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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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 15 min./batch + standing
  • Makes
    about 7 dozen


  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • GLAZE:
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Colored sprinkles


  • Using a heavy-duty mixer, beat eggs on high speed until light and foamy, about 5 minutes; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and baking powder; on low speed, gradually beat in shortening and extracts until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Gradually add beaten eggs (dough will be stiff).
  • Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes (tops of the cookies will not brown, but bottoms should brown slightly).
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, milk and extracts until smooth. As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, quickly dip 2 or 3 at a time into glaze. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs; place on wire racks to drain. Immediately top with sprinkles. Let dry for 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Because shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter, it’s useful for baking cookies that you want to have a nice uniform shape.
  • Not a fan of sprinkles? Try using finely chopped pistachios!
  • Try more old world Italian cookies.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cookie: 87 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 49mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
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    Average Rating:
    • Colly
      Oct 20, 2020

      Never heard of these cookies being Italian before. My Mom got this recipe when she purchased a stand mixer way back in the 50's. We've been making these for years. They are soooo good & so easy to make.

    • Sue
      Jul 29, 2020

      Never made Italian cookies. But tired of same old cookie. These are truly delicious! Easy to make and more importantly Hubby loved them! Will be making them this Christmas season

    • SunbeamChefs
      Mar 25, 2020

      I wanted to cry tasting these cookies because my grandma made these when I was a kid. I made them gluten free and used butter as I had no shortening. I subbed Fior Di Sicilia for the lemon extract. They were and are absolutely divine. Thank you thank you thank you

    • Kathleen
      Jun 25, 2019

      Little clouds of deliciousness. It's a two person process but worth it. I like a little smaller cookie so refrigerate dough to ease in rolling balls.

    • bosque
      Feb 22, 2019

      For Stacy, 2.5 tbsp b sling powder isn't bcc slot for 5 c flour!

    • Gloria Cristo
      Dec 20, 2018

      I don’t know if extract goes bad or if there is just too much, but they looked great and tasted terrible.

    • Jellybug
      Dec 14, 2018

      My family loves this cookie. It is worth the time.

    • cafritz
      Dec 9, 2018

      I have made these twice for my neighborhood cookie exchange. They are a winner. I do half the recipe as 7 dozen is a bit much for my family of 3 even with the cookie exchange.

    • lapodo
      Dec 8, 2018

      I use anise instead of almond flavoring as well. Here's a Boston story about Italian Sprinkle Cookies: Poor Luigi was laying upstairs in his bed. He had a good life but unfortunately he was sick and dying. As he was laying in bed, suddenly he could smell cookies baking and knew immediately they were his favorite Italian Sprinkle cookies. He knew his wife Maria was making these as an act of love. He struggled to get out of bed and made his way down the stairs. Painfully, he made his way down step by step to the kitchen. He was weak and could barely walk. In front of him to his amazement was a counter full of cookies freshly made and cooling off. The sight brought tears to his eyes . His withered and shaking hand reached out to get a cookie. Suddenly his hand was hit by a wooden spoon and his wife yelled: "Hands off Luigi those are for your funeral!!"

    • Theresa
      Nov 25, 2018

      I gebve it 5 stars even though I haven't made this recipe. I have a similar recipe but I use anise flavoring because thats what my Italian mother and all her friends used. I usually make half with Anise flavoring and half with Lemon flavoring.