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Italian Chocolate Cookies

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These Italian chocolate cookies are perfect for the holiday season. Moist and tender on the inside, lightly crispy and crackled on the outside, spiked with walnuts, and with just a touch of icing on top.

many italian cookies with chocolate, walnuts and glaze on a wire rack.

The Italian chocolate cookies are my favorite chocolate cookies, I’ve been making them for years now, and they are always gone in just a couple of days.

The texture contrast between the tender, moist center, the crispy exterior, and the crunchy walnut bits makes them irresistible. They are decently sweet cookies, and that’s always a winner in my books!

And they are super easy and quick to make, not just something for special occasions, but so good and easy you will make them all the time. All you need to make this Italian chocolate cookie recipe are a few simple ingredients and about 30 minutes of your time.

And if you like chocolate cookies, check out the Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and the Argentinian Alfajores with Nutella.

Recipe ingredients

ingredients for making chocolate cookies with walnuts in many small bowls on a baking tray.
  • All-purpose flour (plain flour), baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
  • Cocoa powder: Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Sugar: Brown and white sugar. And extra confectioner’s sugar for the icing. Confectioners’ sugar, icing sugar, and powdered sugar are all the same kind of sugar.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter with 82% fat is best (European-style butter). Please don’t use low-fat butter to make any cookies unless they have been specially developed to work when made with lower-fat butter.
  • One large egg at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract for extra flavor.
  • Walnuts are the standard for me, but any other nuts you like are fine. You can use pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, and so on. And if you don’t want to use any nuts, leave them out or replace them with chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, or other chopped dried fruit.
  • For the simple glaze: confectioners’ sugar, a little milk, and some sprinkles for the icing. This step is optional; the Italian chocolate cookies are also delicious without the topping.
two chocolate cookies, one split in the middle stacked on each other.

How to make Italian chocolate cookies?

  • Preheat the oven to 360°F/180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Please leave it to cool slightly while you prepare the rest.
  • Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder) in a medium bowl. Set them aside.
  • Cream the brown sugar, the granulated white sugar, and the egg in a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract as well. You can use an electric mixer or the stand mixer (1).
  • Alternating, add the melted and cooled butter and the flour mixture to the beaten egg and sugar mixture. Do this in a couple of batches, mixing well in between (2). The resulting cookie dough will be smooth, dense, and slightly sticky (3).
  • Chop the walnuts and sprinkle them on top of the dough. Mix them with a wooden spoon or hand, ensuring they are evenly distributed in the dough (4).
collage of two pictures of stirring dough for making chocolate cookies in a bowl.
collage of two pictures of making chocolate cookie dough in a bowl.
  • Form about 30 balls and place them on the lined cookie sheet leaving enough place between them as they will spread (5).
  • Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Leave them on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely (6).
collage of two pictures of italian chocolate cookies before and after baking.
  • Make the glaze: Once they are cool, mix the icing sugar and the milk in a small bowl.
  • Decorate Italian chocolate cookies: Sprinkle the glaze on top of each cookie, and then add some candy sprinkles (7).
many cookies on a baking sheet drizzled with glaze and sprinkled with sprinkles.

Expert Tips

  • Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it guarantees the best results (Amazon affiliate link). In this case, I measured the flour in cups and had 1 ½ cups. However, this result might be different when another person is measuring.
  • If the dough is too sticky when you roll the balls, flour your hand lightly after every 3-4 cookies you roll.
  • You can simultaneously bake both trays of chocolate cookies in a fan-forced or fan-assisted oven. In this case, preheat the oven to 320°F/ 160°C.

Recipe FAQ

Can I add anything?

For more chocolate flavor, you can replace all the nuts or half of them with chocolate chips. You can make the cookies with chopped dried fruit instead of nuts (raisins, cranberries, apricots, cherries, and so on).

How long do the cookies last?

Keep the Italian cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They will become crispier the longer they are kept.

Can I freeze them?

Freeze the Italian holiday cookies for about two months. It’s preferable to freeze uniced cookies. Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Once solid, transfer them to a freezer container or freezer bag. Defrost on the counter.
Freeze the dough for up to two months.

chocolate cookies with walnuts and icing on a wire rack.

More easy recipes for Christmas cookies

Do you like this recipe?

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many italian cookies with chocolate, walnuts and glaze on a wire rack.

Italian Chocolate Cookies

These Italian chocolate cookies are perfect for the holiday season. Moist and tender on the inside, lightly crispy and crackled on the outside, spiked with walnuts, and with just a touch of icing on top.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 30
Calories: 104kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or hand-held mixer

Ingredients 

  • 125 g unsalted butter 1 stick + 1 tablespoon, Notes 1, 2
  • 200 g all-purpose flour 1 ½ cups, Note 1
  • 30 g unsweetened cocoa powder ¼ cup
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100 g light brown sugar ½ cup
  • 100 g granulated sugar ½ cup
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 75 g walnuts ½ cup chopped , Note 3
  • 100 g confectioners’ sugar 1 cup, Note 4
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 360°F/180°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (Note 5).
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan (or the microwave). Leave to cool slightly until needed.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder in a bowl. Set them aside.
  • Beat brown sugar, granulated white sugar, and egg in a large bowl until creamy. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Alternating, add the melted and cooled butter and the flour mixture to the sugar-egg mixture and mix well. The dough will be smooth, dense, and slightly sticky.
  • Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the dough. Mix them with a spoon or hand, ensuring they are evenly distributed in the dough.
  • Form about 30 balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheets leaving enough place between them (they will spread).
  • Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Leave them on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes until they are firm enough to move, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Glaze: Mix the confectioners’ sugar and ½ tablespoon milk in a small bowl to form a paste. Add a tiny bit more milk if necessary to obtain the desired consistency, a thick yet pourable paste.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate cookies with the glaze (use a teaspoon) and then with the sprinkles.

Notes

  1. Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it guarantees the best results (Amazon affiliate link). Especially flour and butter are tough to measure consistently using cups. I measured the flour using cups and had 1½ cups, but that might differ from one person to another.
  2. Butter: Use European-style butter with 82% fat. Please don’t use lower-fat alternatives when baking cookies unless the recipes are developed using that kind of butter.
  3. Replace all or half of the walnuts with chocolate chips. You can also use chopped pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, or the same amount of chopped dried fruit instead.
  4. Confectioners’ sugar, icing sugar, and powdered sugar are all the same kind of sugar.
  5. You can simultaneously bake both trays of chocolate cookies in a fan-forced or fan-assisted oven. In this case, preheat the oven to 320°F/ 160°C.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
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