(Christmas) Italian Sugar Cookies

(Christmas) Italian Sugar Cookies | Very Culinary

by Amy Flanigan on December 7, 2012 · 21 comments

There has been a big ‘ol debate a brewin’ over here the past few weeks 8 years.

Fake tree or real tree.

Oh yes. Conversations have been had. Nasty words have been uttered. Tears shed. Fists have been thrown. Nights have been sleepless. 

Ah, I kid. Sort of. No fists, I swear. But boy, there is a divide. I even posed the question on Facebook and apparently the entire country is split! Can’t we all just get along?

Paul’s a purist, having grown up with a real tree. Not one ever the same, with that fresh pine smell. Authentic. I get it, I do. But I also loathe having to wait halfway into December to decorate OR buy too early and then spend weeks watering and cleaning up pine needles.

Well, I finally wore him down. As only I can. It’s a gift.

So, the tree went up last weekend. Yay! It’s sparkly and bright and fun. Aaaaaand, I made him Christmas cookies…so he’d stop crying ;-)

(Christmas) Italian Sugar Cookies
Makes 36
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Finish time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup shortening
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing
• 1/4 cup milk
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
• Red and green food coloring

Directions
Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour mixture until combined.

Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For icing, in a small bowl, combine the milk, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. Divide in half to two bowls and tint one bowl with the red food coloring, the other with the green. Dip the tops of cookies in icing; allow excess to drip off. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.

(originally from Taste of Home)

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie December 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Awwww, poor Paul. Maybe a good compromise would be a real tree every other year or somesuch? I definitely think there are good things and bad things about each. HOWEVER, I think cookies of any kind would make up for the sacrifice of a real tree. :)

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Julie December 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I’ve been having this debate (mostly with myself) for the last few years… ever since the Christmas when my tender hearted son cried when it was time to discard the bare, needle dropping, tree for the green waste to pick up. He was so incredibly sad that we were putting out the beloved tree that had filled out home with Christmas pine smell and held our collection of sparkly ornaments and twinkly lights. Bare, discarded, unappreciated… I can’t blame him. This year we bought one from Whole Foods. They plant 2 trees for every one they cut, which made me feel only a little bit better about it. (I may have to make a concentrated effort to shop Target’s clearance for a fake one for next year.)
The cookies look yummy! Sugar cookies without rolling out the dough?? I’m in!

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Julia December 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm

These cookies look delicious!! I have a fake tree …we travel for the holidays so we aren’t around to take care of a real one!

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Joanne December 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm

The.Boy. and I had this argument, I mean, err…discussion…the other day. I’m the purist. I won, obviously. I know how to get my way. :P

(and yeah…maybe it involves cookies :P)

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Rachel December 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Shawn and I got a fake tree last year, after a little protest from me, because I did grow up with real trees, but Shawn hates the watering and cleaning up (which is odd because might I add that Shawn DOESN’T CLEAN so I end up doing it anyway!).

But I caved in because it does look nice and clean and symmetrical, and yes, no pine needles or sap, that is nice!

I’ve been on the hunt for a GOOD sugar-ish Xmas cookie, so I am curious to try these! xo

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Heather @ SugarDish(Me) December 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

We’ve always had a real tree, BUT!! Let me share with you something I learned in recent years when we started buying our trees from a local nursery: the earlier you buy the better. If you wait with a real tree they WILL make a mess and drop needles like craaaayzee because they were likely cut at the start of the month anyway. Buy early put em in water within the hour and blam-o! Mess-free Compromise.
I’ve been seeking out Christmas cookies all day. These are festive!! Making.

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Cher December 7, 2012 at 11:39 am

Yahoo! You’re one of US now! LOL You won’t regret it. Neither will Paul in a few years. : )

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Amy December 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I promised him I’d see The Expendables. And make him Bacon and Cheese soup. He’s no longer fetal.

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kari December 7, 2012 at 11:31 am

Oh, and I menat to add that I grew making these with a cousin who’s Noni was Italian. The only difference is she used Anise extract.

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kari December 7, 2012 at 11:30 am

Living out here in the Northern Steppes of the US (North Iowa) it would be useless to have a Live tree. As cold and dry as it it, it’s brown and crispy within 36 hours of bringing it home.
We have survived the last 10 years with a beautiful “life-like” tree that is perfect. It even has a “real” tree trunk. DH doesn’t even take it apart anymore. He just lugs it in one peiece down to it’s storage area in the basement-easy~peasy!

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Amy December 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm

It was interesting to me, as I watched him “build” it…that he needed to put it together. Like “duh. of course he does. how else could they get it in that small box?” We’ll need to disassemble it, though. No basements in CA.

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Paul December 7, 2012 at 10:40 am

Re: Tree: Whatevs.

Re: Cookies: Oh. Dio. Mio.

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Amy December 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm

toldya you’d get over it…

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Jay December 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

Just buy one of those pine scented tree shaped air fresheners to hang on the tree and Paul may be a little happier.

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Amy December 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm

He hates scented candles, so I actually think that would make matters worse!

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Tomi Radke December 7, 2012 at 9:32 am

Amy, these cookies look delicious! Somehow I was elected to carry on Gramma Edyth’s Christmas cookies recipe tradition and everyone loves them!

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Jen December 7, 2012 at 9:45 am

Oh yes! Grandma’s cookies are delish. These look super easy and yummy, too, though…which means I may just have to make them. :o)

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Melissa December 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

Hooray for the fake trees! Sayeth the neat freaks. :D

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Amy December 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

*high five*

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kristy @ the wicked noodle December 7, 2012 at 6:05 am

Nooooooo!!! I’m a purist, too. I might need some of these yummy cookies, too. Wait – I have a real tree! Still, you should probably send me some, just in case ;-)

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Amy December 7, 2012 at 7:59 am

I told Paul if he reeeaaalllly hates it, then we’ll go back to a real one next year. (But actually that’s a lie…just to make him feel better. Ssshh.)

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