Iced Italian Cookies

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 1batch cookies (amount will vary upon shape)
  • About This Recipe

    “Posted by request, these pretty little cookies are very often served at holiday gatherings in many Italian American families. You may shape them any way you prefer, and change the flavoring of the icing slightly to suit your tastes. The original recipe came from one of my favorite community style cookbooks called “Preserving Our Italian Heritage” compiled by the Sons of Italy Florida Foundation. I combined several variations submitted by 5 different ladies, all of whom used the same basic cookie recipe but used slightly different methods in shaping and icing the cookies. The yield will vary depending upon how you shape your cookies.”

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 lbbutter, softened( 2 sticks)
  • 2largeeggs, beaten
  • 1cupsugar
  • 4cupsflour
  • 2tablespoonsbaking powder
  • 2tablespoonsvanilla
  • Icing

  • 1 3/4 cupspowdered sugar, (1/2 of a 1-pound box))
  • 2tablespoonsmilk
  • 1tablespoon anise extract or 1tablespoon vanilla or 1tablespoonfresh lemon juice
  • colored sugar, to decorate
  • Directions

  • Cream butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
  • Combine flour and baking powder, then blend into the butter mixture.
  • Break off small, walnut sized pieces of dough and shape into bows, braids, knots,”s” shapes, or any shape you desire.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Cool on wire racks,then ice as desired.
  • Icing: Blend sugar and your choice of flavoring, adding milk slowly to form a soft, smooth icing (some ice the cookies while they are still warm, others wait until they are cooled).
  • Sprinkle with colored sugar or confettini (tiny multi-colored sprinkles) before icing sets.
  • Reviews

  • “These cookies are excellent!DD and I made these together today, they were very simple to make, and delicious.We had about 3 dozen when we were done and now after taking them to my parents we have maybe 1 dozen left.They aren’t too sweet which was good but just sweet enough too.Great with coffee also.These are now a keeper and let me tell you Heather my Nana (grandmother) who is 100% Italian loved them and said they tasted like the ones she use to make :-)”

  • “I am the one that was looking for this recipe and this is truly the one I was looking for.The cookies are delicious!I am keeping this one!Thanks so much for this recipe HeatherFeather ; )”

  • “EXCELLENT!!similar recipe has been in my family for years.my mom was alwyas the one to make them.this year, i made them according ot this recipe and everyone said that they were better than my mom’s!!!”

  • “Hello, these cookies were sooo good.Made them on Thanksgiving and they were a hit.The only think I changed was instead of adding the milk to the powdered sugar for the glaze I added amaretto cream and I chose to add the one tablespoon of vanilla and I also sprinkled just a bit of cinammon before the glaze set.Te cookies were just perfect!”

  • “these are GOOD!I dipped them into icing then into colored sugar They look very pretty!”

  • “These made delicious and beautiful cookies. My grandmother was Italian and I remember her making these when I was a child. They are very similar and I am so happy to be able to make them for my children. Delicate and scrumptious. I used vanilla extract in the icing but am going to try it next time with anise. Thanks for sharing this recipe.”

  • “I have the EXACT same recipe for these cookies, but I call them “Italian Love Knots” – isn’t that sweet? Here are a few things I do: After dipping the cookies in the glaze (I find it best to wait until they cool completely), sometimes I sprinkle them with tiny multi-colored sprinkles. Also, sometimes I add lemon zest into the glaze (when I use lemon juice for my liquid), which makes them extra lemony. If you’re using anise extract in the glaze, you can also use anise extract to replace the vanilla in the cookie dough for that extra anise “boost.” As with most cookie recipes, I find these always taste better after being stored in an airtight container on the counter, overnight. Anyway, this is a great recipe. Thanks for posting it!”

  • “A Christmas hit.Best part is that they are not too sweet. “

  • “This is a great recipe!Easy, fast and it makes over three dozen cookies…My family love Italian lemon cookies and I am sure that these will disappear this Thanksgiving Day…The only problem I had was that the temperature stated is too high for my oven which is a new modern computerized G.E. …I brought it down to 350 degrees for 10 minutes instead of the 15 stated on recipe…I also added a little more fresh lemon juice than indicated…All in all this recipe is a winner and I will use for Christmas holidays…”

  • “super yummy!the lemon juice added great flavor to the glaze.i wanted to shape them into knots, but had trouble getting the shape.”

  • “Tasty. Little dry.The first batch went into the oven & all came out fine.The second batch got really big.Because it sat maybe? Anyway, I liked them better that way.I’ll do these again.”

  • “Delicious Italian Cookies that are easy to make. I used fresh lemon juice in the icing and the flavor was fantastic! My baking time was less as my cookies were lightly browned within 10-12 minutes. I baked these for an afternoon tea and they were the first to be devoured!”

  • “Very good and easy to make with the kids.We made little balls instead of trying the various shapes.One caution–icing was too thick so we added more milk/lemon juice/vanilla to taste.”

  • “These were, far and away, my boyfriend’s favorite Christmas cookies this year. We made two full batches (he made a second batch when he realized how delicious the first batch was), and they didn’t even make it to the holiday party. He replaced half the vanilla in the batter with anise extract, and we liked the intense licorice flavor that resulted. We were a little concerned about the amount of baking powder in the recipe, but we had no reason to worry…they were perfect. We liked them with and without frosting (without frosting, they’re great for dipping in coffee). Thanks so much for posting this!”

  • “Oh wow, these were so good!Easy to make and followed the recipe exactly.The anise icing really makes this cookie special.THX.”

  • “Thank you for saving my Christmas!I had been looking all over for an anise pretzel cookie recipe like the ones the old Italian grandmas in the neighborhood used to make when I was a kid.I came across this recipe and thought it would do well with anise substituted for the vanilla.They came out just like the ones I remembered from back in the day.They are simple to make, use ingredients I always have on hand and the recipe is so simple to follow that even a complete kitchen novice could make beautiful cookies.I like the taste and texture so much that I am currently baking up a batch subbing orange extract.Thank you for a wonderful recipe!”

  • “These are just what I was looking for! My mother recently misplaced many of her recipes, including a cookie recipe she had from her mother/grandmother and another similar cookie recipe from my Dad’s side of the family. I came across this when I was searching for one that sounded like our cookies. These are so tasty and perfect. Thanks for submitting it!”

  • “I am so glad to come across this recipe,I grew up on these cookies, but recently lost the recipe. now I can make them with my daughter.. thanks!”

  • “This was a delicious ending to an Italian night dinner my high school son had to make.We followed the recipe exactly, except we never got around to the icing!My son was a little impatient in shaing the dough, and I was concerned that the shapes might be too thick.However, this seems like a very forgiving recipe, because all his shapes turned out terrific.The recipe was fragrant.Next time I may try anise in the cookie itself.Everyone in our family loved these.My son promised he’d be making them again!”

  • “These cookies had a great flavor. The instructions were easy to follow. I made the “S” shape and ribbons and they were both easy to do and cooked up well. I iced the cookies after they’d cooled and used vanilla in the icing. I topped them with red and green colored sugar (for the Italian flag of course!). Thanks for a good recipe, Heather!”

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