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 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.
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.
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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 13 - 15 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly brown and the tops are dry and form slight cracks. 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.