Sunday, December 30, 2007

Italian Christmas Cookies

My grandfather, Anthony, is very Italian. Holidays in our family often included meatballs or stuffed shells or other delicious Italian fare. And Christmas was no exception. My grandmother always made these cookies for my grandfather, but after 50 years of marriage, she is sick of it.

Luckily she has me for a granddaughter who is eager to use family recipes and keep them alive. I'm still improving my technique, but the family gave them overall approval. And they looked just as festive as ever with their multi colored candies on top!

These are anise, or licorice, flavored. I use anise extract, but Grammy says the way to go is anise oil. This is very hard to find and the last time she looked, she could only find it at the drug store. The recipe below gives how I made the recipe and then in parenthesis how it should be.

Buen Natale!


Italian Christmas Cookies
From my Grandmother

  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 C. Sugar
  • 1 C. Butter, softened
  • 1/2 1 oz. Bottle of Anise Extract (Should be 1 oz. of Anise Oil for more bite and flavor)
  • 3 C. Flour
  • 3 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix together eggs, sugar, butter, and anise flavoring either in a stand mixer or large bowl with hand mixer.
  3. Blend in dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Roll dough into small balls, only about 1/2" wide as they will expand quite a bit.
  5. Bake on ungreased baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes until they are just starting to get golden brown on top. These cookies to not get very brown on top, but if you lift one up, the bottom will be a lovely golden color. Be sure to cook enough as they should be just slightly cakey when done right. (I haven't mastered this yet!)
  6. Allow to cool completely and then glaze and sprinkle with colored candy balls. Glaze recipe below.


Sugar Glaze
  • 1/2 C. or more Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Milk
  • Colored Candy Sprinkles

  1. Mix together sugar and milk until a thick liquid is achieved. You want the glaze to be thin enough to drip off the cookies, but thick enough to leave a nice off-white coating on the top.
  2. Leave glaze in a small bowl. Hold each cookie upside down and dunk the top into the glaze, holding it out over the bowl to let the excess drip off. Flip over, place on parchment paper or wax paper (for easy clean up) and sprinkle with candies while wet. Allow to dry before serving.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

I saw your blog link on the Nest & just thought I would check it out. Great cookies they look delicious!!

Diane said...

How many cookies does the batch make?

Erika said...

Hi Diane! Obviously depends on how big you roll the balls of dough. But I want to say I usually make mine around 1 inch across and end up with at least 4 dozen. I always end up with many more than I need or thought I'd have! Hope this helps!