Roll out these simple, traditional favorites from an Italian grandmom.
Before writing this, I scoured Google — or at least, went to page 2 — searching for the official Italian name of these wonderful little soft Italian sprinkle cookies. I came up empty handed. Other sites called them generic names like “Italian Sprinkle Cookies” or “Italian Cookies.” (If anyone has any insight, let me know below in the comments. Meanwhile, I am keeping the name we all grew up calling them: Grandmom’s Cookies.)
In my family, we call them “Grandmom’s Cookies” because the recipe was passed down, without name, from my mother’s mother. She probably got it from her mother’s mother. My great-grandmother settled in Philadelphia from Calabria to raise a family in a new world.
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Recipe Notes: Soft Italian Sprinkle Cookies
These happy little rounds of rainbow-sprinkled vanilla goodness have a special, sentimental spot in my family. They make an appearance at almost everything, from Easter to Christmas Eve to birthday parties. You just expect them to be there as part of the mix — like if one of my cousins happened to be a cookie.
But you don’t need to be sentimental to appreciate these cookies. Grandmom’s cookies are simple to make: Just mix, bake, glaze, and eat. They are also so happy looking, with a soft, chewy texture that goes perfectly with a hot cup of tea or a cold glass of milk.
Do you have an old family cookie recipe? Tell us about it in the comments, below.
Soft Italian Sprinkle Cookies
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. neutral oil, such as canola
- 3 room-temperature eggs
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- pinch Kosher salt
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1/8 c. milk
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- rainbow sprinkles
- Heat the oven to 350? and prepare two lined cookie sheets or baking pans.
- Cream sugar and oil until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and salt. Mix until evenly combined, scraping bowl to make sure.
- Add flour and baking powder, and mix on low just until combined evenly. The dough will be thick and tacky and hold its shape.
- Using a spoon or cookie scoop, scoop and then shape dough with the palms of your hands into 1 tbsp. rounds. They won’t spread -- just puff a little -- so you can put a fair number of cookie balls on each sheet. Just leave about an inch of space between each for air flow.
- Bake 12 to 14 minutes, until the bottoms are very lightly brown and the tops are dry and form slight cracks. These can go from cakey to dry very easily, so do not overbake.While the cookies are baking, make the glaze and get out your rainbow sprinkles.PRO TIP: The bottoms may not brown if you’re baking on Silpats because of the insulation from the silicone. They’re done, though!
- Make the glaze by whisking together in a small bowl the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth.
- While still warm, dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze and place them on a cooling rack. Sprinkle lightly with rainbow sprinkles while the glaze is still wet.
PRO TIP: Put a sheet of wax paper beneath the cooling rack. The glaze will drip down as it sets, and this makes clean up much easier.
Before I jump in, is this a sturdy cookie with a hard glaze suitable for shipping? They’re so beautiful ??
Hi, Jeanette! Good question. While they are a sturdy cooking, they are fairly soft and have a bit lower fat content than other cookies, so they turn stale a little quickly. For shipping, I tend to bake shortbread cookies. These pecan shortbread cookies are fantastic, and these slice-and-bake butter cookies are also a plain vanilla-style cookie, and look so cute rolled in sprinkles. Hope this helps!
These are sometimes called thadalies. Yours must be the 30th recipe I’ve tried as I’m wanting to duplicate the “knot cookies” from Louie’s Bakery in Allentown, PA – my absolute favorite. Still not it as the texture of yours is a bit too soft for what I’m seeking. I”ve tried recipes with butter, oil, margarine, shortening, combination of fats and still can’t find what I wan. I”m adding your recipe to my collection as it is slightly different from the many I’ve tried. Thank you.
My grandmother was also from Calabria! (now I’m the grandma— haha) We made these every Christmas . We’d add almond extract to the icing. And the decor had to be those tiny colored balls rather than sprinkles. I still make them and we all love them!
The memories are as wonderful as the cookies, don’t you think ?
PS— your recipes are awesome!
Hi, Julie! I am so glad that you wrote and shared this! How wonderful to share our Calabrian heritage. (I am told that’s where I get my spicy mood from. haha) You are so right about the tiny colored balls! That is what we always use; nothing else would look quite right, would it? And you are right about the memories. I have memories making these (and stealing bites of cookie dough) with my mom when I was little, and eating them at so many parties and events. Thank you again for sharing this, and for the kind words! Glad you’re enjoying the recipes 🙂
My grandmother got a recipe for these cookies almost 75 years ago. We made them every Easter and Christmastime. They were called Anginettes, by her very old Italian friend. We use anise in the cookie recipe, and also in the icing recipe. They’re delicious!!
Oh wow, I love hearing this. What a wonderful family recipe to have. That’s primarily when we make them in my family as well. When I think of anise in cookies, I think of pizzelles, but it would taste so good in these, too. I’m going to try that next time.
About to use these for our school’s culture fair. I hope these are good!
I have a very similar recipe for Angelleti cookies. Oil is replaced with 1/2 cup of butter, vanilla decreased to 1 1/2 teaspoons and 1/4 cup addition of whole milk. Let dough stand for 5 minutes before shaping into balls with floured hands. Bake in 375 degree oven for 7-8 minutes. Glaze is lighter and transparent almost – 2 cups of confectioners sugar plus 3 1/2 tablespoons of water.
These cookies looked good but I found them to be dry. I am going to try your recipe with butter.
Hi! Thanks for the feedback. I agree that these can come out dry. There is a razor-thin line between moist and dry with these, I think because the recipe has less fat overall than other cookies, which gives them more of a cakey texture. I am going to adjust the baking time down a bit; I appreciate your telling me your results! Keep me posted with the butter!
These sound delicious, and yes, very much in the same vein! Thanks for the recipe, too. I have to make these!
These are so cute and satisfying/soft. Good for kids.