4 Recipes for Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies

No holiday tray is complete without a few Italian Christmas cookies included in the mix. There are various recipes for Italian cookies that will add a special touch to your holidays.

Four Italian Holiday Cookies

Cenci Cookie Recipe

Cenci (frappe)
Cenci by Jovial Foods


  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter, softened
  • Oil for frying
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Red and green sprinkles


  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and salt together until frothy.
  2. Stir in vanilla extract.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift flour with baking powder and then gradually add to batter.
  4. Add butter and mix well until well incorporated.
  5. Turn out dough onto a floured, hard surface and knead for 10 minutes.
  6. Divide dough in half.
  7. Roll each half as thin as possible. You will want the thickness of a noodle.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 5x1 inch strips.
  9. Preheat oil to 375 degrees.
  10. Fry the cookies until golden brown, which takes around one minute per side.
  11. With a slotted spoon, remove from oil.
  12. Drain the cookies on paper towels and then sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and sprinkles.

Italian Anise Cookies

Anise cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • Red and green colored sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  3. Stir in anise and lemon extracts.
  4. Add all of the dry ingredients and blend together.
  5. Add eggs and blend until incorporated.
  6. Form dough into one inch balls and place at least two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake cookies for 15 minutes.
  8. While cookies cool, mix the glaze by stirring together the powdered sugar and milk
  9. Once the cookies have cooled, pour the glaze over them and top with sprinkles.


Star shaped cookie

Recipe by Patrick Mooney


  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons anisette
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • Sprinkles


  1. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on medium speed until the butter is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and two egg yolks.
  4. Beat for two minutes and then scrape the mixture down the bowl.
  5. Add the vanilla extract, the anisette or anise extract, and zest.
  6. Beat for one minute.
  7. Turn down the speed to low and then add the flour mixture one cup at a time.
  8. Remove the dough from the mixer, flatten into a disk about one inch thick, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Cut the dough into four pieces.
  12. Place one piece of dough on a lightly floured surface; return the remaining dough to the refrigerator.
  13. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick.
  14. Using a star shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible.
  15. Gather the scraps together and form a ball, roll out again and cut as many stars as you can.
  16. Do the same for the rest of the dough in the refrigerator.
  17. Whisk together the remaining egg yolk and cream.
  18. Brush each cookie with the wash, and then add the sprinkles.
  19. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown.

Pine Nut Cookies

Pine nut cookies

Recipe by Patrick Mooney


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground toasted fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, fennel seed, and salt until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and beat until completely incorporated.
  3. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log about 1-1/2 inches thick.
  5. Refrigerate for two to three hours.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  8. Cut the dough log into 1/4-inch disks.
  9. Place the cookies on the cookie sheets and press the pine nuts into the top of the cookies.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or lightly golden brown.
  11. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Make It A Tradition

Whether you are Italian and enjoy classic cookies at Christmas or are just someone who loves a good cookie, there are recipes for Italian cookies that you can make each holiday season. Make it a tradition for your family to include these cookies as part of your holiday cookie tray. They also can be packaged and given as gifts or used as part of a cookie exchange.

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4 Recipes for Italian Christmas Cookies