Italian Sugar Cookies

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Preparation info

  • Makes

    3 dozen

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

In visiting pastry shops in Italy over the course of the past twenty-odd years, I have seen hundreds of varieties of biscotti made from pasta frolla. Usually cut into rounds, ovals, and crescents after being rolled out, the biscotti are baked to a light golden color. Sometimes they have a little icing on top, or two of them are sandwiched around jam or chocolate. The following are several variations, all using a pasta frolla designed especially for cookies.


    Pasta Frolla

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

    Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch salt


Combine the flour and confectioners’ sugar and sift into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter in by hand, making sure the mixture remains dry and powdery and does not become pasty. Beat the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and milk together with a fork and stir into the flour mixture to form a dough. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it; knead lightly, folding the dough over on itself 3 or 4 times. Wrap in plastic and chill.

Roll the dough out inch thick and pierce it at -inch intervals with a fork. Cut into rounds, ovals, or crescents with a fluted cutter. Transfer the cookies to a paper-lined cookie sheet. For the egg wash, whisk the egg and salt together until very liquid and brush on the cookies. Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes, until pale golden. Cool on the pan.


To finish the cookies, dust them with confectioners’ sugar or cover them with a thin icing made from cups confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons milk, coffee, or liqueur, heated slightly and brushed on the cookies.

Or sandwich the cookies around 1 cup apricot preserves that have been heated, strained, and reduced until sticky, brushing the glaze on one cookie and then pressing two cookies together.

Or melt 6 ounces semisweet chocolate with 4 tablespoons butter, cool to spreading consistency, and sandwich the cookies around the chocolate filling.