the top diagonally in 4 or 5 places. Form the cookie into an arc so that the slashes open. Egg wash lightly, then sprinkle with the nonpareils. Arrange the cookies on one of the prepared pans and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  10. Bake the cookies until they are golden and firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, switch the pan from the lower rack to the upper on and vice versa, turning the pans back to front at the same time. If your oven gives strong bottom heat, bake the pan on the lower rack stacked on another pan. Bake the remaining pan of cookies on the middle rack.
  11. Cool the cookies on the pans on racks.
  12. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.

After step 8, make a 1-inch cut inward from each end of the cookie and gently pull the slashed areas open on each end to form an “X.” Bake and cool as above and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

How To Make Italian Almond Cookies &ndash Step By Step

  • In a huge bowl mix almond flour and sugar.
  • In a separate bowl beat egg whites with a whisk just until foamy.
  • Start adding beaten egg whites, leaving about 1 egg white for later. Mix with a spatula.
  • Add honey and almond flavor extract.
  • Mix the dough with your hands scooping all the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl. The dough should be soft but not too sticky.
    If the dough feels hard and is not coming together add the remaining egg white.
  • Dust your hands with confectioners sugar and take a good chunk of the dough. Roll it lightly on a work surface dusted with confectioneers sugar.
  • Cut in about ½ x ½ inch pieces. If you have a kitchen scale you can check each piece by weight. It should be about an ounce or slightly over an ounce.
  • Roll each piece of the dough in your palms to form a nice round cookie shape. Set aside on a dusted with confectioners sugar work surface or on a tray.
  • Divide and roll the remaining dough.
  • Roll each cookie in confectioneers sugar. Make sure to sift it before use to avoid any lumps.

Arrange cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Decorate with candied cherry halves, whole almonds.

You can also simply pinch a cookie with your fingers twice to form an irregular shape &ndash called pizzicotti.

Bake in a preheated to 350F/ 175C oven for 15-20 minutes.

After 10 minute mark check on your cookies to adjust baking time. It mainly depends on your oven. The cookies should start to get a light color on top and on the bottom.

Some other Christmas Cookies we love

A few years back one of my sisters gave me a recipe for chocolate truffles. When you taste them your mouth is full of a comfy and delicious dark chocolate truffle flavor. If you didn’t know better you would think you are tasting a chocolate truffle, but these truffles are made from ground Oreo cookies and cream cheese! They're rolled into walnut-sized balls and drizzled with melted dark chocolate: positively luscious! And if you don’t tell, no-one will know the difference!

In the Genoa area the most popular holiday cookie is anicini, flavored with anise.
Chocolate chip cookies are always a favorite during the holidays. Chocolate chips are not always available everywhere in Italy so instead I make a peanut butter thumbprint cookie and put a gianduia chocolate in the center.

9. 27 best Nonna images on Pinterest

Best Best Italian Christmas Cookies
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Mike Garten Christmas dinner is the banquet every person looks forward to all year long. Offer your liked ones the utmost holiday spread with these scrumptious appetizers, treats, sides, and also beverages– if you do, we guarantee they’ll be back again following year.

Italian Christmas Cookies

These Italian Christmas cookies have become a favorite Christmas recipe at our house. Try them and see for yourself how delicious they are!

H as the Christmas fever started shaking you?
I’m burning! More specifically, I’m burning, because I want everything, but I’m managing to finish nothing. I have xx tabs opened with recipes that I want to prepare, eat, erase from the “to do” list because it isn’t good to transfer all of that into the New Year, right ?

But it’s just not happening the way I would like … and this terrible weather! I’m waiting for noon to begin to take photos, the closer the time, the darker it becomes. I’ll never get used to winter time.

Soooo, back to today sweet treat.

One part of the Christmas and New Year’s magic, which gives a special flavor to the holidays is certainly – cookies. Easy to prepare, these colorful cookies, crunchy outside and incredibly soft inside, are an unavoidable and very popular part of the Italian festive cuisine. Their lightly sweet taste is again as most Italian cookies, perfect for dipping in espresso….or wine!

Watch the video: Ζαχαρόπαστα Katerina Sweet Cooking (June 2022).