Italian wedding cookies are a delightful treat that are surprisingly very easy to make. These cookies are famous for their soft, buttery texture and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. They are perfect for any occasion, including weddings, bridal showers, or when you want to treat yourself to a mood-boosting cookie delivery.
But how do you make these delectable cookies to make sure they steal the show? Read on and find the ultimate Italian wedding cookie recipe that is bound to become a favorite for any event.
What Are Italian Wedding Cookies?
Italian wedding cookies, also known as Italian wedding cakes, Russian tea cakes, or Mexican wedding cookies, have a long and fascinating history. Despite their name, these delicious treats are not explicitly associated with weddings in Italy, but rather they have become popular treats for various celebrations, including weddings.
These cookies are thought to have been introduced to medieval Europe by Arab traders during the Middle Ages. The Arab culinary tradition included various types of nut-filled pastries and sweets, which were highly valued for their taste and nutritional properties. As these treats made their way to Italy through trade, they underwent regional adaptations and became part of Italian culinary culture.
To make Italian wedding cookies, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
- 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar (for the finish)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, beat the softened butter, gradually adding 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and salt. Beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, which usually takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the ground almonds and vanilla extract to the mixture, and mix them in gently. Then, use a spatula to incorporate the sifted flour until a well-combined dough forms.
- Scoop teaspoonfuls of the dough and shape them into balls. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet, making sure to leave enough space between each cookie.
- Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are pale in color but not browned. Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Roll the slightly-cooled cookies in the remaining 1/3 cup of powdered sugar until they are fully coated.
- Serve and enjoy these delightful Italian wedding cookies!
Tips for Making the Best Italian Wedding Cookies
To ensure that your Italian wedding cookies turn out perfectly, here are some helpful tips:
- Consider toasting the almonds before grinding them to get a nuttier flavor. Simply place them on a baking sheet and bake them at 325°F for 8 to 10 minutes.
- If you prefer a more robust almond flavor, you can use almond extract instead of vanilla extract. Just be cautious, as almond extract can be quite potent.
- Use softened butter when making the dough to ensure it easily blends with the other ingredients and prevents clumping. If your butter is not softened, you can microwave it in 15-second increments until it reaches the desired consistency.
- The dough will be relatively thick, so it's best to use a stand or electric mixer to combine the ingredients. Also, when adding the flour, using a spatula is recommended to avoid overmixing.
- When shaping the dough into balls, you can use an ice cream scoop to ensure uniform cookie sizes. Keep the diameter of the balls under 1 inch to ensure even baking.
- Although the cookies do not spread much during baking, it's important to give them enough space on the cookie sheet so they maintain their shape.
- Coat the cookies in powdered sugar as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Once they have cooled completely, you can roll them in sugar again to achieve a beautiful snowball appearance.
How to Store Italian Wedding Cookies?
If you have any leftover cookies, you can store them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag for several days, usually up to a week. If you are stacking multiple layers of cookies in the container, it's a good idea to place a sheet of parchment paper between each layer. This will prevent the cookies from sticking together and getting damaged.
If you want to freeze the cookies, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer them to an airtight container or a freezer bag. Properly stored, they can last for up to 2 to 3 months in the freezer.
Italian wedding cookies are versatile and can be customized to suit different tastes and occasions. Here are some variations to consider when baking:
- Instead of ground almonds, you can use other nuts such as walnuts, macadamias, pistachios, pecans, or hazelnuts. Just make sure to finely grind them before adding them to the dough.
- For chocolate lovers, you can add chocolate chips to the dough or even stuff a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie for an extra burst of flavor.
- To give the cookies a seasonal twist, add cinnamon or pumpkin spice to the dough for a warm fall flavor. You can also roll the cookies in crushed candy canes instead of powdered sugar for a festive touch during the holidays.
- Traditional Italian wedding cookies are often coated with a sweet vanilla glaze and topped with rainbow nonpareils or sprinkles. To make the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, warm milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract until smooth. Glaze the cookies immediately after taking them out of the oven and allow the glaze to cool before adding the sprinkles.
The Bottom Line
Italian wedding cookies are a delightful treat that is perfect for any occasion. With their soft, buttery texture and delicate flavor, these cookies are sure to impress your family and friends. By following our easy recipe and helpful tips, you can easily recreate these delectable cookies in your own kitchen so, get ready for baking! And make sure you check out our favorite recipe for Danish wedding cookies for more delightful wedding cookie flavors!