Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com
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Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) – Cookies  

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Super moist and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies are easy, festive holiday treats ready in just 30 minutes! These soft, fluffy, and buttery ricotta cookies are topped with homemade icing and colorful sprinkles. Made of simple pantry ingredients, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how these holiday cookies taste.

Italian Christmas Cookies can also be made ahead of time and stored for months so you can Like them anytime the craving hits. They are perfect for snacking with hot chocolate or coffee, sweet enough for dessert, great for a cookie exchange, and would make adorable holiday gifts too.

Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

If you love baking cookies for the holidays as much as we do, then you are in for a real treat! These traditional Italian Christmas cookies are the newest addition to our Holiday Cookie Box this year. The cookies are infused with whole-milk ricotta cheese and vanilla extract, giving them a creamy, cake-Like texture and mildly sweet and tangy tones.

Topping them with sweet, from-scratch icing and sprinkles gives these goodies a touch of decadence and jolly vibes! They would look so cute next to Linzer Cookies, Candy Cane Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies, and Christmas Sugar Cookies (just to name a few!).

Why You’ll Love these Italian Christmas Cookies

  • Quick, easy, and fuss-free. Making these Italian Christmas Cookies are super easy, even novice bakers can ace them! All you have to do is to cream the butter, add the wet ingredients, stir in the dry ingredients, shape the dough, and bake and you’ll have delicious ricotta cookies in no time. The icing is made using 3 ingredients and a bowl — plus, the hand mixer will do the work for you.
  • Not just a Christmas cookie. Though this is traditionally made for the merriest time of the year, nothing is stopping you from enjoying this cookie all year round. Just swap the red and green sprinkles with red and pink heart-shaped sprinkles for Valentine’s day, green for St. Patrick’s day, or blue and pink for baby showers. These ricotta cookies can be enjoyed all year long.
  • Tastes Like it’s from a bakery. These homemade Italian cookies are super delicious and would rival any that you can buy at your local bakery — without any preservatives or unnecessary additives that commercial cookies sometimes contain. It’s amazing how delicious and bakery-quality cookies you can make at home in no time!
Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

Ingredient Notes

To make these festive Italian Christmas Cookies, you will Ask for the following ingredients (full measurements in the recipe card below):

  • ricotta cheese – we recommend using whole milk (not part skim) for this recipe because it gives has more fat content and is creamier, which results in moister and softer cookies. Giving these ricotta cookies the right texture that they Require.    
  • all-purpose flour – the perfect base for soft and moist cookies. If you want to make them gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour brand and sub 1:1.  
  • baking soda – is the leavening agent for this recipe.
  • butter – you will Ask for butter both in the cookies and also for the icing. Aside from adding a richer taste to the cookies, the fats and moisture content in butter also help in their overall texture and structure.
  • sugar – aside from sweetening the cookies, sugar also helps in locking the moisture of the cookies so they do not dry out easily after baking.
  • egg – binds all the ingredients together and aids in the rising and spreading of the cookies as they bake.
  • vanilla extract – for flavor and fragrance.
  • salt
  • confectioners’ sugar – also called powdered sugar or icing sugar. They incorporate easier compared to granulated sugar and are important when making smooth and silky icing.
  • milk – to help thin out the icing. Add more or less until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Christmas sprinkles
Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

Equipment Needed

You will also Require the following baking equipment and tools:

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixing bowls
  • hand mixer or stand mixer
  • cookie scoop
  • half sheet baking pan and silicone baking mat (or parchment paper)
  • wire cooling rack

How to Make the Best Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies)

  1. Cream butter and sugar. In a medium to large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com
  1. Add wet ingredients. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add ricotta cheese and vanilla. Beat until combined.
Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com
  1. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com
  1. Scoop dough. Line large half sheet baking pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to scoop up 1 tablespoon of dough. Place the cookie balls 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Bake. Bake in a 350 F preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms Start to turn golden brown (the tops will remain pretty pale). Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before very carefully transferring them onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

How to Make Icing for Italian Ricotta Cookies

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and confectioners’ sugar, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and whisk to combine. If the icing is too thick, whisk in more milk (1 teaspoon at a time), if it is too runny, add more sugar.

Spread the icing on the cookies or turn the cookies upside down and dip into the icing. Place the cookies back upright on the wire rack and add sprinkles on top while the icing is still wet. (Note that the sprinkles may Begin to bleed the next day or two – avoid this by icing the cookies just before serving).

Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

Recipe Variations

  • Use a different flavoring: Instead of vanilla extract, you can use almond, coconut, or anise extract if you prefer. This will give the cookies a different taste.
  • Have fun with toppings: Instead of sprinkles, you can try topping these ricotta cookies with coconut flakes, edible glitters, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, crushed peppermint candies, or whatever your heart desires. Get creative!
  • Add flavor to the icing: A few drops of lemon, lime, or orange zest to the icing will instantly brighten it up and give it a nice flavor. You can also add vanilla or almond extract to the mixture if you please.
Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

How to Serve

These Italian Christmas Cookies are best enjoyed with a steaming cup of milk, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, or Hot Apple Cider to chase the cold away! Take note that if you are planning on serving them at a later date, it is much better to store them unfrosted. Just add the icing and sprinkles right before you serve them to keep them intact and pretty.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure that you take the butter and eggs out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before. This makes it easier for you to combine everything together and prevent overmixing the dough.  
  • Space the cookie dough balls apart. Place them at least 2 inches away from each other to give room for them to spread.
  • Do not over-bake. The goal is to have very moist and tender cookies, so take them out of the oven as soon as the bottoms Begin to turn golden brown. The more you bake them, the drier they will be!
  • Let them cool. The cookies will still be pliant and prone to breaking after baking. They Ask for to firm up for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.
  • Do not add icing to warm cookies. This is big no-no! The cookies should be completely cool before icing them. If they are still warm, the icing will melt and seep into the cookies, making them mushy and overly sweet!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to strain the ricotta before using it?

If it is too watery then yes, you should. This will prevent the dough from becoming soggy.

Why are my cookies tough and crumbly?

It can be because of two things. First, you might have over-mixed the dough, or second, they are over-baked.

Can I double the recipe?

For sure! If you are planning to make more to keep, give away to loved ones, or sell on bake sales just double the amount of ingredients on the recipe card below. The cookies last days at room temperature and months in the fridge so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling right away.

Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

Storing and Freezing Italian Christmas Cookies

How to Store

Place baked Italian Christmas Cookies in a jar or tightly lidded container. They will remain moist and tender for a week as long as you keep them in a cool area in your pantry or counter. If your kitchen is warm, place them in the fridge instead. Note that the sprinkles may Start to bleed the next day or two – avoid this by icing the cookies just before serving.

How to Freeze

They can also be frozen for up to three months. Refrain from adding icing and sprinkles right away if you plan to freeze the cookies. Thaw them in the fridge overnight and let them come to room temperature for a few minutes before assembling and serving.

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Super moist, soft, and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) are easy festive holiday treats that are ready in just 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies)


  • Author: Sam | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Diet: Vegetarian
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Description

Super moist and sweet Italian Christmas Cookies are easy, festive holiday treats ready in just 30 minutes! These soft, fluffy, and buttery ricotta cookies are topped with homemade icing and colorful sprinkles. Made of simple pantry ingredients, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how these holiday cookies taste.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 23 tablespoons milk (as needed)
  • Christmas sprinkles

Instructions

Make the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line large half sheet baking pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a medium to large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add sugar and cream until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add ricotta cheese and vanilla. Beat until combined.
  5. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
  6. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to scoop up 1 tablespoon of dough. Place the cookie balls 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms start to turn golden brown (the tops will remain pretty pale).
  8. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before very carefully transferring them onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the icing:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and confectioners’ sugar, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and whisk to combine. If the icing is too thick, whisk in more milk (1 teaspoon at a time) — if it is too runny, add more sugar.
  2. Spread the icing on the cookies or turn the cookies upside down and dip into the icing. Place the cookies back upright on the wire rack and add sprinkles on top while the icing is still wet. (Note that the sprinkles may start to bleed the next day or two – avoid this by icing the cookies just before serving).

Notes

How to store: Place baked Italian Christmas Cookies in a jar or tightly lidded container. They will remain moist and tender for a week as long as you keep them in a cool area in your pantry or counter. If your kitchen is warm, place them in the fridge instead. Note that the sprinkles may start to bleed the next day or two – avoid this by icing the cookies just before serving.

How to freeze: They can also be frozen for up to three months. Refrain from adding icing and sprinkles right away if you plan to freeze the cookies. Thaw them in the fridge overnight and let them come to room temperature for a few minutes before assembling and serving.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: italian christmas cookies, ricotta cookies, christmas cookies, italian cookies, cookies with ricotta

Italian Christmas Cookies (Ricotta Cookies) – Cookies  

In this space, I am always sharing flavorful, fresh, (mostly) healthy recipes that I love to make and eat in my real, actual, every day life. If I wouldn’t eat it in real life, I won’t put in on the blog. You’re cooking for yourself, your family, your roommates, or your friends. I want you to be so excited about these recipes that you eagerly await 5pm when you can go home from work and start cooking.

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