12 Italian Christmas Cookie Recipes
In Puglia, cartellata are traditionally made at Christmas by bakers and home cooks alike. The cookies are usually drizzled with honey, but you can also sprinkle them with lemon zest and cinnamon sugar.
Brutti Ma Buoni
These crunchy-chewy cookies, sold at bakeries all over Lazio, are called brutti ma buoni in Italian, or “ugly but good.” The name pretty much says it all.
Chocolate Amaretti Cookies
This chocolaty version of the chewy Italian almond cookie calls for rich Pernigotti cocoa powder, which has a higher fat content than most.
Chef Kevin Sbraga varies these wonderful nutty biscotti, sometimes dipping them in melted dark chocolate for an extra layer of flavor.
These hard-crunch cookies are meant for dunking in espresso or Vin Santo.
Cantucci di Prato
In Tuscany, cantucci di Prato—miniature, anise-flavored almond biscotti—are traditionally served at the end of a meal with a glass of Tuscan dessert wine for dipping. They’re also great with tea.
Gluten-Free Cacao Nib Meringues
Made with chocolate, cacao, and cocoa, these intensely flavored meringues have a delicate, crispy exterior with a soft, chewy, marshmallow-like interior.
Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies
These vanilla-scented cookies are shaped like mezzaluna (“half moon”) pasta and filled with a mixed-berry jam.
Amaro-Spiked Amaretti Cookies
While the names for amaretti cookies and amaro digestif both derive from the Italian word for bitter, amaretti are traditionally made with bitter almonds, while amaro gets its edge from roots, barks and other aromatics. Here, the two come together into a deliciously chewy cookie.
Christmas Morning Biscotti
Merrin Mae Gray is Filipina, not Italian, but the sous-chef at L.A.’s Rossoblu really connects with Italy’s rustic, soulful food. “These biscotti spiced with cocoa nibs and anise seeds are my Italian interpretation of biskotso, a Filipino twice-baked cookie I grew up eating with hot cocoa,” she says.
Buttery Hazelnut-Fig Biscotti
“The texture of most biscotti can break your teeth,” Julianne Jones says. So she came up with this softer, chewier version by including butter and sweet dried figs.
Pizzelles, thin crisp Italian cookies, are often flavored with anise or lemon. Here, we make our version with browned butter, hazelnut flour and dark brown sugar, all of which add a deeper, nuttier, more caramel-y flavor to the finished cookies.