Christmas Italian Recipe Italian Cookies Recipe


Even the most old-school nonna (that’s grandma in Italian!) turns to shortcuts from time to time, especially if she’s got a whole lot of cooking ahead of her.

Nonna’s Shortcut Ricotta Cookies are so good, no one can even tell they were made using a shortcut.

They might just become one of the most anticipated cookies on your Christmas cookie platter! 

Makes 36 (about 3 dozen)


  • 1 (15.25) package white cake mix
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoons anise extract, divided
  • 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup holiday nonpareils for decorating



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cake mix, ricotta cheese, butter, egg, and 1 teaspoon anise extract until thoroughly combined. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
  3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon anise extract until smooth. Spoon glaze over cookies, then immediately decorate with nonpareils.



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