Italian Butter Cookies

My husband grew up in Southern Italy, where we met just after high school, (that is a story for another day). He and I got married on May 18. That August, when we were done with school, we flew to Italy to celebrate our marriage with his family and friends.

We stayed in Italy for a month, celebrating our marriage and visiting with friends and family. Southern Italians are very hospitable. Hospitable to the point that we could not visit someone without having been offered coffee, liquor and something to eat. During our month in Italy we were guests at almost every meal. And there was always So. Much. Food! I had not yet learned the art of turning down food here in Italy, and ever afraid that I might offend someone, I may have gained 10 pounds during our month here in Italy! The food was amazing… but it was a lot of it!

Every morning when we would go and visit friends for a coffee and a long chat in Italian, which I spoke very little of at that point. One of the things that they offered frequently were sugar cookies. Sugar cookies dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles! They were deliciously addictive and one of the first recipes that I wanted to try and duplicate. They call them butter cookies in Italy, which I am sure is an accurate description, but I personally prefer the name sugar cookies- somehow it seems slightly healthier!?

To make your own Italian butter cookies: Start by measuring your dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Flour, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside.

Measure your butter into the mixer. Make sure to use room temperature butter. Beat for 2 minutes, or just until blended.

To add 1 and 1/2 eggs: Add the first egg and beat just until blended. Crack the second egg into a small bowl and beat well, until the white and yellow are completely blended. Measure the total amount of tablespoons contained in your beaten egg, and add 1/2 of the total to your recipe. It should be approximately 2 tablespoons. Beat just until blended.

Add the vanilla and beat until blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Do not over mix. When the ingredients are blended, chill the dough for an hour in the fridge.

Lay out parchment paper or a silicone mat. Lightly sprinkle with flour. Keep a bowl with flour handy to add a little to your mat as you go, as well as to your cookie cutters and a rolling pin. Kneed your dough out first and then roll it out with a rolling pin. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Place your finished cookies on a cookie sheet prepared with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Allow them to cool completely.

While they are cooling melt your chocolate. Dip the cookie in the chocolate and set it on a fresh sheet of wax paper to dry. While it is drying, sprinkle the chocolate dipped end with non pareils. Allow the chocolate to set.

Enjoy! This is such an easy, fun activity to do with kiddos. They love to cut out the shapes, and older kids will have a blast dipping cookies and sprinkling them. We love to make them during the holidays… pumpkins for Thanksgiving, trees and snowflakes for Christmas, and hearts for Valentines day. It is a fun way to make memories with your kids.

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