If you're an almond fan, this dainty cookie is going to be love at first bite. Italian Wedding Cookies are a blissful matrimony of vanilla and almond flavor, with a delicate, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. They come thoroughly coated in powdered sugar, and always make for a festive addition to any holiday scene.
You only need a handful of ingredients and 30 minutes to whip up this easy cookie recipe -- no chilling required! Just scoop, bake, and ready the powdered sugar!
They are the perfect Christmas dessert for parties or holiday gift-giving! All you need is a clear cellophane bag and a red (or green) ribbon, and you're looking at one seriously beautiful, homemade Christmas gift. They're also ideal for little nibbles at bridal showers and weddings!
Love almond desserts? Bookmark these soft and chewy, miniature Almond Cookies for your next baking extravaganza!
WHAT ARE ITALIAN WEDDING COOKIES?
Italian Wedding Cookies are a variety of Russian Tea Cakes. You might have also heard Tea Cakes referred to as Snowdrop Cookies, Tea Cake Cookies, Butterballs, and Polvorones just to name a few.
The cookie characteristics are the same across the board: a generous coating of powdered sugar on the outside and a melt-in-your-mouth, buttery cookie speckled with ground nuts on the inside. The differentiating factor when it comes to the Italian Wedding Cookie is they are typically made with almonds.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN WEDDING COOKIES
- Prep – Preheat the oven to 325°F and have ready a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Whisk Dry Ingredients – To kick off your Italian Wedding Cookies Recipe, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour and sea salt. Set aside until ready to use.
- Mix Butter and Sugar – Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well-combined. Add the vanilla and almond extract and mix once more.
- Add Dry Ingredients – Turn the mixer down to low, and slowly incorporate the flour mixture, followed by the ground almonds.
- Scoop Dough and Bake – Scoop the dough a tablespoon at a time, form it into a round, and place the dough balls on a baking sheet about 1 ½″ apart. Bake for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
- Toss in Sugar – Place the powdered sugar in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Add about a dozen cookies to the bag at a time, and gently toss to coat. If you want to add a glaze to your Italian Wedding Cookies, skip this step and see below!
HOW TO MAKE ICING FOR ITALIAN WEDDING COOKIES
You can serve Italian Wedding Cookies with a generous coating of powdered sugar, or make them a touch less messy by using a simple glaze topping instead.
To make the glaze topping, you will need:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half (or whole milk)
To make the glaze, combine the sugar and the half-and-half in a small mixing bowl and stir until combined.
It may appear as though it is not going to come together but resist the urge to add more dairy. Just keep stirring and you will end up with a glaze that's the perfect consistency for topping your cookies!
Once the glaze is ready, place the cooled Italian Wedding Cookies on a sheet of wax paper and drizzle small spoonfuls over the tops of the cookies. For a beautiful and festive finishing touch, top them off with a sprinkle of white nonpareils!
ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
- Flour | This recipe was developed with all-purpose flour and no other type of flour should be substituted in its place.
- Butter | Be sure to use unsalted, room temperature butter when making these cookies. You'll need the butter to be room temperature so that you can properly cream it with the granulated sugar. Also, please note the importance of unsalted butter; if you use salted butter in this recipe, your cookies will be overwhelmingly salty.
- Sugar | You will need both granulated and powdered sugar for this recipe. Granulated sugar for creating the dough and powdered sugar for coating the cookies once they're baked. And, just in case you were curious, powdered sugar and confectioners sugar are the same thing!
- Extracts | A combination of pure vanilla extract and almond extract makes for an extremely flavorful and irresistible almond cookie! Be sure not to go overboard with the almond extract; a little bit goes a long way.
- Almonds | For your Italian Wedding Cookies, you will need ground almonds. You can buy ground almonds or you can make them using your food processor! See below for tips on grinding your almonds at home.
HOW TO MAKE GROUND ALMONDS
If you are going to grind your own almonds, you'll want to start with 3-to-3 ½ cups of whole, unsalted almonds. Put them in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until the almonds appear finely minced.
You don't want to process them too far beyond this point or the nut will start releasing oils and you'll end up with almond butter instead of ground almonds!
WANT TO USE A DIFFERENT NUT?
If you'd prefer to make Wedding Cookies without almonds, you can sub in pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts instead!
HOW MANY COOKIES DOES THIS RECIPE MAKE?
Italian Wedding Cookies are dainty, bite-sized cookies. Technically, you could take the whole thing down with one bite, but (if we're being lady-like) two is probably more of the standard. Because the cookies are scooped small, this recipe makes a minimum of three dozen cookies and as many as forty. They're the perfect party cookie nibble!
HOW TO STORE WEDDING COOKIES
These cookies keep extremely well and can be left at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week. If you'd like to keep them fresh for longer than this, freeze them!
CAN YOU FREEZE ITALIAN WEDDING COOKIES?
Italian Wedding Cookies are extremely easy to freeze and require little-to-no extra effort on your behalf. You can either freeze them before or after you roll them in the powdered sugar. However, the powdered sugar will stay much prettier if you wait to add the powdered sugar until after they've thawed.
Freeze the cookies either in an airtight, freezer-safe container or a freezer-safe zip-top bag for up to three months, but make sure your Italian Wedding Cookies have cooled completely before sealing!
Thawing the cookies is even easier: just leave them out on the counter at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. You’ll notice that if you froze them after rolling them in sugar, the sugar may no longer be a vibrant white once thawed. If you care to, roll them in powdered sugar once more.
5 MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIES RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Haystack Cookies
- Cinnamon Cookies
- Red Velvet Cookies
- Thumbprint Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
This is the BEST Italian Wedding Cookies recipe, and all you need is 6 ingredients! They're buttery, speckled with almonds, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Coat them in powdered sugar or drizzle with icing and enjoy!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature (do NOT use salted butter)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 ½ cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
Preheat the oven to 325° and have ready a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour and sea salt. Set aside until ready to use.
Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well-combined. Add the vanilla and mix once more.
Turn the mixer down to low, and slowly incorporate the flour mixture, followed by the ground almonds.
Scoop dough a tablespoon at a time, form it into a round, and place dough balls on baking sheet about 1 ½" apart. Bake for 15 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
Place the powdered sugar in a gallon-sized zip top bag. Add about a dozen cookies to the bag at a time, and gently toss to coat. Serve and enjoy.
Makes 36-40 cookies.
Do NOT substitute salted butter for this recipe!
To make the glaze topping:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- Combine the sugar and the half-and-half in a small mixing bowl and stir until combined.
- Place cooled cookies on a sheet of wax paper and drizzle small spoonfuls over the tops of the cookies.
- Allow to set, 45 minutes to an hour.