Remove from Favorites Add to Favorites

READ OUR SHIPPING TIMES HERE TO GET YOUR ORDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS

The Definitive Guide to Italian Holiday Cookies

Add these festive sweets to your holiday baking list!


It just isn't an Italian Christmas without an assortment of cookies and other sweet treats. When it comes to sweets, we love to go all out for the big holidays, and Christmas is the biggest of them all! The variety of shapes and flavors on display in an Italian bakery can be overwhelming if you didn't grow up devouring them every December, so I've put together a guide to the most popular Italian Christmas cookies below. Try a few of these and they'll become part of your own holiday tradition, guaranteed!
Amaretti Cookies

Amaretti
What they are: A classic recipe that's gluten-free! The name of these crisp, chewy almond cookies means "little bitter things" because they used to be made with bitter almonds, but today, regular almond flour does the job. Traditionally served alongside dessert wine or espresso after the meal, they're delicious any time of day.
Make them: It isn't a holiday without chocolate! Cocoa powder turns my chocolate amaretti into a celebration-ready treat. Giada's Chocolate Amaretti Cookies
Biscotti
Biscotti
What they are: Made famous in the city of Prato, these twice-baked biscuits can trace their history all the way back to Roman times. Their sturdiness made them a favorite in soldiers' ration bags; today, that same crisp texture means they're just as welcome at an Italian coffee break today.
Make them: My holiday biscotti are stuffed with festive pistachios and cranberries and dipped in white chocolate. Giada's Holiday Biscotti
Italian Wedding Cookies
Italian Wedding Cookies
What they are: At Italian weddings, there is often a sweets table in addition to the cake, laden with cookies and other treats for the guests. It's a tradition that works just as well for a holiday party, and front and center on your table should be these melt-in-your-mouth cookies. A generous dusting of powdered sugar adds a snowy cap - perfect for the winter season!
Make them: Don't be afraid of the amount of butter these use! They're so rich, you'll only want to indulge in one or two. Giada's Italian Wedding Cookies
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
What they are: Cheese in cookies? Yes! These tiny tea cakes have a moist, delicate crumb thanks to the addition of creamy ricotta. There's a hint of sweet milk flavor, but if you didn't know their secret ingredient, you probably wouldn't be able to guess it! Popular at every Italian celebration, they're one of my favorite sweets. 
Make them: Traditionally scented with orange and lemon, I double down on lemon (my favorite!) with lemon zest in the cookies and a tart lemon glaze. Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Pignoli
Pignoli
What they are: A Sicilian specialty, these cookies combine two of the region's most highly prized crops, pine nuts and almonds, for a truly luxurious treat. Almond paste makes the cookies chewy and moist, while the crisp, slightly buttery pine nuts on top add a rich texture. Serve with espresso or dessert wine for a truly grownup treat.
Make them: They're not cheap, but it's worth the splurge to buy Sicilian-grown pine nuts for this recipe. The difference in flavor is incredible. Giada's Pine Nut Cookies
Pizzelle
Pizzelle
What they are: Wafer-thin, intricately patterned crisps cooked on a specially made waffle iron, pizzelle only come out for special occasions because they're so labor intensive! Originally from the Abruzzo region, pizzelle have been made there since the 8th century, when each family would have stamped their cookies with a unique family crest. Today, snowflake patterns are most common.
Make them: As beautiful as they are, traditional pizzelle can be a bit bland, and tricky to make since most people don't have a pizzelle iron on hand. Here, I've dressed them up with a hit of cinnamon and mini chocolate chips and cooked them in a waffle iron, making them the perfect treat for either breakfast or dessert! Giada's Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Breakfast Pizzelles
Struffoli
Struffoli
What it is: A spectacular wreath of lightly fried balls coated in a honey syrup. No Neapolitan Christmas is complete without a struffoli. Best made when you've got a friend in the room to pass the time as you fry; it's an easy project that will look stunning on your holiday table.
Make it: Toasted hazelnuts add texture to my struffoli recipe, but you can dress it up even more by adding small candies or nonpareil sprinkles. Giada's Struffoli

0 comments

Please sign in or create an account to leave a comment.