These Italian Christmas cookies are the most tender, fluffy cookie around. With a cake-like texture and a not too sweet buttercream frosting, these are the perfect Christmas cookie.
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**This post has been updated since its original post date in 2011. Text and photographs have been updated. Cookie recipe remains the same and the frosting recipe has been tweaked a bit to improve it.
I say this every time but this recipe may be my favorite Christmas cookie. They look simple enough but the texture of these cookies is unreal.
The secret Italian ingredient is the key to these cookies and a total baking game changer.
Ingredients for Italian Christmas Cookies
As you can see, the ingredient list is super simple. And right there in the middle of it is the secret ingredient, ricotta.
I know it may seem weird but it creates the lightest, fluffiest texture in the cookies. They almost have a cake-like texture and they melt in your mouth. They are kind of Christmas cookie magic.
How to Make Italian Christmas Cookies
These cookies are surprisingly easy to make. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the softened butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream until super light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. This breaks down the sugar granules so you don’t have the crunch of sugar throughout the cookies.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing between additions. Next up is the ricotta and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add them to the creamed mixture and mix until just combined.
Prepare for Baking
Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or spray well with nonstick cooking spray. Using a cookie scoop, portion out the cookies, leaving two inches between them.
Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, being careful not to overbake. That will ruin the lovely, light texture we created.
The centers will look just cooked, like when baking a cake. They should spring back when you lightly press on them.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting
Add the butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream until combined.
Add vanilla and milk to the mixer and whip until it’s super light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Spread over the cooled cookies and decorate with sprinkles.
More Festive Desserts:
Italian Christmas Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 (15 oz.) container ricotta
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. whole milk
- Festive sprinkles
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and vanilla. Combine flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
- Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- For frosting: in a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies and immediately decorate with sprinkles.