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Authentic Italian Shortbread Cookies

Stacked Italian shortbread cookies on a grey plate with other cookies and almonds on background.

5 from 35 reviews

Enjoy this amazing recipe for Italian whipped shortbread cookies and make a batch this coming weekend. It requires 20 minutes of hands-on time to make the world's best butter cookies. They are just what you need for your cup of tea or coffee!


  • 4.4 oz (125 g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (125 g) powdered (icing) sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp (40 g) egg yolks (see note #1)
  • 3 1/3 tbsp (50 g) whole milk
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) baking powder
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • nuts, chocolate chips (optional)

* If needed, please refer to Baking Conversion Charts.


  1. In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, place softened butter and whip, gradually adding powdered (icing) sugar. Add scraped seeds of vanilla bean, lemon zest, salt and continue to whip until light and fluffy (about 10 minutes).

  2. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with milk, using a fork. In another bowl, sift half of the flour, using a flour sifter. Add egg yolks/milk mixture to the principal preparation, alternating with flour, and beat until well-combined after each addition.

  3. Sift the remaining flour with baking powder and combine with a rubber spatula, working from bottom to top.

  4. Transfer the cookie batter into a pastry bag with an open star pastry tip and pipe rings onto a baking sheet covered with parchment. Sprinkle cookies with nuts, chocolate chips, or leave them plain. Refrigerate the cookie sheet for about 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Bake cookies for about 13 to 15 minutes, until the cookie edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet. Sprinkle cookies with powdered (icing) sugar if you desire.



  1. 40 g egg yolks approximately equal 2 raw fresh egg yolks from extra large size chicken eggs.
  2. Whip the butter/sugar mixture for about 10 minutes to aerate the preparation. It is a mandatory step in making these cookies.
  3. Use a cookie press if you do not have a pastry bag with tip/s.
  4. Bake one cookie sheet at a time. In this case, you will avoid the burning of cookies placed on a lower rack.





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