The best Italian Christmas cookies! Also known as anginetti cookies, they have a soft cake-like texture and are topped with a delicious glaze.
If you're looking for easy and delicious Italian Christmas cookies to add to your Christmas cookie tray, try this anginetti cookies recipe.
Made with the most simple cupboard ingredients, these old-fashioned Italian Christmas cookies have a soft cake-like texture and a delicious citrusy aroma.
They're incredibly easy to prepare, making them such a perfect holiday treat, and a fantastic Christmas gift to share.
WHAT ARE ANGINETTI COOKIES?
Authentic Italian Anginetti cookies (also known as Italian wedding cookies or Christmas cookies) are soft and round cookies with a cake-like texture.
Originally from southern Italy, anginetti were traditionally served during weddings, but they became so popular that they're now also made during other holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
They go by MANY different names: Italian wedding cookies, Italian Christmas cookies, Italian Easter cookies, knot cookies, ancinetti, ginetti, uncinetti, taralli dolci.
Whilst they are traditionally shaped into a knot, to make things easier and quicker, you can simply shape them into small round balls, as I did.
Together with amaretti cookies, mostaccioli cookies, ricciarelli cookies and Italian butter cookies, anginetti are very popular Christmas cookies and you can find them in any Italian bakery during the holidays.
Fun fact: The traditional recipe calls for just lemon, but you can add anise flavor to turn them into anisette cookies.
You won't believe how easy these cookies are!
This traditional Italian Christmas cookie recipe is made with the most simple ingredients, in typical Italian fashion.
You'll need just 6 ingredients:
- Butter: Use softened butter cut into chunks, it makes it easier to cream it with the sugar.
- Flour: I use regular all-plain flour or Italian 00 flour.
- Eggs: go for medium-sized eggs.
- Lemon: Lemon zest adds a beautiful citrusy note to the cookies, you can swap it with orange zest if you like. Opt for unwaxed organic lemons if possible.
- Sugar: use regular caster sugar for this recipe.
- Baking powder: a little baking powder gives the cookies a nice soft texture.
- Sea salt: a pinch of salt gives a nice contrast and adds an extra layer of flavor.
- Anise extract: this is optional, if you want to make anisette cookies, simply add 1 teaspoon of anise extract or anise liqueur like Sambuca.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES
This is a quick overview of how to make anginetti cookies with step-by-step pictures.
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Whip the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add one egg at a time, beating after each addition.
STEP 2. Add the sifted flour and baking powder and mix until fully incorporated.
STEP 3. Chill the dough for at least 15 minutes, then shape them into small balls.
STEP 4. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack, then sprinkle them with powdered sugar, or dip the cookies in the glaze and top with sprinkles.
TIPS FOR THE BEST ANGINETTI COOKIES
Follow the tips below to make the best Italian Christmas cookies:
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl before incorporating the flour, to ensure you have a well-blended mixture.
- Don't over-mix the dough. Too much mixing will make the cookies tough.
- The dough is quite sticky, after you refrigerate it, it should be easier to handle, if it's still sticky, flour your hands before shaping the cookie balls.
- The bake time for these cookies should be between 12-15 minutes, but every oven is different. Check the cookies a few minutes early to make sure they're not browning too much. The tops should look dry, slightly puffed, and lightly golden.
- Cool the cookies completely before icing them. Icing the cookies whilst they're still warm can make the glaze super runny.
- Add the nonpareils or sprinkles right after you glaze each cookie, otherwise, the glaze will harden and they won't stick.
Store your anginetti cookies in an airtight container or sealed jar. Keep them in a cool spot in your kitchen or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Yes, you can freeze them! I like to freeze them unglazed. Once you need them, thaw them in the fridge overnight, then glaze them a few hours before serving.
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Italian Christmas Cookies - Anginetti Cookies
- 75 g butter, softened
- 60 g sugar
- 3 eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- 280 all-purpose flour or flour 00
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
For the icing:
- 130 g powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon sprinkles, optional
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, optional
- In a large bowl, place the butter and sugar and whisk them together using a hand mixer until you have a light and fluffy mixture, about 5 minutes.
- Add one egg at a time, beating after each addition, then add lemon zest. After all the eggs have been incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and whisk until combined.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix with a spatula until combined. Do not overmix. You will have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F or with the fan option on at 140°C/280°F. Arrange the baking tray onto the middle shelf.
- Slightly wet your hands and form small balls (around 24 grams/0.8 oz each), you can also use a cookie scoop. Arrange them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.
- Transfer the cookie tray to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden on top. I like to check on them a few minutes earlier to make sure they don't brown too much. The cookies may crack a bit as they puff up during the baking process, that's ok! Remember that they will be covered in glaze.
- Remove the anginetti cookies from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then arrange them on a wiring rack and cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cool, sprinkle them with powdered sugar, or dip the tops of the cookies in glaze and return them to the wire rack. Immediately top with sprinkles or lemon zest and allow the glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a single layer.
For the icing:
- In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth, adding in more milk 1 teaspoon at a time to thin as needed ( don't add too much milk, it should be a quite thick glaze).
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
MORE ITALIAN CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES
If you're looking for more traditional Italian cookies recipes for Christmas, check out: