These Italian Christmas Cookies make great additions to the holiday cookie plate. Cookie dough is shaped into a ball, baked, then coated with an almond flavored glaze and topped with colored sprinkles. Festive, fun, and delicious!

To make these traditional Italian Christmas Cookies, you will need the following ingredients: Flour, confectioners sugar, shortening, eggs, almond, vanilla, lemon extract, light cream, and colored sprinkles!

Glazed Italian Christmas Cookies with Colored Sprinkles

I seem to be the go to person for cookies! Whenever anyone wants cookies, they will call me and ask if I will make them. These cookies were baked for my cousin to participate in a cookie exchange she had this week. They are perfect for a cookie exchange because this is a big batch recipe!

Cookie dough and cookie scoop

What flavor are Italian Christmas Cookies?

Normally, Italian Christmas Cookies are flavored with Anise extract. These cookies, however, are flavored with almond and lemon extract. They are like a fun cookie with all the sprinkles and we really loved the flavoring in the dough, even though it was non-traditional.

Cookie dough shaped into a 1" ball.

Tips to consider when making your cookie dough

  • Be sure to sift your flour and lightly spoon it into the measuring cups.
  • Add your baking powder when you add your first cup of flour.
  • Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, stirring until combined after each addition.
  • If the dough starts to become stiff before all of the flour is added, then don’t add anymore flour.
  • If the dough seems too stiff, add a little bit of milk to the dough to loosen it up.
  • The dough should be soft and pliable, easy to roll into a ball shape.
Dough is shaped into 1" balls and placed 1" apart on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Storing Italian Christmas Cookies

Since this recipe makes such a large batch of Italian Christmas Cookies, you may want to consider storing them in the refrigerator or freezer. These can be made and put in the freezer up to 2 months, or they can be refrigerated up to 1 week.

baked cookies on cooling rack

Adding the glaze and sprinkles

  • Because you want some of the icing to soak into the cookie, you will want to dip them in the glaze when they are still warm.
  • Be sure to sprinkle with any jimmies immediately after you put the icing on the cookie. The icing dries quickly, so you want to get them on before it dries.
  • If you want a thicker glaze, use less milk.
Cookies on rack after adding glaze and sprinkles

Can you use butter instead of shortening in these Italian Christmas Cookies?

Yes, you can substitute butter. However, your cookies may not turn out the same. With butter, they may be a crunchier cookie. With shortening, these cookies are soft.

Italian Christmas Cookies pinnable image

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Yield: 56 cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies are a soft ball shaped cookie glazed with an almond flavored glaze and sprinkled with colored sprinkles. A festive cookie everyone will love to find on their cookie tray!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Using a heavy-duty mixer, beat eggs on high speed until light and foamy, about 5 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 5 cups of the flour, confectioners’ sugar and baking powder. Stir with whisk to combine.
  3. On low speed, gradually beat in shortening and extracts until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  4. 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.
  5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. 
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Tops of the cookies will not brown, but bottoms should brown slightly.
  7. 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.
  8. Place on wire rack to drain and immediately top with sprinkles. Let dry 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.

Notes

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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

56

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149 Total Fat: 9g Carbohydrates: 26g Protein: 1g
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.