Many people may know these classic Italian butter cookies from their local Italian-American bakery, while others may recognize the swirly shapes from cookie tins set around the holiday table.

Quick Facts About Italian Butter Cookies

People fall in love with Italian butter cookies whenever they eat it. Not only are they one of the favorite treats to devour during a family meal, but people find the production process entirely relaxing.

Italian butter cookies are cookies which are soft and tasty, with a rich, buttery taste. In today’s article, we offer the greatest recipe for real Italian Butter Cookies you'll ever find! It's similar to an Italian bakery, but tastier.

People’s eyes light up whenever they see a dish of different Italian butter cookies. In an Italian family, these iconic butter cookies are served at the conclusion of every holiday dinner. It's a family tradition! – due to how simple it is to make, and how tasty it is. 

 

Italian Butter Cookies

Italian Butter Cookies - Healthsoothe

On making authentic Italian butter cookies, you can create 12 distinct cookies from a single dough batch which is ideal for your Christmas cookie tray! This assortment of Italian butter cookies makes holiday baking a breeze!

If you're seeking an Italian Xmas cookie recipe, these handmade Italian butter cookies are your best option for a variety of reasons:

  • There are just five essential ingredients.
  • The cookie dough mixes together simply,
  • And you can create so many assorted cookies with it.
  • It's also simple to store and freeze, 
  • And you can freeze the dough!

You may also dunk them in chocolate, garnish them with almonds, sprinkles, jam or keep them plain since they're great anyhow!

These delectable Italian butter cookies are loaded with butter and vanilla flavor. They're softer than usual, but not chewy. They almost dissolve in your mouth! Because the list of ingredients for Italian butter cookies is short, it is critical to utilize high-quality condiments. For this pastry, top bakers use unsalted butter and Italian/European butter for added taste.

The basic buttery taste complements the tart raspberry jam and velvety dark chocolate so perfectly. Doesn't it sound delicious? They are the ideal small mouthful of delectableness. To be honest, many people always make a beeline for the sandwich version of Italian butter cookies.

 

The Simplest and Best Recipe for Baking Authentic Italian Butter Cookies

  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Chill/Cool/Set: 1 hr 15 mins
  • Total: 2hrs 10 mins
  • Servings: 20 servings
  • Yield: 40 cookies

Materials and Utensils Needed: Large piping bags (Industrial strength), large star piping tip, oven, bowls (large and small), hand mixer, spatula, sharp knife,  and teaspoons, kitchen table, baking board, baking rack, timer, fridge, and baking sheet.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients Of Italian Butter Cookies - Healthsoothe

For the Cookies

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour

For Sandwich Cookies (jam sandwiches)

  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • ¼ cup of seedless raspberry jam
  • 6 oz of dark chocolate or milk

For Chocolate Ganache (chocolate sandwiches/center of 'star' cookies)

  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • ¾ cup of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

PROCEDURES

  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt till it's light and fluffy.

Mix in the egg yolks and the vanilla extract on moderate speed until well mixed.
Making Italian Butter Cookies - Healthsoothe

  • Add the flour and combine until big crumbles form. Mix in the milk well. The dough shouldn't be formed into a ball. It must be sticky with the consistency of thick buttercream. When you insert your spatula into the dough and take it out, some batter should stay - this is ideal! If the dough does not cling together after adding in all of the milk, add a little extra, but not too much, as this may make the cookies widen and lose their form.

Making Italian Butter Cookies - Healthsoothe

  • Fill an extra-large, heavy-duty piping bag with the dough and a big open star tip.
  • Pipe the mixture into 2" strips for sandwich cookies, allowing 1½ inches between each cookie. To get a neat edge, use a knife that is sharp to trim the edges.

Making Italian Butter Cookies - Healthsoothe

  • Holding the piping bag upright, compress until your star form is roughly a diameter of 1 inch.

Making Italian Butter Cookies: Piping - Healthsoothe

  • Decorate star cookies with sprinkles before baking if desired. If you want to fill them with chocolate, make a hole or well in the middle of the cookie with a ¼ teaspoon that is floored.

Making Italian Butter Cookies: Sprinkling - Healthsoothe

  • Bake the cookies for 10 to 13 minutes until the edges are light golden brown.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

  • Allow cooling entirely on the baking sheet before transferring it to a cooling rack.

Making Italian Butter Cookies - Healthsoothe

Making Sandwiches

  • Heat your chocolate in the microwave to melt for 15 seconds at a time, stirring carefully between each, until completely melted and smooth.
  • Apply slightly less than ¼ teaspoon jam or ganache solely on a single face of the cookie for sandwiches. Sandwich them together.
  • Place the sandwich cookie on a rack after dipping one end in melted chocolate. Allow the chocolates to cool at room temperature before adding the sprinkles.

 

Making the Ganache (center of the star cookies or sandwich cookies)

  • Microwave the cream in a large bowl (a glass one) for approximately 30 seconds, or until hot and nearly boiling.
  • Incorporate the shredded chocolate/chocolate chips. Allow the chocolate chips to soak for 3-4 minutes in the cream.
  • After the mixture has rested, combine the cream and chocolate. The chocolate chips should be melted into the cream, but if necessary, return the bowl to the microwave for about a few more seconds.
  • Let the ganache cool for a few minutes before serving.
  • Spread the ganache in between sandwiches or pipe it into the star cookie wells.
  • It is preferable to place them in the refrigerator to firm up.

 

How to Make Authentic Italian Butter Cookies Recipe by Liz

These cookies are quite easy to make. This recipe requires just a couple of specialty items. You’ll need large, heavy duty piping bags or a pastry bag to pipe out the cookie dough and a large star tip to achieve the shape of the cookie.

After mixing all of the ingredients, I stuffed the dough into the piping bag and fitted it with the large star piping tip to create the cookies.

To make the sandwich cookies, I piped 2” long strips onto a tray lined with parchment paper. The ends do not come off cleanly when the dough is released from the pastry bag, so I used a sharp knife to create a straight line on both ends.

For the star cookies, I simply held the piping bag vertically and squeezed dough out onto the parchment paper. If you want to make chocolate-filled star cookies, you can use the back of a ¼ teaspoon dipped in flour to form a tiny well in the center of the cookie before baking. When you go to put chocolate on those later, it will have a nice little area to fill up.

Do not overbake

You’ll need to keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t get too brown. I baked them for about 11 minutes to achieve a very soft, light golden brown on the edge. That way, they stay nice and soft.

The key is to take them out when they're lightly golden, if they bake too long they won't have the right bakery style texture. Overbaking will cause them to become very dry and crumbly – exactly what we’re trying to avoid!

Assembling the sandwich cookies

After the cookies cool completely on a wire rack, spread a tiny, tiny amount of jam on one of the cookies. Now, I did also make a non-jam, all chocolate version of these cookies for anyone that isn’t a fan of that raspberry & chocolate combination.

For that version, I used a thick ganache in the middle. They would also be amazingly delicious completely dipped in chocolate! The chocolate versions were just as mouth-watering, but definitely stick with the jam if you want to go with that traditional, bakery style soft Italian butter cookie route that most are such a fan of.

You’re going to love this recipe! These cookies are such a treat to have for special occasions and holidays. You'll want to make a double batch!

Make sure you store any leftovers in an airtight container once completely cooled so they stay fresh. For more ideas and holiday baking sprees, try my butter cookies recipe. It is sure to be another delight at the table this holiday season.

I promise you don’t need as much jam as you think. I used a little less than ¼ of a teaspoon of jam for each sandwich. You don’t want it to run down the sides of the cookies.

Once all of my sandwiches were made, I dipped one side of the cookies in melted chocolate and used a tiny amount of rainbow sprinkles. You cannot skip the chocolate!

 

Baking Tips for Making Perfect Cookies

  • Cut the butter into chunks and allow them to soften for at least 1 hour before making the cookie dough. The butter must be soft but not melted.
  • The dough is thicker than frosting, so cloth piping bags (or silicone ones) hold the pressure better than disposable piping bags.
  • If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a cookie press, or make your own piping bag with parchment paper.
  • Don’t overfill your piping bag and squeeze from the top as you pipe the dough, otherwise the dough will ooze out the top.
  • Chill the cookies for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, even better for 1 hour. Skipping the chilling time will make your cookies spread and flatten in the oven.
  • Keep the cookies slightly spaced apart, as they will slightly expand while they bake.
  • For chocolate-dipped cookies use high quality chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, then allow it to cool slightly before dipping the cookies.

Creaming the butter and sugar is vital to this recipe:

  • Not only does it make it easier to pipe your cookies, but the aeration creates pockets that the leavening (like baking powder, here) utilizes to expand the cookie.
  • More aeration means more volume, which leads to more cookies (probably about 5 to 10 to be precise).
  • Without creaming, the butter and sugar can create large, compact lumps which will melt faster, therefore spreading the cookie when baking.
  • Because butter is the star here, choose a quality brand with lower moisture.

Egg Yolks:

  • Make sure your yolks come from large eggs as this is the necessary size/weight of fat and moisture for the dough.
  • If you are working in a cooler environment, then you can use 1 whole large egg + 1 large egg yolk to add just enough moisture to loosen the dough, but allow it to hold shape during baking.
  • If you used 2 yolks and your dough feels too stiff to pipe, then add 1 tablespoon of milk, at a time until the dough is the right consistency. I would not add more than 2 tablespoons.

Piping tips:

Making Italian Butter Cookies - Healthsoothe

  • Keep a small cup of water by you when piping. To help release the dough from the piping tip, dip your finger in the water and gently release the cookie dough from the piping tip—it won't stick.
  • You'll have some cookies that didn't release from the tip as nicely as others, but that's okay. You can dip your finger in the water and go back to gently even out the ends. Otherwise, you can cover up any oopsies with the chocolate.
  • We found the star piping tips (open or closed) work best for these cookies, but feel free to experiment with other tips.
  • Avoid overfilling the piping bag, as it can make it more difficult to pipe out the dough. It's better to fill the bag with less dough and refill as needed. 

 

Recipe Variations

The sky's the limit when it comes to the shapes and sizes of your cookie. Have fun and experiment with designs you like, whether circles, lines, rainbow arcs, squiggles, or more.

You can dye half of your dough and fill your piping bag with both colors to create a tie-dye effect on the cookies.

Although this cookie is basic by design to highlight the richness of the butter, you can incorporate subtle flavor additions like:

  • Citrus zest
  • Almond extract
  • Cocoa nibs
  • Sweet or savory jams
  • Nutella or nut butter fillings

 

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Plain or dipped cookies can be stored at room temperature, but keep any cookies with jam or ganache in the refrigerator.

Freezing and Make-Ahead Tips:

  • You can make the cookie dough ahead and keep in the freezer or fridge, but allow the dough to come to room temperature before piping; otherwise it will be too difficult to handle.
  • Freeze the cookies plain or dipped in chocolate, then allow to come to room temperature (uncovered to prevent condensation on the cookies) and sandwich with any filling before serving. You can freeze ahead for up to 3 months.

 

My Problem with Italian Butter Cookies From Liz

Liz says;

Italian Butter Cookies are probably the most delicious of all the Italian cookies. But, that deliciousness really depends where you get them from. Grocery stores and Italian bakeries sell these cookies during the holiday season, but they are usually unpleasantly dry all the way through.

They are often crumbly, sandy and flavorless (it’s evident they don’t use real butter in those). My husband would argue that they're good for dunking in tea, but that's another story.

After making my own Soft Butter Cookies, I realized that I absolutely needed a homemade version of these classic Italian sandwiches & (what I call) star cookies to add to my Italian recipes. Now that I’ve made these from scratch, I will never, ever buy store bought again.

 

An Extra Slice By Healthsoothe

Italian butter cookies are proof that you don't need many ingredients to make a delicious Italian dessert.

In fact, you just need five!

  • Butter: adds flavor and the perfect structure to the cookies. Make sure it's very soft but not melted.
  • Powdered sugar: confectioner's sugar makes heavenly crumbly cookies, so don't substitute with regular sugar.
  • Eggs: 2 medium eggs and 1 extra yolk, at room temperature.
  • Vanilla: use pure vanilla extract or a scraped vanilla bean.
  • Flour: all purpose flour or Italian 00 flour. Make sure you sift the flour after you weigh it.

Optional ingredients include:

  • Sea salt: a pinch of salt gives a nice contrast and adds an extra layer of flavor.
  • Citrus zest: 1 teaspoon of freshly-grated orange or lemon zest adds a wonderful citrusy aroma to these cookies.
  • Cocoa powder: to make chocolate butter cookies, substitute 60 g of flour with 60 g of cocoa powder or divide the dough equally, and mix 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder into half of the dough.

Frequently Asked Questions on Italian Butter Cookies

The butter was probably too warm. Try chilling them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes /1 hour before baking (after they're already piped).

Shortbread cookies have a higher ratio of butter to flour, usually without a leavener. They are incredibly delicate and crumbly, so best served in-person versus shipped. In contrast, while butter cookies have a high proportion of butter as well, the amount of flour and sugar is increased so that the cookies can hold their shape. The end result is a..... Read More »

Yes, you can make this butter cookie dough ahead and freeze it for later. The cookie dough can be frozen for about a month. Once defrosted completely in the refrigerator, whisk it for a few minutes with an electric whisk before using it.

You can also freeze the cookies not dipped in chocolate, up to 6 months. To thaw frozen cookies, take them out of their freezing container and spread them on a baking tray until they come to room temperature. You can also crisp them up in a warm oven (150 C/325 F) for 2-3 minutes.

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A Super Easy and Simple Recipe on How to Bake Italian Butter Cookies | You’ll Never Have To Buy Them from A Store or The Bakery Again
Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Italian butter cookies are cookies which are soft and tasty, with a rich, buttery taste. In today’s article, we offer the greatest recipe for real Italian Butter Cookies you’ll ever find! It’s similar to an Italian bakery, but tastier.

Type: Dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Italian Butter Cookies

Recipe Yield: 40 cookies

Calories: 100kcal

Preparation Time: 30M

Chill/Cool/Set Time: 1H25M

Cooking Time: 15M

Total Time: 2H10M

Recipe Ingredients:

  • For the Cookies:
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour

    For Sandwich Cookies (jam sandwiches):
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • ¼ cup of seedless raspberry jam
  • 6 oz of dark chocolate or milk

    For Chocolate Ganache (chocolate sandwiches/center of ‘star’ cookies):
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • ¾ cup of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Recipe Instructions:

Step 1:

Gather the ingredients.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 2:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 3:

Using a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt till it’s light and fluffy.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 4:

Mix in the egg yolks and the vanilla extract on moderate speed until well mixed.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 5:

Add the flour and combine until big crumbles form. Mix in the milk well. The dough shouldn’t be formed into a ball. It must be sticky with the consistency of thick buttercream. When you insert your spatula into the dough and take it out, some batter should stay – this is ideal! If the dough does not cling together after adding in all of the milk, add a little extra, but not too much, as this may make the cookies widen and lose their form.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 6:

Fill an extra-large, heavy-duty piping bag with the dough and a big open star tip.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 7:

Pipe the mixture into 2″ strips for sandwich cookies, allowing 1½ inches between each cookie. To get a neat edge, use a knife that is sharp to trim the edges.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 8:

Holding the piping bag upright, compress until your star form is roughly a diameter of 1 inch.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 9:

Decorate star cookies with sprinkles before baking if desired. If you want to fill them with chocolate, make a hole or well in the middle of the cookie with a ¼ teaspoon that is floored.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 10:

Bake the cookies for 10 to 13 minutes until the edges are light golden brown.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Step 11:

Allow cooling entirely on the baking sheet before transferring it to a cooling rack.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Making Sandwiches:

Heat your chocolate in the microwave to melt for 15 seconds at a time, stirring carefully between each, until completely melted and smooth.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Apply slightly less than ¼ teaspoon jam or ganache solely on a single face of the cookie for sandwiches. Sandwich them together.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Place the sandwich cookie on a rack after dipping one end in melted chocolate. Allow the chocolates to cool at room temperature before adding the sprinkles.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Making the Ganache (center of the star cookies or sandwich cookies):

Microwave the cream in a large bowl (a glass one) for approximately 30 seconds, or until hot and nearly boiling.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Incorporate the shredded chocolate/chocolate chips. Allow the chocolate chips to soak for 3-4 minutes in the cream.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

After the mixture has rested, combine the cream and chocolate. The chocolate chips should be melted into the cream, but if necessary, return the bowl to the microwave for about a few more seconds.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Let the ganache cool for a few minutes before serving.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

Spread the ganache in between sandwiches or pipe it into the star cookie wells.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe

It is preferable to place them in the refrigerator to firm up.

Baking Italian Butter Cookies: Simple Recipe
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