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31 Old-World Italian Cookie Recipes Your Grandmother Made

Grandma's traditional Italian cookie recipes are a family treasure. Bake up spumoni, pizzelle, biscotti and other heirlooms for the holidays or any time of year.

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Italian Sprinkle Cookies

Of all the Italian cookie recipes I make, this is my favorite. These sprinkle cookies take some time, but, believe me, they are well worth it! My husband and I used to operate an Italian American restaurant, and this recipe goes back generations. —Gloria Cracchiolo, Newburgh, New York

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2 / 31
Memorable Biscotti Exps Thca22 7197 B10 22 4b

Memorable Biscotti

The enticing aroma of anise filled the kitchen and wafted through the house as Mom baked these crisp cookies when I was a girl. Mom always kept a big glass jar filled so we had a supply of these traditional cookies on hand. —Cookie Curci, San Jose, California
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Anise Pizzelle

These lovely, golden brown anise pizzelle cookies have a crisp texture and delicate anise flavor. I create them using a pizzelle iron. —Barbara Colucci, Rockledge, Florida
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Lemon-Ricotta Cookies

I work for a Special Education school and our students run their own catering business. Every time they make these lemon-ricotta cookies for a catering event, they get raves. They are the yummiest and chewiest cookies ever! —Renee Phillips, Owosso, Michigan
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Cinnamon Twirl Cookies

These rolled cookies are tasty and fun to make with your family. The sugary mixture of walnuts and cinnamon is a light, sweet filling that will leave everyone wanting another bite. —Phyllis Cappuccio, Malden, Massachusetts
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Citrus Almond Cookies

These frosted goodies were a “must” every Christmas in my mother’s family. I think the blend of milk chocolate, toasted almonds, lemon and orange is cookie perfection.
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Simply Sesames

My kitchen counter is covered with these crispy crowd-pleasers at Christmastime. I make them for friends and family. I also add them to care packages our church delivers to area senior citizens.
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Almond Biscotti

I’ve learned to bake a double batch of this crisp almond biscotti recipe, because one batch goes too fast! It’s one of those classic Italian cookie recipes! —H. Michaelson, St. Charles, Illinois
9 / 31
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Spumoni Slices

My sweet rectangles get their name from the old-fashioned tri-colored ice cream. Our whole family prefers them. —Mary Chupp, Chattanooga, Tennessee
10 / 31
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Anise Sugar Cookies

As much as I love giving away my baking, a few goodies—like these anise sugar cookies—are keepers. The light anise flavor and buttery texture make them a perfect Christmas treat. —P. Marchesi, Rocky Point, Long Island, New York
11 / 31

Torcetti

Our Sicilian grandmother often had my sister and me roll out the dough for these tasty torcetti. Their melt-in-your-mouth goodness is delicious without being overly sweet.—Joy Quici, Upland, California
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Chocolate Amaretti

These classic almond paste cookies are like ones you'd find in an Italian bakery. My husband and children are always excited when I include these goodies in my holiday baking lineup. —Kathy Long, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
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Italian Pignoli Cookies

Cookies are the crown jewels of Italian confections. I can’t let a holiday go by without baking these traditional almond cookies rolled in mild pine nuts.—Maria Regakis, Somerville, Massachusetts
14 / 31

Almond Chocolate Biscotti

My neighbors look forward to getting my gifts of these chocolate-covered cookies. I love that this chocolate biscotti recipe is such a cinch to make. —Ginger Chatfield, Muscatine, Iowa
15 / 31

Chocolate Fruit N Nut Cookies

Filled with fruit, nuts, chocolate and loads of flavor, these traditional Italian treats hit the spot. We enjoy them at Christmas with a hot beverage.
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Cuccidati

The compliments make these Sicilian cookies worth the effort. It’s one of the best Italian cookie recipes I’ve found! —Carolyn Fafinski, Dunkirk, New York
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Italian Lemon Cookies

Christmas wouldn't be the same without my grandmother's cookies. A plate full of these light and zesty cookies is divine!—Elisabeth Miller, Broadview Heights, Ohio
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Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Chocolate, pistachios and cranberries make a dramatic, delicious trio. Introducing the cranberries to this recipe added tartness, texture and color, too. —Gilda Lester, Millsboro, Delaware
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Italian Orange-Fig Cookies

This is one of the first holiday cookies I made when I found out I could no longer eat gluten. In those eight years, six of my family members and friends have also had to give up gluten, so these delicious Italian cookies have now become a treasured holiday tradition for all of us. By the way, no one will know they're gluten free unless you tell them! The cookies last for weeks if stored in a dry place. —Suzanne Banfield, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
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Italian Sesame Cookies

These nontraditional European cookies aren't overly sweet and have a wonderful crunch from sesame seeds. They're the ideal accompaniment to a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea.—Sarah Knoblock, Hyde Park, Indiana
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Italian Holiday Cookies

Many of our holiday traditions center around the foods my mother made while I was growing up. These cookies, which we called "Strufoli", bring back wonderful memories. —Sue Seymour, Valatie, New York
22 / 31

Italian Cornmeal Spritz Cookies

A chef at a local culinary school gave me this recipe, and I've been using it for years. Italian cornmeal cookies are from the Piedmont region of northern Italy. They're not too sweet, and the glazed cherries add just the right touch. — Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New York
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Chocolate Almond Pizzelles

If you love fun baking gadgets, you'll enjoy making these crispy, almond-flavored cookies, which get their unique waffle design from a pizzelle maker. They bake up golden brown in only a few minutes. Feel free to double the chocolate drizzle if you'd like to cover the cookies more generously. —Hannah Riley, Norwalk, Ohio
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Fig & Almond Cookies

In our family, Italian cookie recipes — like these nutty fig ones — are a big deal. I’m so proud to be passing on this Italian tradition to my two boys. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey
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Italian Honey Clusters

My mother made these treats flavored with cinnamon and anise for neighbors, teachers and anyone who stopped by. Make sure the honey doesn’t boil longer than a minute or it could burn.—Sarah Knoblock, Hyde Park, Indiana
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Pizzelle

This recipe was adapted from one that my Italian-born mother and grandmother followed. They used old irons on a gas stove, but now we have the convenience of electric pizzelle irons. These delectable cookies are still a traditional treat in our family. —Elizabeth Schwartz, Trevorton, Pennsylvania
27 / 31
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Hazelnut Almond Biscotti

Pour a cup of coffee and indulge! Crisp, crunchy biscotti cookies are perfect for dunking. Hazelnuts and almonds make my favorite version even better. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

I recently found this old family recipe in my mom’s kitchen. I made a few adjustments to streamline the process, and the cookies turned out wonderfully. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
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Italian Horn Cookies

My family has been making these delicate fruit-filled cookies for generations. They’re light and flaky, with the look of an elegant old-world pastry. —Gloria Siddiqui, Houston, Texas
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Anise & Wine Cookies

My grandmother did not speak English very well, but she knew the language of great food. These wine cookies are crisp and best eaten after being dunked in even more wine.—Julia Meyers, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Tender Italian Sugar Cookies

These traditional Italian cookies are moist and tender. —Weda Mosellie, Phillipsburg, New Jersey

Kristin Sutter
A big fan of homegrown cooking, Kristin has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. She has mastered the art of learning from her inexpert riffs on other people's truly good recipes.