Butter

12 Italian Cookies You Can Make Without a Nonna to Teach You How

For your breakfast treats, coffee treats, lunch treats, coffee treats, aperitivo treats...

December  9, 2019

I’m not Italian, nor have I ever been to Italy. I can’t share my favorite Italian wine bar to tuck away in or make you feel like you’re standing in an Italian market. I wouldn’t know the first thing about navigating the country and I don’t know how to cook a steak half as good as the ones that are supposedly served in Florence. But one thing I do know is cookies—and Italy has some of the finest.

Unfussy, traditional, and always just the right amount of sweet, Italian cookies of any sort never fail to to end a meal (or start a day) on the perfect note. Make these 10 Italian cookie recipes for your caffe—you don't even need a nonna to teach you how.

1. Tozzetti Ebraici

These tender, cinnamon-hazelnut biscotti will perfume your home magnificently and give you the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cappuccino. Win, win.

2. Italian Rainbow Cookies

These tri-colored beauties have a rich, almond flavor cut with the tart brightness of raspberry. Covered in a thin sheet of bitter dark chocolate, they're perfectly balanced all around. No wonder they're a holiday favorite in Italy and beyond.

3. Meyer Lemon Pizzelle

Already featherlight pizzelle—delicate, lacy vanilla wafer cookies—are lightened and brightened with a hint of Meyer lemon in this recipe. They'd make a great starting point for an ice cream sandwich, or slathered with lemon curd.

4. Homemade Milano Cookies

While not strictly traditional, these fan-favorite cookies emulate a good number of chocolate-sandwich cookies in Italy. Extras keep really well in the freezer, so you can make a big batch and enjoy them all holiday long.

5. Fave dei Morti

Though these light, French maracon-style almond cookies have many variations, one thing remains the same: they're dang delicious, each and every one. In this particular recipe, rum and cinnamon add personality to the dough (which can be easily made gluten-free, by replacing the all-purpose flour with additional almond meal).

6. Orange-Pistachio Biscotti

Nutty, crunchy, chocolate-y, and with serious staying power (literally—they last for weeks!), these biscotti are perfect to have on hand all holiday long, when friends and loved ones tend to drop in by surprise.

7. Biscotti di Vino

Biscotti, but make it wine-flavored. This one's circular-shaped (kind of like Southern Italian taralli) and great with cheese and fruit.

8. Polenta Cookies

Traditionally from Piedmont, these buttery, lightly sweet cookies have a hint of nuttiness from polenta. They're equally good dunked in zabaglione as they are with coffee or tea.

9. Torrone Sardo

Thick, chewy, sweet, and rich, a little goes a long way with this pistachio nougat. But a lot also goes a long way.

11. Chewy Chocolate Meringues

These chocolate meringues are ethereally light and just a touch chewy. They're also ultra-simple, made with just three ingredients. Do yourself a favor and make a double batch.

12. Baci di Dama

Chocolate and hazelnuts are an age-old pairing. In this melt-in-your-mouth kisses (that's what "baci" means, don't you know!), they come together in a classic, but exceptional way.

What's your favorite Italian cookie? Give us your bakery order in the comments!

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  • Alyce Birchenough
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Sarah E Daniels

Written by: Sarah E Daniels

It's mostly a matter of yeast.

2 Comments

Alyce B. August 14, 2020
Cucidati (Italian fig cookies) and Biscotti Regina (Italian sesame seed cookies) are both staples in New Orleans Italian American bakeries.
 
Psadie April 7, 2016
I love the Italian pignoli cookies. Love all of those nuts on the outside of the cookie.