The techniques used to make the best Italian cookie recipes differ little from those used to create delicious Italian cakes and other Italian pastries; cookies are miniature cakes and pastries.
In Italy as here in the United States and in any other country, to ensure good cookies one must start with good quality ingredients. Good fresh butter, fresh cream and freshly made cheese lends to the taste and texture of these small delicacies; all of these ingredients so readily available to the cooks in Italy from the widespread agricultural economy.
It is said in Italy that dessert has a function of pure gratification and this is also very true of the delicious Italian cookie recipes and pastries. A sweet cookie at the end of a meal or with a hot cup of espresso at the end of the day manages to confer moments of intense pleasure. Of all the Italian cooking, the sweets, traditional cakes and cookies continue to predominate. These are the family’s plain but good recipes made in the homes by the cooks instead of top chefs of the country. The highly sophisticated techniques now used in making of Italian cookie recipes was imported from France in the nineteenth century; most like what we use here.
I have only found two minor differences between my cookie making and my friends who are good cooks from other countries like Italy when making their best Italian cookie recipes. One is that I always roll my dough with flour; many of them roll cookie dough with powdered sugar. The second difference is that they will grease and flour the cookie baking sheets; if needed to be greased, I never dust them with flour. Other than these two things we start with the best ingredients, we use the same techniques including the common practice of refrigerating the dough almost always before baking (some do not need refrigeration).
These Italian cookie recipes are good for holidays or any time of the year. The colorful spumoni cookies are an Italian traditional Christmas cookie recipe. These refrigerator cookies are easy to make and good to eat.
ITALIAN SPUMONI BARS
This seems to be a favorite of the Italian cookie recipes; it is so similar to the Venetian cookies only with a different name.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Line a 9x13 inch pan with wax paper.
Cream butter and sugar with beaten yolks. Add lemon juice, baking powder and flour; blend well. Separate dough into three equal parts. Add melted chocolate to one part. Add cherries and red food coloring to one part. Add nuts and green food coloring to the third part.
Layer in lined pan with first the chocolate mixture; then the green mixture; the pink mixture on top. Place in refrigerator overnight. Turn out on a cutting board. Cut dough into thirds. Then slice ¼ inch thick. Lay on cookie sheets and bake 12-15 minutes.
Italian knot cookies are part of the traditional Italian cookie recipes. They are often referred to as love knots or just plain knots. They are traditionally flavored with lemon but you can use your favorite. These are usually made as one of the Christmas cookie recipes or Valentines Day cookies.
ITALIAN BOW KNOT COOKIES
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Blend eggs into dry ingredients, then adding the oil and lemon. Knead until smooth. With hands shape pieces into rolls the size of pencils. Tie rolls into bows. Bake on greased cookie sheets about 15 minutes. Spread icing below on cookies.
Cream butter and sugar, adding enough lemon juice to make spreading consistency.
RICOTTA CHEESE COOKIES
This is one of the Italian cookie recipes which is made with basic ingredients but turn out a “better than basic” flavored cookie.
Prepare cookies by combining sugar and butter in mixing bowl; beat until light and fluffy.
Combine eggs, ricotta cheese, vanilla and salt in another bowl; beat until blended.
Add egg cheese mixture to creamed butter sugar mixture; beat well.
Sift flour and baking soda together; gradually add into creamed mixture while beating.
Drop dough by small teaspoons on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven at 350F degrees for about 10 minutes or until set (not brown).
Cool cookies on wire rack.
Prepare frosting by combining butter, cream, powder sugar and lemon.
Beat until creamy and spread on cold cookies.
PISTACHIO COOKIE RECIPE
Like pistachio cookie recipe, many Italian cookie recipes use the pistachios and flavor with cardamom; the cardamom giving a lemon like flavor.
Combine flour, sugar and cardamom in a medium bowl; cut in butter until resembles fine crumbs.
Stir in nuts; gather together in ball and knead to blend.
Roll or pat a 6 X 10 inch rectangle on a lightly floured tray.
Bake in preheated oven at 325F degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Cut into 1 X 3 inch sticks; transfer to wire rack to cool.
Melt chocolate and shortening together over low heat stirring until smooth.
Drizzle chocolate over cookies.
ANISE CUT OUT COOKIES
Anise is a favorite flavor when making Italian cookie recipes.
Cream shortening and 1 cup sugar in mixing bowl until fluffy; beat in eggs and aniseed.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture.
Add apple juice and mix well; knead on floured surface until well blended.
Roll dough to ½ inch thickness; cut into 2 inch shapes and place on greased baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven at 375F degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon; roll warm cookies in cinnamon sugar mixture.
LACE COOKIE RECIPE
This lace cookie recipe can be used in many of the Italian cookie recipes; it can be formed in many shapes like these fan cookies and even stuffed with a creamy filling.
Combine nuts, sugar, butter, whipping cream and flour in saucepan.
Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended.
Drop batter from teaspoon about 5 inches apart onto greased foil lined cookie sheet (bake only 2 -3 at a time).
Bake in preheated oven at 350F degrees for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let stand 1 to 2 minutes on cookie sheet until edges are firm.
Use knife or spatula to cut cookies in half; lift each half with metal spatula.
Gently crimp the straight edge of cookie to form a fan shape and transfer to wire rack.
If cookies become too cool to shape return to oven for 1 to 2 minutes to soften.
Repeat with remaining dough; replace foil if necessary.
Brush edge of baked cookies with melted chocolate.
MOCHA COOKIES with hazelnuts
Stir together flour and cocoa powder; dissolve coffee in vanilla.
In small mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy; add coffee mixture and mix well.
Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Drop by teaspoon size shaped balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Press hazelnut in the center of each ball; bake in preheated oven at 325F degrees for 15 minutes.
Cool 1 minute and move to rack to cool completely.
Melt white coating and shortening in small saucepan over low heat; drizzle over balls.
An Amaretti recipe is the name for Italian cookie recipes what we know as macaroons.
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Cut almond paste into small pieces; add sugar and egg whites and work to form smooth paste.
Roll into 1 inch balls and placed on greased cookie sheet spacing evenly.
COTTAGE CHEESE COOKIES with candied fruit
Beat butter in mixing bowl until creamy; add ½ of the flour and beat well.
Add sugar, cottage cheese, egg, milk, baking powder, vanilla and baking soda; beat until blended.
Stir in remaining flour, fruits and nuts.
Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
If desired press pecan halves of candied cherry slices in tops.
Bake in preheated oven at 375F degrees for 9 to 11 minutes or until tops spring back when touched.
Remove to wire rack to cool.
LADY FINGER RECIPE
This lady finger recipe is so easy to make and can be used in a variety of different ways; they are “plain good” to eat as a snack like other cookies, they are great to serve with ice cream or other desserts. Lady fingers are so handy to have on hand to make some of the best Italian dessert recipes like tiramisu.
Grease and lightly flour 2 baking sheets; set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In mixing bowl beat egg yolks on high about 3 minutes.
Gradually add sugar and extract beating until light in color and thickened.
Gradually add flour and salt beating until thick.
In another bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into yolk mixture.
Cut a ½ inch hole in the corner of a heavy plastic freezer bag or use pastry bag with tip #808.
Fill with the batter; form 4 inch long finger shapes with the batter on prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart.
Dust with powdered sugar; bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack.