Italian Christmas Cookies

Before we get to those yummy cookies, I have some other things to share with you. Many of you have asked me how my mother-in-law is doing. She is still in the hospital, still 2 hours away, but is improving. She sounds stronger and has started rehab. She is not able to walk on her own yet, but will be able to in time. Her balance is off since the stroke. She can move her legs and arms while sitting in the bed but has had a hard time getting her right foot to go where she tells it to. She has been a hoot when we visit her. She has that “sarcastic comeback” a few times and really gives us a chuckle. So while it is unfortunate she had to go through what she did, we are lucky she is where she is at and is going to improve. She can’t come home for a while yet, but as long a she is getting better, that is all that matters. Thank you to all of you for your well wishes!

My cousin Andrea called me the other day and asked me if I could make her cookies for a cookie exchange she had this week. I had just seen a recipe for Italian Sprinkle Cookies in my new Taste of Home Christmas Country Style magazine. They looked like a fun cookie and sounded really delicious with the almond and lemon extract in the cookie dough. I set out to make them and found they were super easy to put together also! If you looking for a fancy looking cookie that tastes great and isn’t too hard to make, look no further!

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Italian Christmas Coookies
from Taste of Home Christmas Country Style, 2008
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teasppon baking powder
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Glaze
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon 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 flour, confectioners’ sugar and baking powder; on low speed, gradually beat in shortening and extracts until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Gradually add beaten eggs (dough will be stiff).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 at a time into glaze. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs. Place on wire racks to drain. Immediately top with sprinkles. Let dry for 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.

Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 1 hour 5 mins Yield: 7 dozen


I recently received an award from Nicole of Test Kitchen Recipes. She awarded me with the Butterfly Award – for the coolest blog I ever know. :0)

I am passing this award on to a few of my favorite blogs to read:

Cory of Zesty Cook. He always has some of the greatest looking recipes! He has a recent post on stuffed mushrooms and I am now dying to try them! (p.s. edit – when I gave this to Cory I wasn’t thinking about butterflies being girlish – I was thinking of cool blogs!)

Debbie of The Friday Friends. Debbie was just saying in one of her recentn posts that she doesn’t win anything. Well, this isn’t’ a tangible prize, but it is a prize nonetheless and she deserves it totally! Check her blog out for some interesting tidbits and great recipes!

Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen. She has some awesome recipes. Check out her recent post on Pumpkin Rolls, they are super drool worthy!!


  1. says

    So glad to hear that your MIL is improving. You are all in my thoughts and prayers! *hugs*

    Congrats on your award; you totally deserve it!

    And what are you doing to me???? Those cookies look FANTASTIC! Hmmmm… I think I know what I will be making tomorrow! Thank you!!! :)

  2. says

    I am glad that your MIL is improving everyday. Hopefully she will be well enough by Christmas to leave the hospital and go back home!!!!These cookies do sound easy. You always give us delicious and comforting recipes so deserve this award as well.

  3. says

    cookies look great. You are fortunate to live not too far from your family though – I love where we are but we have been expat since early 90’s and sometimes I just wish we had a more normal life where we were able to see family!!

  4. says

    Amazing cookies!
    Glad to hear your mother in law is doing better. I continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers! Congrats on the award!

  5. says

    Congrats! Amazing cookies you made there and wonderful bloggers you picked!

    Glad to hear your MIL is doing better as well. I continue to keep your and yours in my thoughts.


  6. says

    AH yes, the MIL thing. We have been going through this for 3 years. When they have the comebacks for you, you know all is right with their world!! Keeping you in my prayers.

    Now as for the cookies, these have been a tradition in our Italian family for years! They are so good and your post is beautiful.
    I will be baking mine this weekend.

    Congratulations on your award…well deserved.


  7. says

    Wow, italian cookies? Simply amazing. I love the ingredients, the additional of both almond and vanilla extract in the glaze is genious. These look great.

  8. says

    Congrats on the award! Well deserved and thank you so much for passing it on to me. Don’t worry abou tit being girlie. I am in tune with my feminine side as well :)

    Cookies look amazing!


  9. says

    whew! glad you don’t mind Cory! lol

    Thanks everyone…and Lisa, I think they probably would freeze well. I know this is a cookie Grumpy loved! He told my cousin that I had to charge $4 a cookie! he he.

  10. says

    Glad your MIL is doing better, that’s great news. How interesting that this recipe uses lemon and almond extract, how does that come together? I love colored jimmies.

  11. says

    Doberlady – when I use shortening I always use regular Crisco. I’m not a fan of the no name brand shortening. I don’t make a lot of recipes that call for shortening. I’m more of a butter in the batter kind of girl but these cookies looked way too good!

    Cathy, the lemon and almond together came out awesome. Grumpy loved them! I saved a few for his lunch box and when I got home tonight and was taking care of his box, I see he ate every one of them!

  12. Katypi says

    The Italian cookies look great. I make a very similar cookie, but it has one added ingredient; add 1 tsp anise extract with the lemon and vanilla extracts to the cookie dough. Now we’re talking! Reminds me of my favorite Boston bakeries….so good!

  13. says

    What gorgeous photos! The cookies sound terrific, especially with the sweet little sprinkles :-) Very glad to hear your mother-in-law is improving and is in good spirits.

  14. says

    yes, those photos are great! I printed off the recipe, because this is one cookie I am going to make. thanks again for the award…and I’m sure my husband and grumpy would be great friends! LOL

  15. says

    Honey B- Thanks so much for the award. That is so nice of you to think of me when there are so many great blogs out there. Love these cookies. My mom makes them every year! Have a great day!

  16. says

    Thank you sooo much for posting this recipe. My mom's family is Italian and we used to have these growing up, although my cousin tells me my great grandma used anise instead of almond and lemon. I also remember my mom making them. She has been gone 6 years. I made these yesterday and had so much fun and it brought back wonderful memories. I'm going to write a post on them now (C: Using my own pictures..hee hee and I do plan to put a link to your blog saying you are where I found the recipe. I really enjoy your blog and was just reading the macadamia cookie recipe…ummmmm…YUM!!!! Have a wonderful Christmas.

  17. says

    My seven year old just peeked over my shoulder and said, "Those are the most beautiful cookies. Can you make some?" It's all about the sprinkles!

    So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Will be thinking of you and your family and wishing her well.

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