Italian Christmas Cookies

This year, bake something beyond basic sugar cookies.

Italian Thumbprint Cookies
Photo: Jennifer Causey

We took inspiration from our favorite Italian treats and folded them into seven new recipes. From tender Pignolia-studded drops to holiday-inspired biscotti, you'll want to add one (or all) of these to your holiday baking repertoire.

01 of 07


Victor Schrager

If a shortbread cookie and sugar cookie had a baby, it'd be this traditional Italian Christmas cookie.

You can crank out three dozen of these sweet little iced balls in an hour, so it's a great go-to for serving a crowd.

Get the recipe: Angeletti

02 of 07

Jam Sandwich Cookies

Jam Sandwich Cookies
Raymond Hom

If you're a confident dough roller, work on a lightly floured surface; but if you're new or timid, roll the dough on a piece of parchment paper so you can pop the whole thing in the refrigerator to firm back up if it gets too soft.

Store these cookies between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at room temperature, and they'll keep for up to 2 days (if they last that long).

Get the recipe: Jam Sandwich Cookies

03 of 07

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Victor Schrager

But macaroons are French, right? Yes and no: Culinary historians credit an 8th- or 9th-century Italian monastery for creating these sweet morsels, and the recipes later traveled to and were popularized in France.

These shouldn't be confused with French macarons (with only one "o"), which are delicate, airy sandwich cookies with a layer of filling in between, resembling a brightly colored Oreo.

While less elegant, these macaroons have a certain rustic appeal and, better, are so easy to make.

Get the recipe: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

04 of 07

White Chocolate Salted Butter Biscotti

White Chocolate Salted Butter Biscotti
Caitlin Bensel

Salted butter enhances the flavor of classic mix-ins—pistachios, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips—with a nuanced dough that isn't overly sweet.

Unlike the biscotti of dentists' nightmares, these cookies won't break a tooth. They're soft enough to take a gentle bite, while still holding firm for a quick dip in coffee or tea.

Package them in a clear bag with all the chocolate-dipped tips aligned, and include a printout of the recipe, as giftees will be sure to ask.

Get the recipe: White Chocolate Salted Butter Biscotti

05 of 07

Chocolate Chip Meringue Kisses

Chocolate Chip Meringue Kisses
David Prince

These light and airy meringues contain a hidden surprise: a sweet nugget of chocolate in each bite. Dip them in a little melted chocolate for extra panache.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Meringue Kisses

06 of 07

Pine Nut Drops

Pine Nut Drops
Laurie Frankel

The star of this cookie is the Italian pine nut, also called a Pignolia nut, which Italians use to make pesto.

If you're a nervous baker, make a batch of these to build your confidence. The dough is easy to make: Roll into balls, dress them with nuts, and bake until golden. Now that's something to celebrate.

Get the recipe: Pine Nut Drops

07 of 07

Lace Cookies

Lace Cookies
Greg DuPree

Also known as Florentines—referring to Florence, the Tuscan capital in Italy—you'll find these cookies in pastry shops across Europe.

Just like the name implies, lace cookies are delicate and seemingly intricate creations. But they're actually a breeze to make, so don't let that thin texture and perfectly bubbled tops fool you.

Get the recipe: Lace Cookies

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