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Italian Wedding Cookies

These look like they came straight from a fancy bakery!

Dessert at a wedding is often a sheet cake or a multi-tiered cake with a little bride and groom set at the top. Modern weddings like to shake up a stuffy old cake tradition by serving cupcakes, cake pops, or other more trendy sweet treats. A few months ago, we attended the wedding for the daughter of a family friend. At the reception, we couldn’t get enough of one particular dessert item: Italian wedding cookies. The recipe, but more importantly the process to make these cookies is steeped in family history and tradition. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts and cousins have, for generations, prepared dozens upon dozens of these traditional cookies for a couple as they celebrate their “I dos”.

These cookies are probably familiar to any tea-lover out there; the crumbly, slightly sweet and buttery cookie is the perfect partner to a warm cup of tea. These bite-sized cookies are the perfect finger-food to accompany a tea sandwich. Whether you’re preparing for a wedding feast or hosting a tea party, these cookies are a great way to celebrate the occasion. A few simple pantry items are all that’s needed to bake these delicate and delicious cookies.

Italian wedding cookies are simple yet elegant, not too sweet, with a subtle nuttiness from the ground almonds, which add depth of flavor and great texture to the cookies. These are the type of cookie that looks fancy, as though they came from a bakery, but their elegant appearance is due to a delicate dusting of powdered sugar, which makes every dessert look extra special. Place a heaping mound of cookies on top of a serving platter, or package in a tin lined with wax paper to give as a gift (Italian wedding cookies store well and freeze beautifully). From a book club or a church picnic to a tea party for our kids and their friends, these cookies are a delicious way to serve up something sweet, regardless of the occasion.

Serves 4 dozen cookies

40 minutes

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups almonds, finely ground
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Cream butter, ¾ cup sugar and salt in a bowl until fluffy.
  3. Add ground almonds and vanilla extract; blend until incorporated.
  4. Slowly add flour and mix until dough forms.
  5. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Bake on parchment lined cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before rolling in a bowl filled with ¾ cup powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from For the Feast