These were always one of my favorite cookies as a kid. They're dense, crumbly cookies that are only slightly sweet. The sweet frosting on top is a necessity, and the colorful sprinkles add a little crunch. Whether you make them with anise or lemon, they are so good and the flavors shine through. I couldn't believe how easy these were to make! Since this is my first year baking them I had no idea what the recipe would be like. These literally contain butter, eggs, sugar, and flour (and a little flavoring). There's no baking soda, no chilling in the fridge, no shaping. They're so easy, so simple, so plain, but soooo good. I made a bunch in different colors to give out in my cookie boxes, but I think I'll keep them for myself. ;) Happy Holidays!! <3
Here's a tip - 1: These cookies don't rise at all, so there's no need to leave a huge amount of space between cookies. 2: Round the tops of the cookies nicely since the shape you put on the cookie sheet is the same shape your cookies will be. 3: If you're looking for a buttercream to use for these (I don't use a recipe) cream together 1 stick of butter with a few cups of powdered sugar and dribbles of milk until you get a thick, but spreadable, consistency. Then add in your extract and food coloring.
Italian Sprinkle Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 tbl pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp anise extract
3 1/2 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and anise extract and beat to combine. Slowly add in the flour on low speed and beat until incorporated. You'll have a thick dough-like batter. Drop in rounded tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Cool completely. Top with a plain buttercream frosting flavored with anise extract and various food coloring. Top with plenty of sprinkles!
Lemon variation: Omit the anise extract. After baking, frost with a plain buttercream flavored with lemon extract and yellow food coloring. Sprinkle!
Makes about 40 cookies.
Source: Family recipe!