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Tender Italian Sugar Cookies

These traditional Italian cookies are moist and tender. —Weda Mosellie, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    3 dozen


  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ICING:
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Food coloring and coarse sugar, optional


  • Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Shape dough into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • For icing, in a small bowl, combine milk, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Tint with food coloring if desired. Dip tops of cookies in icing; allow excess to drip off. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 136 calories, 5g fat (2g saturated fat), 20mg cholesterol, 54mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.
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Average Rating:
  • Karen
    Dec 11, 2020

    I made these cookies today. Baked them at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. The bottoms are very very dark. Almost look burnt. What am I doing wrong???

  • lvarner
    Oct 1, 2018

    These cookies are nice to make for a cookie tray. They are quite pretty, and I change the color of the food coloring to go with the holiday and/or season. To me, they needed a little something extra so I have at times added 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract or 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips to the cookie dough with very good results.

  • buffetfan
    Apr 17, 2018

    I made these for a luncheon at school and they were well received. After reading reviews I added a teaspoon of butter emulsion that I had along with almond extract to add more flavor. I kept the vanilla extract too. I think they are more like a shortbread cookie than sugar, though. They were delicious and, as another mentioned, not too sweet but perfect with the icing. I also used a cookie scoop for uniform size. Will definitely be making them again.

  • susan
    Mar 20, 2017

    I have made Italian cookies many years for holidays and weddings. I saw this recipe and thought it was pretty for a tray. I will not make again. Too sweet and I did not like the taste. I will continue using my recipes I have been handed down from family.

  • Madeline
    Dec 26, 2016

    I used almond extract instead and they turned out just great... the icing and sugar sprinkles make up for the not so sweet cookie. This is a keeper!

  • JMartinelli13
    Dec 3, 2016

    Base cookie isn't overly sweet, but was balanced out with the icing and sprinkles. I used a cookie scoop to get uniform cookies.

  • janr13
    Apr 9, 2016

    Just made these cookies and also found them a little bland, will make them again just will add some orange extract to flavor them up. Icing was very runny even after adding extra sugar.

  • cdugdell
    Dec 31, 2015

    Love these cookies and they are always a hit a christmas time

  • CarrieBerry4Chad
    Apr 22, 2015

    Just ok. I agree with others that these are pretty bland. Not a very sweet cookie if that's what you're looking for.Easy to make, but not my idea of a sugar cookie.

  • auntyshock
    Mar 13, 2015

    For more flavor use almond flavor in cookie and i used peppermint flavor in icing