Italian cuisine is well known for its variety of amazing baked goods. Included in this is are Italian cookies, all with their own unique flavors and textures.
Italian cookies are a sweet way to finish any meal, especially when you enjoy them alongside a cup of coffee. They also make the perfect holiday gift.
In a 2019 survey, at least 73% of Americans said they'd prefer a food gift over anything else during the holiday season. Food has the power to bring friends and family together, even if we can't be in the same place.
If there's someone in your life who loves Italian cuisine, consider a gift basket filled with Italian baked goods. After all, nothing signals the holiday season like a festive tray of Italian cookies.
The trouble is, if you're not well-versed in Italian foods, you might not know which baked goods to pick. Luckily, we're here to help. Read on to learn about the top Italian cookies to delight your family and friends.
- What Are the Six Types of Italian Cookies?
- Italian Wedding Cookies
- Italian Rainbow Cookies
- Delight Your Loved Ones with an Italian Food Gift Basket
What Are the Six Types of Italian Cookies?
Between Italian American traditions and traditions unique to small Italian villages, there are hundreds of kinds of Italian cookies. That said, you can divide Italian cookies into six different groups based on their preparation method.
- Drop cookies - Batter gets spooned onto a baking tray
- Refrigerated cookies - Dough gets chilled until firm in the refrigerator
- Molded cookies - Dough gets shaped by hand
- Bar cookies - Dough gets baked in a sheet pan and cut into squares
- Rolled cookies - Dough gets flattened with a rolling pin and cut out in shapes
- Pressed cookies - Dough or batter gets pushed out of a cookie gun to get its shape
Keep in mind that there are many variations of each type of cookie in Italian baking. We've shared some of the most popular cookies below.
Also known as cantucci, this biscuit-like cookie comes from the Tuscan region of Italy. It's known for its signature crunch and not-too-sweet taste. They often feature almonds, pistachios, or dried fruits.
Biscotti are a type of molded cookie because you shape the dough into a log and then bake it in the oven. Then, you cut the baked log into slices and continue baking them in the oven. The double baking process is how they get their trademark crunch.
At Dagostnio’s we offer imported Biscotti cookies, that we love to dip into coffee or dessert wine. If you know a lover of Italian food, they must try this unique Italian treat.
For those who love almond desserts but can't handle the crunch of biscotti, Holiday Almond Skillet Shortbread Cake is a delicious alternative.
If you're looking for authentic Italian cookie recipes, look no further than Anginetti. They're also known as Italian lemon knot cookies. These soft and sweet cookies originated in southern Italy, which is also home to Italy's world famous lemon groves.
These Italian cookies with icing are traditionally served at celebrations and holidays, which makes them the perfect addition to a holiday cookie tray.
Anginetti have a delicate cake-like texture that's sure to please. Plus, it's a refreshing morsel you can enjoy after a big holiday meal.
Italian Wedding Cookies
Italian wedding cookies are a creation of Italian American immigrants. These light and crisp cookies are made with both ground almonds and chopped almonds. They're also dusted with powdered sugar for a light, yet perfectly sweet finish.
These cookies were often featured on the cookie table at Italian wedding receptions. It's also a popular tradition at Polish and Catholic receptions as well. Traditionally, these cookies are made by family members and brought to the reception for family and friends to enjoy.
Some versions of this recipe replace the chopped almonds with almond extract. They're also dipped in icing and have colorful sprinkles on top.
Pizzelle is a traditional cookie recipe that comes from central Italy. It's believed that this is the oldest cookie recipe in existence.
These crisp, waffle-like cookies are baked in a special iron that creates a star shaped design. If you'd like to try your hand at making these, you can invest in an electric Pizzelle iron which operates like a waffle iron.
One of these delicate cookies would pair well with a cup of coffee or a scoop of gelato for a special treat. Plus, since they're light you can still enjoy them after a big meal.
Italian ladyfingers are a type of sponge biscuit that comes from the European Savoy dynasty. That's why they're also known as Savoiardi in Italy. The French and English also have a version of this cookie in their cuisine.
The fluffy, egg white batter dries out a bit as it bakes which gives them a crisp yet spongy texture. They're also a major ingredient in Tiramisu, the classic Italian dessert.
This soft and spongy cookie is oval in shape. Since they're not overly sweet, they're considered a breakfast cookie. That makes them the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or a latte.
Italian Rainbow Cookies
While Italian Rainbow Cookies aren't traditional to Italy, they've been a staple in Italian American immigrant communities since the 1900s. These bar cookies feature three colorful layers (red, white, and green) that honor the Italian flag.
Between the layers of soft almond flavored cake you'll find layers of apricot and raspberry preserves. There's also a thin layer of chocolate on the top and bottom of each cookie.
They also go by other names like Napoleons, Tricolore, Venetian, and even 7-layer cookies. If your loved one is passionate about Italian cuisine, delight them with this special cookie.
Delight Your Loved Ones with an Italian Food Gift Basket
If you have a passionate foodie in your life, give the gift of Italian cookies this holiday season. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and love the chance to sample new flavors.
At Dagostino's we know how special the gift of food can be. If you're looking for more gift ideas beyond cookies, we also offer other Italian favorites. Pasta, chunky tomato sauce, authentic balsamic vinegar, and high-quality olive oil are just a few of our offerings.
We're passionate about sharing our love of Italian cuisine with you and your loved ones. Check out our entire product and gift box collection today and find the perfect holiday gift.