Italian Christmas Cookies are a delicious cake-like cookie with a hint of anise and sweet sugar glaze.
I can’t really explain why I love these Italian Christmas Cookies so much, I just do. There is something about the cake-like texture with a hint of anise and the sweet sugar glaze that makes me want to eat the whole batch. While these cookies are popular in many Italian households, they were not part of mine. My mom never made them. I remember taking that first delicious bite of one of these Italian Christmas Cookies when I was visiting my aunt many, many years ago. My aunt’s neighbor brought us over a whole dish of these beauties. That’s when I fell in love.
I have seen these cookies in many different shapes – knots, S shapes, twists and balls. You can make them in any shape you desire. They are very easy to make. I like to roll mine into small balls.
I have tried to make the knot shapes but I have determined that I am not a good knot shape maker. So, I take easy road by rolling them into balls and pressing them down slightly with the bottom of a glass. Pro Tip: Dip the bottom of the glass into powdered sugar so the cookie dough does not stick to the glass.
Once the cookies are baked and cooled, dip them in a sweet sugar glaze. Don’t forget to add the colorful sprinkles. They are just as important as the glaze. They are such a vibrant color to these gems too. I love the cakey (is that even a word?) texture of these cookies. They have the slightest hint of anise flavor which is not too overpowering.
I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away. How are you coming with all of your holiday preparations? Enjoy the season….and these Italian Christmas Cookies too!
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon anise extract
- Extra powder sugar
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Nonpareil Sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.
- Add eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla and anise flavoring.
- Slowly mix in the flour mixture. Do not overbeat.
- Refrigerate dough for one hour.
- When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip the bottom of a small glass into some powdered sugar and press each ball down slightly.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove and cool completely.
To make the glaze:
- Sift two cups of powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk in milk and vanilla.
- Dip top of each cookie in the glaze. Garnish with some nonpareil sprinkles.
- Allow glaze to dry before freezing.