These Italian Butter Cookies are a delectable holiday treat. Rich and buttery, their delicate texture melts in your mouth. The sweet jam filling adds an extra layer of flavor, while the chocolate coating adds a smooth and creamy finish. So delicious, one bite won't be enough!
To pair alongside these Italian Butter Cookies, you might consider fresh seasonal fruit, a light and creamy custard – such as our Creamy Rum Rice Pudding or a scoop of rich and creamy No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream. For a festive twist, you could also serve a variety of sweet jams and preserves for guests to spread on their cookies - allowing them to mix and match with the jam filling!
Now, without further delay, let’s bake some cookies!
- Shortening. I’m using vegetable shortening. Yes, this is in addition to the butter.
- Butter. The ‘workhorse ingredient’ of most baked goods. Butter adds flavor and richness. In cookies, it helps to create a ‘tender texture,’ while browning and crisping the exterior. It also works to keep them moist.
- Sugar. Plain granulated sugar is all you’re looking for here.
- Eggs. These are a binding agent, as they help to hold ingredients together. Additionally, eggs help to add structure, texture, and flavor to baked goods. Curiously, eggs play a secondary role as a leavening agent by providing ‘lift’ as the cookies bake. The more you know.
- Vanilla. I’m using vanilla extra, but pods or paste will work just fine. These substitute at a one-to-on ratio by volume.
- Flour. I’m using all-purpose, simply because we want these cookies to be slightly ‘heavier.’ Baking Flour would result in a markedly light, less dense cookie.
- Baking Powder. This is a two-phase leavening agent, and the recipe simply doesn’t work without it.
- Salt. Plain table salt is all you’re looking for.
- Sprinkles. Mostly for eye appeal, but these do add a nice crunch.
- Powdered Sugar. Again, mostly for eye appeal.
- Dark Chocolate. For making the chocolate coating.
- Raspberry Jam. Your choice of jam filling. I’m raspberry since I find the slightly ‘tart’ flavor contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the cookies.
Jam vs Preserves vs Jelly – Which to Use for Cookies?
I strongly suggest jam or preserves, and here's why.
To start, jam is made from fruit and sugar that is cooked until thickened, while preserves are made from whole or large pieces of fruit, cooked with sugar and set into a thick, jelly-like consistency. By contrast, jelly is made from fruit juice, sugar and pectin, which is cooked and then set into a jelly-like consistency.
That structural difference is why I suggest using jam or preserves. Jelly is looser and contains more water. As such, both jam and preserves will solidify better between the cookies, leaking far less – and melting much less if you decide to assemble the cookies while they are still warm. I also find that the chunks of fruit add a nice texture contrast to the cookies.
Seven Tips for Baking These (Or Any!) Cookies
- Make sure to use room temperature butter for soft, chewy cookies.
- Measure your ingredients accurately for consistent results. Inaccurate, or poorly scaled measurements can result in ‘baking catastrophes’ – such as cakes that refuse to rise, or poorly textured cookies.
- Chill the cookie dough before baking for a thicker, chewier cookie.
- Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for even baking. This reduces ‘hotspots’ on the baking sheet, and ensures the cookies don’t stick.
- Use an ice cream scooper (or a leveled tablespoon) to get evenly sized cookies. Evenly sized cookies ensures even baking throughout the entire batch.
- Don't overbake the cookies. Cookies should still be quite ‘soft’ when removed from the oven, and then removed ‘immediately’ from the baking sheet (as the sheet will continue baking them even outside of the oven).
- Let the cookies cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
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