These Italian Christmas Cookies make great additions to the holiday cookie plate. These soft cookies are coated with an almond-flavored glaze, then topped with festive sprinkles. This big batch cookie recipe is a delicious one to add to your holiday cookie trays
Unlike the traditional Italian Christmas Cookies, this cookie recipe, rather than anise flavoring, it is flavored with almond and vanilla extracts. They are made with butter flavored shortening to give it that buttery flavor and keep the cookies on the soft side.
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A Holiday Cookie Recipe Tradition
Making Italian Christmas Cookies has become a regular family tradition. The first time I made these cookies for Grumpy, he fell in love with them! He is a sucker for a cookie that you don't have to crunch through. These cookies are soft and have that buttery almond flavor that we love so much.
The rest of my family also fell in love with this cookie recipe. I became the go-to person for Italian Christmas Cookies anytime someone wanted a large batch for a party. They would call and ask me to make them for them!
What You Need To Make This Recipe
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*Please see recipe card for full ingredient list and instructions*
The Origin of Italian Christmas Cookies
I was curious about the origin of Italian Christmas Cookies, so I did a search to find out exactly where these came from. I really couldn't come up with anything other than recipes, so I went to Wikipedia and found a whole list of cookies! There were 9 cookies that were labeled Italian.
Not a single cookie on that list of 9 cookie recipes came close to this recipe. So, while these are called Italian Christmas Cookies, I am not exactly sure why. The closest match in the description and flavors was the Pizzelle.
Tips for making Italian Christmas Cookies
- Sift your flour first, then lightly spoon it into the measuring cups, leveling it off with a knife.
- Add flour 1 cup at a time, stirring until well combined after each addition.
- If the dough starts to become stiff before all of the flour is added, then don’t add any more flour.
- Dip the cookies in the icing when they are still warm. This allows the icing to seep into the cookie.
- Sprinkle with the colored jimmies immediately after you dip the cookie in the icing.
- If your glaze seems too thin, add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until it is at the consistency you want.
- Air-dry the cookies on a cooling rack for 24 hours before storing container.
- Store the cookies in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze up to 2 months.
Tips and Substitutions
Butter is the easiest and best substitute for the vegetable shortening. The cookie texture will not be exactly the same, they will be a little less soft, but they will be absolutely delicious.
If you decide to use butter, be sure it is at room temperature. You should be able to make an indent in the butter with your finger without it going through the stick.
Feel free to flavor these Italian Christmas cookies with any flavors you wish! The sky is the limit here. Just a few ideas on how to change the flavors up are listed below.
- Use orange extract and substitute orange juice for the heavy cream in the glaze. Sprinkle with colored sugars instead of jimmies.
- Banana extract in the cookies and rum flavoring in the icing
- Substitute lemon extract and sprinkle lemon zest over the top of the iced cookie
More Christmas Cookie Recipes to Try
If there is one thing I love, it is cookie recipes! If you searched my recipes here, you would find a lot of cookie recipes. I love them so much, I did a round-up of The Best 25 Christmas Cookie Recipes on Grumpy's Honeybunch.
If you love chocolate, then you are going to LOVE these Black Forest Cookies. They are easy, delicious and no-bake.
If you are looking for a fun time with the kids and a delicious Christmas cookie, then Try this easy recipe for Santa Swirl Sugar Cookies!
These Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies are a great recipe for those you love who can't eat eggs!
Low Carb Christmas Cookie Recipes to Make
You may be here for my Italian Christmas Cookie recipe, but since so many people follow a low carb, keto lifestyle I wanted to share with you my favorite cookies that fit that profile!
These Keto Cannoli Cookie Cups are my first Christmas Cookie made low carb. These are absolutely delicious and were made to satisfy my urge for a cannoli!
These Strawberry Rhubarb Thumbprint cookies are delicious. If you made homemade sugar free strawberry rhubarb sauce earlier this year, then you have the filling for these cookies on hand. If not, then feel free to fill with sugar-free jam.
*If you made this Italian Christmas Cookie Recipe, please give it a star rating!*
Italian Christmas Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 6 large eggs
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar powdered sugar
- 2-½ tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup butter flavored shortening
- 1 tbsp almond extract
- ½ tbsp lemon extract
For the Glaze:
- 4-½ cups confectioner's sugar powdered sugar
- ½ 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 ½ 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.