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26 Old-World Italian Cookie Recipes Your Grandmother Made

Grandma's traditional Italian cookie recipes are a family treasure. She may have baked up spumoni, pizzelle, biscotti and other heirlooms for the holidays, but they're so heartwarming, you may just decide to make a batch any time of year.

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Almond BiscottiTaste of Home

Almond Biscotti

I've learned to bake a double batch of this crisp almond biscotti recipe, because one batch goes too fast! —H. Michaelson, St. Charles, Illinois

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Spumoni SlicesTaste of Home

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

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TorcettiTaste of Home

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 AmarettiTaste of Home

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 CookiesTaste of Home

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

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Almond Chocolate BiscottiTaste of Home

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

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Italian Sprinkle CookiesTaste of Home

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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Chocolate Fruit N Nut CookiesTaste of Home

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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CuccidatiTaste of Home

Cuccidati

The compliments are well worth making these Sicilian cookies—they're the best recipe I've found! —Carolyn Fafinski, Dunkirk, New York

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Italian Lemon CookiesTaste of Home

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 BiscottiTaste of Home

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 CookiesTaste of Home

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 CookiesTaste of Home

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 CookiesTaste of Home

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

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Italian Cornmeal Spritz CookiesTaste of Home

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 PizzellesTaste of Home

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 CookiesTaste of Home

Fig & Almond Cookies

In our family, holiday cookies—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 ClustersTaste of Home

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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PizzelleTaste of Home

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

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Hazelnut Almond BiscottiTaste of Home

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 CookiesTaste of Home

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 CookiesTaste of Home

Italian Horn Cookies

My family has been making these delicate fruit-filled Christmas cookies for generations. Light and flaky, they have the look of elegant pastry. —Gloria Siddiqui, Houston, Texas

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Rainbow Layered CookiesTaste of Home

Rainbow Layered Cookies

Balanced beautifully in the sweet spot between cake and cookie, these sensational slices will be the centerpiece of your cookie tray.—Sherry Thompson, Seneca, South Carolina

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Anise & Wine CookiesTaste of Home

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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Italian Cenci CookiesTaste of Home

Italian Cenci Cookies

My mother brought this special family recipe from Europe a century ago. Cenci can be "dressed up" for any holiday—at Easter, I sprinkle yellow, pink and lavender jelly beans over them, and for Christmas, red and green candy sprinkles give the cenci a festive look. Even without the garnish, they always disappear fast! —Anna Coduto, Fullerton, California

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Tender Italian Sugar CookiesTaste of Home

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.

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