My cousin called me the other day and asked me if I could make her cookies for a cookie exchange she had this week. I guess since I have been blogging and baking so much, I am becoming the “go to person” for party treats!
Italian Christmas cookies are typically flavored with Anise extract.
I was looking through my magazines when I came across a recipe for Italian Christmas Cookies from Taste of Home Christmas Country Style (2008). They looked like a fun cookie and sounded really delicious with the almond and lemon extract in the cookie dough. This was out of the norm, but because I love almond, I decided this was the one I wanted to try.
If your cookie dough is not stiff enough to shape into balls, gradually add a little more flour until it does!
I’ve made these several times over the years and I wanted to bring to my reader’s attention that it doesn’t matter how many times I have made this recipe, something always comes out different! This time, the cookie batter was way too loose to shape. It needed to be firmer. I don’t know what I did differently before, but whatever it was, I knew I needed to adjust the recipe this time to make it work for me!
This is why I start with 5 cups of flour but in the ingredients list I stated 6 cups of flour. You will want to start with 5 cups and if your cookie dough is not stiff enough, you will gradually add in that last cup of flour until it is ready to hold it’s shape. The photo above is an example of how it should be. Soft and flexible, but not too stiff.
How many cookies will you get out of this recipe?
That is another thing that has been brought to my attention over the years since I first posted this recipe. I use my small cookie scoop which holds 1 tablespoon of dough. With this scoop, I was able to get 56 cookies, about 4-1/2 dozen. The original recipe states you will get 7 dozen (84 cookies). If you want to get that volume, then you will want to make your cookie dough balls a little smaller than 1 tablespoon.
Baking your Italian Christmas Cookies
It should take only 12 minutes in an oven that is correctly calibrated. The cookies may look like they are not cooked because they don’t brown on the top, but if you lift them from the pan slightly, you will see they have browned on the bottom. That is a good thing! You don’t want these cookies to overbake and brown on the top. You want them to be white so when you glaze, you will have a white cookie beneath that glaze!
Glazing your Italian Christmas Cookies!
I really love a nice thick glaze, as in the photo below. That photo is the first one I ever took of these cookies. I have tried to replicate that thick glaze every time, but I have been unsuccessful. I even triple dipped this batch and still did not succeed. Oh well, next time I have noted to add only 1/3 cup of light cream instead of 1/2 cup. This way, maybe my glaze will be thicker. Anyhow, no matter how thick or thin the coating is on these cookies, they are still yummy!
Can you freeze Italian Christmas Cookies?
After I have made my cookies, glazed them, and let them dry for 24 hours, I put them in a big freezer safe container, seal them up and freeze them until we are ready to eat. I admit we are known to eat them frozen and not wait for them to thaw. They are good that way too! However, they will thaw out in about 5-10 minutes, depending on the temperature in your house.
Have fun with sprinkles on your cookies!
I think the kid in all of us loves sprinkles! There are so many different sprinkles out there to use. Just pick your favorite and sprinkle away! You don’t have to limit making these for Christmas. Go ahead and make them for any holiday and just decorate with the appropriate sprinkle. 🙂 Your family and friends will be glad you did!
PIN IT – Italian Christmas Cookies
Looking for an Italian Christmas Cookie made with Ricotta Cheese? Try this recipe from my friend!
Follow my Pinterest Christmas Recipe board for more ideas!
For the Cookies:
- 6 large eggs
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
- 2-1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup butter flavored shortening
- 1 tbsp almond extract
- 1/2 tbsp lemon extract
For the Glaze:
- 4-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1/2 cup warm light cream
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- colored sprinkles
- Using a heavy-duty mixer, beat eggs on high speed until light and foamy, about 5 minutes; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the 5 cups of the flour, confectioners’ sugar and baking powder. Stir with whisk to combine.
- On low speed, gradually beat in shortening and extracts until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Gradually add beaten eggs. Dough should be stiff. If it is not stiff enough to roll into a cookie ball, gradually add more flour. (This is where the extra cup of flour comes in). Start with 1/2 cup. If still not stiff enough, gradually add remaining half cup. By this time your dough should be stiff enough to shape into a cookie ball.
- Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Tops of the cookies will not brown, but bottoms should brown slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar, milk and extracts until smooth. As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, quickly dip two or three times into the glaze.
- Place on wire rack to drain and immediately top with sprinkles. Let dry 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.
Nutrition information calculated using myfitnesspal is provided as a courtesy, but will vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients you use. Please consult with your doctor regarding specific health needs.
AirBake Natural 2 Pack Cookie Sheet Set, 16 x 14 in
Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper (SmartGrid, Non-Stick, 50 Square Foot Roll, 3 Count)
Solula Professional 18/8 Stainless Steel Small Cookie Scoop, 2-YEAR Warranty
Pampered Chef Stackable Bakers Rack Set of 2
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Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149 Total Fat: 9g Carbohydrates: 26g Protein: 1g