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Italian Vanilla Butter Biscuits recipe

Italian Vanilla Butter Biscuits recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Biscuits and cookies

A simple, yet delicious sweet and buttery biscuit. Make sure you buy the best quality unsalted butter, it will really make the difference.

27 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 18

  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 375g plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease baking trays.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the creamed mixture until blended.
  3. Divide dough into walnut sized portions. Roll each piece into a rope and then shape into a loop. Place biscuits 5cm apart on the prepared baking trays.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm and golden at the edges.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

I love this recipe, it was fast and fantastic. I made 34 cookies with this recipe and they were big enough. I definitely will be making these again, possibly with almond instead of vanilla-09 Dec 2012

Italian Cookies (Vanilla or Anisette)

Behold, my favorite cookies of all time. I can almost smell their aroma through the screen!

The scent is vanilla, by the way, because that's my preference. But if you're a fan of the black-licorice taste of anise, you can make anise cookies. I've included both variations in the recipe.

Just about every Italian family has its own version of these cookies, known as "biscotti." (That simply means "cookies" in Italian.)

I'm sharing an adaptation of Mom's recipe, based on how she used to make them when I was a child. The result is fluffy, tender cookies with a cake-like texture, thanks to the half and half in the dough.

I like to think of them as Italian sugar cookies!

Recipe Summary

  • 12 ounces butter
  • 1 ¾ cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 ounces chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 165 degrees C ).

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time beat until fluffy. Stir in the anise and vanilla extracts. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt Add them to the egg mixture along with the chopped almonds. Stir with a spoon and as the dough comes together, Knead by hand.

Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each piece into a log about 15 inches long. Place logs onto cookie sheets, 2 to a sheet, the long way. Flatten the logs out until they are about 3 inches wide with a slight hump going down the middle. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, loaves should be firm. Cut the loaves into diagonal slices 1/2 inch wide, place the slices onto the cookie sheets and return to the oven. Toast on one side, then turn them over to do the other side. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • About 1 cup rainbow sprinkles

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, oil, sugar, and confectioners sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix just until dough comes together. Dough will be very soft but wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Adjust oven rack to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Fill a shallow bowl with sprinkles. Use a 2-ounce cookie scoop (or a rounded tablespoon) to form cookies into balls. Roll each ball in sprinkles to cover then transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake until cookies are golden at the edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Tips + Variations

We prefer almond extract and used that for these cookies, but can you also use vanilla or anise instead.

If cookies end up being flat it is probably because the levitating ingredients weren’t sufficient. Try using less flour next time, the dough may have been too heavy for the egg, oil, and baking powder to lift.

Make sure to let the glaze dry/harden a little bit before adding the sprinkles on top. Having the glaze be kind of “tacky” will help the sprinkles stick to the cookies better, rather than just having the glaze and the sprinkles fall off the cookies.

Use pastel sprinkles, they bleed color less

  • Add about 2 cups of chopped nuts into the dough (almonds preferably)
  • Top the cookies with sugar crystals

SToring Info

These cookies can be made ahead of time. FREEZE them without the glaze, and add it the day you serve them. Just let them thaw completely before glazing.

M ake the glaze up to 5 days ahead of time. You will need to bring the glaze to room temperature before trying to dip the cookies in it.

STORE in an air tight container at room temp for up to a week.

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (if salted butter is used omit the pinch of salt)
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • glace cherry halves

Step 1

In an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until really fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. (if you want colored cookies add apporx. 6 drops of food coloring now)

With mixer on low speed add sifted flour, baking powder and salt (yup - you really HAVE to sift for this recipe or else you will get clumping!) STOP mixing once the ingredients are just blended. OVER MIXING will make the dough too stiff.

Using a pastry bag with a large tip (or a cookie press)place cookies onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. If desired place a cherry half in the center of each cookie before baking.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Usign a spatula lift cookies onto cooling racks. Cool completely then store in air tight container.

Vanilla Biscotti

It's a rare recipe that can be all things to most people, but this cookie does so admirably. As written, it's a study in satisfying textures, rich with vanilla and, due to its sturdy texture, excellent for dunking.


  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter
  • 2/3 cup (131g) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • white chocolate for dipping, optional


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a biscotti pan, or line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the flour and mix at low speed until the mixture is smooth the dough will be sticky.

Scoop half the dough onto one side of the prepared pan and, using wet hands, pat it into a 10” x 2” rectangle it should be about 1” thick. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and let cool for 25 to 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board and use a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water to lightly spritz them. Wait 5 minutes before using a serrated knife to slice biscotti 1/2” to 3/4” wide. Take care to draw the knife back and forth through the baked log instead of pressing down. Slicing this way will prevent the biscotti from crumbling.

Return the slices to the baking sheet, standing them up with 1/2” between them, so air can circulate around them. Bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until dry and golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Dip the biscotti in melted white chocolate, if desired.

Store airtight at room temperature they'll stay good for weeks.

Tips from our Bakers

Looking for a gluten-free version of this recipe? Find it here: Gluten-Free Vanilla Biscotti.

Italian Spumoni Cookies

Here’s the deal: I have clipped countless recipes for icebox cookies and shortbread cookies with colorful ribbons, stripes, and patterns, but I’ve never really made them. I’ve made A LOT of baked goods over the years, and some of them were quite complicated. Yet, I’ve always found it intimidating to make patterned shortbread cookies like these checkerboards, these pinwheels, or these Neapolitans slices. I don’t know why I find them so daunting. I’ve made far more complicated candies, truffles, souffles, and heck, I’ve even taken cake decorating classes, but a simple slice-and-bake cookie was confounding me. It was time to get over it. I finally conquered my pathetic fear of fancy shortbread cookies and tested the waters. I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? Just a recipe flop. And that’s not so bad. It’s happened many times before! Luckily, they weren’t a baking failure and turned out GREAT.

I opted to venture into the world of colorful, layered shortbread cookies with a rendition of Italian Spumoni cookies. In typical fashion, I took approximately four different recipes for Italian Spumoni cookies, plucked my favorite bits from each, and smashed them all into one. After several batches of trial and error, I landed on this particular version. They are a keeper. They’re rich, buttery, and delicate. These meld together the three traditional flavors of Spumoni ice cream: cherry, vanilla, and pistachio. Gaaah. The flavors blend together so perfectly. My S.O.’s stepfather is quite a foodie and we’ve had a number of family dinners where his love of Spumoni has been a hot topic of conversation! I can’t wait for him to try these. And you too, my friends! I hope you enjoy them!

Italian Spumoni Cookies:

1/3 c. chopped maraschino cherries, drained

2-3 drops red food coloring

1/3 c. chopped pistachio nuts

3 tbsp. pistachio pudding mix

2-3 drops green food coloring

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, egg, and the extracts. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until well-blended. Divide dough into thirds. Add chopped maraschino cherries and red food coloring to one of the thirds. Mix well by hand. Add pistachio nuts, pistachio pudding mix, and green food coloring to another third of the dough. Mix well by hand. Shape each third of dough on separate sheets of lightly floured wax paper into logs approximately 1 1/2 inch in diameter and approximately 16 inches long. Flatten each log into a rectangle approximately 3-4 inches wide. You will have 3 rectangles of 4同. Layer the dough on a single piece of plastic food wrap by lining up the rectangles and flipping them one on top of the other. Start with pistachio as the bottom layer, flip the plain layer on top of pistachio, and flip the maraschino cherry layer on top of the plain layer. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

Cut the rectangle widthwise with a sharp knife into 1/4 inch slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Cool completely.

Our Italian Kitchen

As long as I can remember I have had a love for these cookies. It's truly closer to an obsession. Like I could eat a lot of them. Especially the chocolate dipped shells and the sandwich ones! When I was little, my Dad took me to this adorable bakery every Sunday after church and let me get four cookies of my choosing. And every week I got some variation of these cookies! It was my special father-daughter date time with Daddy. We would drive home from church while I munched on the cookies and I would just yap on and on about life while my dad just listened. It's still one of my all time favorite memories. The bakery closed many years ago and last month it was knocked down. But even now when I drive by all I think about is driving home from church with my Dad and my cookies.

So after years of searching and trying out recipes, I found a fantastic recipe which is as close as possible to the cookies from this bakery. They are simple butter cookies that start with an almond paste base. You can find them at almost any bakery in NJ or NY, but I have never mastered them myself until recently. And I have the approval of one of my best friends, who is also addicted to these cookies, and from everyone at the bridal shower of a close friend, so they were a total hit!

The real difference I learned with other recipes and attempts was whether to use butter or shortening. It ends up the recipe I found uses both, butter and shortening, as well as almond paste to make a great mixture of flavor and texture. This cookie is both crumbly but not too dry and just melts in your mouth. Hope you love these as much as I do!

For this month's What's Baking challenge, Nicole, from Seven ate Nine, choose Italian theme and I was thrilled! Being fully Italian and growing up cooking, eating, and loving all things Italian, this is my favorite challenge yet. So I am here to share the best Italian butter cookie recipe I have found! Mangia!

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup plus 2 tbsp confectioners' sugar (sifted)
4 egg whites
3 oz almond paste
pinch of salt
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)

Optional toppings and decorations:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped and 1/3 cup heavy cream (for making ganache)
maraschino cherries, drained and cut in half

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat just the almond paste on medium high until it becomes soft. (Wish I had the homemade kind, but I just used the canned one) Then add the butter and shortening and continue to cream them all together. *It is important that the butter is room temp

2. Add in the confectioners' sugar while mixing on medium to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Continue by adding in egg whites and extracts slowly and keep mixing on medium. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

4. Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) together in the mixer until blended in and stop. If you would like all or part of your dough to be chocolate, add in cocoa powder. I made half of mine chocolate and kept half vanilla.

5. Fit pastry bag with a large star tip and fill with dough. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Begin to pipe star, shells, or fingers. Try to keep your baking sheets with similar shapes to not alter cooking time, because the thicker and bigger cookies will of course bake slightly longer.
*If making star/rosette shapes cookies, you can add a maraschino cherry to the center of each cookie or cover with sprinkles.

6. Bake cookies in 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove from sheets and let completely cool on drying racks.

7. Now onto decorating, the fun part! For the star/rosette cookies they were decorated before baking with sprinkles or a cherry. The fingers are traditionally done with either jam or chocolate ganache filling, but feel free to experiment with your own ideas. I used a raspberry preserve in a ziploc bag with a small cut on the tip to fill the vanilla fingers. Just squeeze the jam in the middle of the flat side of the cookie and then place another flat side down on top to make a sandwich. For the chocolate fingers, I used chocolate ganache. It is made my simply heating whipping cream in microwave for approx. 2-3 minutes until hot then pouring over chopped chocolate. Allow it to sit for 4 minutes then stir until smooth and thick. Using a spoon, I spread the ganache in the middle of the finger cookie and top some of the vanilla finger cookies. The shells are simply dipped in the remaining ganache and then sprinkled. Allow all the cookies with ganache to set fully.

My favorites were the vanilla shells with ganache and sprinkles, vanilla fingers with raspberry jam, chocolate fingers
with chocolate ganache, and chocolate rosettes with maraschino cherries. Enjoy! What are your favorite kinds! If you make a variation of this recipe or try new shapes and toppings, please share them! I love to see new inventions of old favorites. My next project, might be cream cheese (cheesecake like) filling.