20+ Festive Italian Christmas Cookie Recipes
The holidays are a perfect time to bust out one of these Italian Christmas cookie recipes. Whether you're making pizzelle, biscotti, or amaretti, these cookies will spread lots of cheer.
Despite their intricate appearance, pizzelle cookies are surprisingly easy to make. You’ll just need a special baker (we like the Cucina Pro Piccolo Pizzelle Baker), or at least a pizzelle iron. They’re super crispy and light, much like thin a sugar cone with a hint of vanilla. Pizzelle cookies make a great dessert, but they’re also perfect for holiday snacking.
Orange-Infused Cherry-Almond Biscotti
You can make these cookies up to a week ahead and store them at room temperature in an airtight container. When buying dried cherries, look for those without added sugar. Serve with coffee or tea.
Italian Christmas Cookies
No need to buy a tray of Italian Christmas cookies this year—they’re easy to make and all the ingredients are readily available. The cookie itself is not overly sweet and has a cakey texture, so the sweetness really banks on the icing. We used almond extract in our recipe, but you can also use anise. In order to work with it, you’ll need to chill the dough, so don’t skip that step. Decorate these with the kids for a family-friendly holiday activity.
Package these crunchy cookies in a gift box with a pound of your favorite coffee beans. Look for almond paste on your supermarket's baking aisle, and for best results, don't substitute marzipan, which is sweeter and more finely textured, in place of the paste.
Iced Gingerbread Biscotti
Be sure to let the cookie logs cool after the first bake so they slice cleanly and don't crumble.
Italian Cheese Cookies
These delightfully decadent cookies are the perfect sweet treat to finish a zesty main course.
Pine Nut Cookies
Cookies may seem like one of the simplest things to bake, but they offer so many examples of what can go wrong. Lighter cookies can be even trickier because less fat means less moisture. Light cookies require precise measuring of flour—weighing is most accurate. Just a smidge too much turns a perfect cookie into a doorstop! Almond paste is an ingenious way to flavor, tenderize, and sweeten our Pine Nut Cookies because it won't cause spreading like excess sugar or warm butter will. And be sure to pull light cookies from the oven a bit sooner than you would full-fat ones—they tend to go from perfectly toasty to overbrowned quickly.
These biscotti are crumbly delivery systems for chewy apricot bits, hunks of dark chocolate, and crunchy almonds. Prep and Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours.
Vanilla Baci di Dama
With a translation of “lady kisses,” these vanilla-infused sandwich cookies are rich, sweet and satisfying.
The crescent shape of these cookies is a little more trouble, but it makes them unique.
Prep and Cook Time: about 1 1/2 hours. Notes: To toast the hazelnuts, place whole nuts in a baking pan and bake in a 350° oven until golden brown under skins, 10 to 12 minutes. Pour nuts onto a clean kitchen towel and rub to remove loose skins. Lift nuts from towel (discard skins). You can store these chocolate-coated cookies airtight for up to 3 days.
Italian Lemon Drop Cookies
At last, the beloved cookie is now gluten-free friendly! You'll need a pizzelle iron to make these delicate Italian waffle cookies. Prepare the recipe using the Cannoli Shell Variation to make delicious cannoli.
Italian Christmas Cookies
These traditional Italian Christmas Cookies are filled with figs and topped with a sweet white icing. You'll often see these popular cookies covered in festive holiday sprinkles or colored sugars, so add sprinkles if you like. We used red, green and white sprinkles which are certainly Christmas colors and also the colors of the Italian flag.
Standing the cookies eliminates the traditional step of flipping them halfway through baking. Chocolate lovers can stir 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips into the batter or dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate.
Pine Nut Biscotti
Crunchy and lightly sweet, these are great with espresso or French roast coffee after dinner. Though any nuts will work, pine nuts offer sophisticated taste.
Sicilian Dried Fruit and Nut Bars (Cuccidati)
Instead of making traditional, individually shaped cuccidati, Sunset reader Marilyn Perata Berg came up with a simplified bar cookie technique to fill and shape her recipe.
Our Test Kitchens staffers found that using a serrated knife works best for cutting the rolls after the first bake time. If you're a fan of dried cranberries, they make a great substitute for dried cherries.