First Published: December 5, 2008… Last Updated: October 4, 2019
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.
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*
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!
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.
Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.
Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more
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