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Add These Classic Italian Butter Cookies to Your Holiday Baking List


Growing up in a large Italian family meant that food was a part of any and every celebration and occasion under the sun. When I say food was present, what I mean is that heaps of foods of all kinds were always around. When I was young, living in New Jersey with my parents and sister, Italian cookies were always around, especially during the holidays. Cookie trays were available for the enjoyment of all who entered our home, all season long.

Holiday baking is one of my favorite things to enjoy during the holidays. There are lots of cookies that I enjoy making for my family and to give as gifts, but my favorite cookies of all are none other than melt in your mouth Italian butter cookies. These delicate cookies are an Italian staple, and it's been a joy to be able to share a piece of my Italian heritage with my husband's Germanic family, who are heavy bakers.

While Italian butter cookies can be made a variety of ways, my favorites are cherry cookies, and chocolate dipped cookies. Let's take a look at how easy these yummy cookies are to make, so you can make them before Christmas (or any time of the year).

Italian Butter Cookies


1 cup unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups all purpose flour

For dipping chocolate:

1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vegetable shortening

Sprinkles, if desired


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. I used my hand mixer, but you could also use a stand mixer. 

Add in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Mix until well incorporated.

Slowly add in the flour, a little at a time, until incorporated.

Using a piping bag and a swirl tip, pipe the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet - do not line with parchment paper. Pipe into small circles (these will expand a bit, so keep them small).

*Optional: Add maraschino cherries to centers of the cookies to make the cherry cookies. Cherries should be drained, quickly rinsed and dried before adding to each cookie.

Bake cookies for 12 - 14 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden brown.

Cookies should cool completely. Don't these look yummy?

Transfer cookies to cooling racks and let cool completely.

Want to add chocolate? Let's do it!

Chocolate dipped butter cookies are probably my favorite cookies on the planet. These are the ones I go for when we visit up north and pop into all of the local bakeries. They are so easy to make at home, though!

In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate chips and vegetable shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Do not over heat, or the chocolate will become clumpy.

Once the chocolate is melted, dip half of the cooled cookies into the chocolate.
Place dipped cookies on wax paper lined cookie sheets (make sure the cookie sheets are room temp.).
Decorate the cookies by adding sprinkles over the chocolate, if you like!

Let the cookies sit to set/dry on the cookie sheets. To speed up the process, you can place the cookie sheets in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes. It will take longer to set at room temperature- up to 90 minutes, depending on how thick your added layer of chocolate is.

Once the chocolate has set, Place cookies in air tight containers or tins for storage. Cookies should keep for 2 - 3 weeks if stored properly.

If you make cookies during the holidays to enjoy at home or to share with family and friends, you will definitely want to add these delicious cookies to your holiday baking list! I love them with a cup if coffee, and they are so delicious when dipped into your coffee!

I'm hoping you will love these cookies as much as I do!

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie or treat? 

Be sure to drop a comment below or on MBP social media so we can chat cookies and treats!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!


  1. These look so delicious. I just love holiday cookies!

  2. I always make Pizzelles for Christmas! I too come from an Italian family, and smiled when I was reading this post, as I know all too well the scene you were describing! <3

  3. So yummy looking! They would be perfect to make for my children and grandchildren!


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