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Italian Cookies

Review Recipe
close up shot of a plate of Italian Cookies
Italian cookies are such wonderfully delicate and soft cookies coated in a simple glaze and bright, colorful sprinkles.
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Table of Contents
  1. Italian Cookies Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Italian Cookies Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

These soft Italian cookies with colorful sprinkles and a sweet glaze are so pretty and make a delicious little treat. Easy to make in just under 40 minutes, this simple Italian cookie recipe will be one of your favorites to bake for any occasion. 

close up shot of a plate of Italian Cookies

Italian Cookies Ingredients

Italian Cookies raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cups shortening
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkles

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

ALMOND EXTRACT: Almond extract is a strong flavor that some people do not enjoy. You can eliminate this extract in these delicious cookies and glaze and use vanilla extract instead, or simply reduce the almond extract to ½ or even ¼ teaspoon for just a hint of almond flavor.

SPRINKLES: Use multi-colored nonpareils for your Italian rainbow cookies, white nonpareils for really lovely Italian wedding cookies, red and green sprinkles for Italian Christmas cookies, or any colors that coordinate with the season or occasion. Nonpareils are usually the best sprinkles to use, but you can also try jimmies, sanding sugar, or crystal sugar.

How To Make This Italian Cookies Recipe

STEP ONE: Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.

STEP TWO: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, shortening, sugar, and almond extract together until light and fluffy.

eggs, shortening, sugar, and almond extract whisked together

STEP THREE: Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.

flour, baking powder, and salt added to the egg mixture

STEP FOUR: Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon, measure out 24 cookie balls and roll them between your palms. Place each dough ball on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie dough ball. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer and freeze for 20 minutes.

cookie balls scooped out and placed on a cookie sheet

STEP FIVE: While the cookie dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 9 minutes. The cookies will be done when the bottoms are slightly browned, but the tops are still white. They should hold their round shape when baked.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cookies as the suggested baking time approaches.

STEP SIX: Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool them to room temperature. 

STEP SEVEN: Warm the heavy cream for a few seconds in the microwave. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, warm heavy cream, and salt.

Start by adding 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, and you can add additional heavy whipping cream one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. The icing glaze should easily coat the cookie and drip down the sides as it sets.

PRO TIP:

For the glaze, sift the confectioners’ sugar instead of scooping it. If it is scooped, the ratio is slightly off because it is compacted. 

sugar, almond extract, heavy cream, and salt combined together

STEP EIGHT: Once the cookies are completely cooled, dip the top of each cookie into the prepared glaze, then drop sprinkles over the glazed top.

PRO TIP:

Once you dip the cookies, place them back on the wire rack with a sheet of parchment paper underneath to catch any drips or sprinkles that escape.

dip the cookies into the glaze and drop sprinkles

How To Serve

These sweet treats are just perfect for the holidays, a wedding or party, special occasions, or a wonderful afternoon treat with a mug of coffee, tea, or homemade hot chocolate.

Speaking of tasty cookies, be sure to check out our incredible Lofthouse cookies recipe and everyone’s favorite chocolate-filled copycat recipe, DoubleTree cookies

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store these traditional Italian cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

IN THE FREEZER: These Italian Christmas cookies may be frozen without the glaze and sprinkles. Place the almond cookies into an airtight food storage container or a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. Before serving, thaw the cookies at room temperature, then glaze them as directed.

close up overhead shot of a plate of Italian Cookies

Italian cookies are so wonderfully sweet and delicate, and you’ll love how they look with rainbow sprinkles or any sprinkles that match the season. They are a staple in the kitchen of every Italian grandmother and will delight your friends and family.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How should this classic Italian cookie be stored?

You will want to eat these within a couple of days for the prettiest cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Can I make these Italian wedding cookies ahead and freeze them?

This easy recipe can be frozen unglazed! Just thaw to room temperature the day you plan to serve them and add the glaze and sprinkles at that time.

What other types of sprinkles can I use?

The sky is the limit for these Italian sprinkle cookies! These are great because you can decorate them according to the season! Jimmies are another popular type of sprinkle for this type of cookie. They are less crunchy if that is something you might prefer.

We don’t like almond extract, Is there a substitute?

Yes, you can substitute vanilla!

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close up shot of a plate of Italian Cookies

Italian Cookies

5 from 1 vote
Italian cookies are such wonderfully delicate and soft cookies coated in a simple glaze and bright, colorful sprinkles.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Servings 24 cookies

Ingredients
  

Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • cups shortening
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoon kosher sea salt

Glaze

  • 2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • teaspoon salt
  • sprinkles

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • Whisk the eggs, shortening, sugar, and almond extract in a large bowl. 
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. 
  • Using a 1-tablespoon scoop, scoop the cookie dough and roll it between your palms to create 24 cookie balls. Place it on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them. 
  • Freeze cookie dough for 20 minutes.
  • Before freezer time is up, preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  • Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 9 minutes. Oven times may vary. The cookies will be done when the bottoms are slightly browned but the tops are still white. 
  • Transfer the baked cookies on to the cooling rack.  
  • To make the glaze, warm the heavy cream for a few seconds in the microwave. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, almond extract, warm heavy cream, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. 
  • Once the cookies are completely cooled, dip the top of each cookie into the prepared glaze. Then drop sprinkles over the glazed top.

Notes

  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cookies as the suggested baking time approaches.
  • For the glaze, sift the confectioners’ sugar instead of scooping it. If it is scooped, the ratio is slightly off because it is compacted. 
  • Once you dip the cookies, place them back on the wire rack with a sheet of parchment paper underneath to catch any drips or sprinkles that escape.

Nutrition

Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 52mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
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