Pizzicati Cookies Recipe Discover the enchanting world of pizzicati – delicate Italian shortbread cookies with a luscious jam filling. These delectable treats, often referred to as biscotti pizzicati or pinch cookies, add an elegant touch to any dessert spread. What’s more, pizzicati hold a special place in my heart as one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes, and it’s easy to see why. With their light, airy texture and gentle sweetness, they’re simply irresistible.
Incorporating just half a cup of sugar for the entire recipe, these Italian pinch cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or a steaming pot of tea after a satisfying meal. While cookies typically evoke thoughts of evening indulgence or festive holiday platters adorned with Italian delights like biscotti and cannoli, I confess to relishing these gems at breakfast too!
Crafting approximately 30 to 40 cookies, the final count depends on how thinly you roll out the dough. Each petite cookie amounts to just a couple of delightful bites, adorned with a delicate dusting of powdered sugar. Keep in mind, the cookie count may vary based on the size of your cutter and the dough thickness. As for fillings, my personal preferences lean towards strawberry, fig, or apricot jam. While I did venture into the realm of pizzicati with Nutella, I must admit, it didn’t win over my taste buds. (Apologies to all the chocolate hazelnut enthusiasts out there!)
Yet, regardless of the filling you choose for these tender shortbread morsels, one thing is certain – your friends and family will be enchanted by these sweet Italian delicacies.
What is in Pizzicati?
My affection for these cookies is rooted in their simplicity and ease of preparation. My eleven-year-old daughter and I enjoy making them together. I handle the rolling and cutting of the dough, while she adds the jam and deftly pinches the sides together at the center.
All-purpose flour: A pantry staple that forms the foundation of a delightful shortbread dough.
Powdered sugar: Used in both the dough and as a finishing touch for a snowy appearance.
Baking powder: Just a hint is enough to give the cookies a subtle lift without overpowering.
Lemon zest: I opted for lemon zest to complement the strawberry jam, one of my favorite flavor combinations.
Softened butter: The secret to a quick dough preparation. In case you forget to soften your butter, a brief 5-second zap in the microwave will do the trick.
Vanilla extract: Feel free to experiment with alternative flavors like almond extract to personalize your cookies.
Eggs: Essential for providing structure to the dough.
Strawberry jam: While I adore the lemon-strawberry fusion, you’re welcome to swap it for another jam variety of your liking.
How to Make Pizzicati Cookies Recipe
Creating Italian pinch cookies is a breeze, but remember to keep the dough chilled – excessively warm dough can stick or hinder rolling. Additionally, roll out the dough thinly, aiming for a height akin to two stacked quarters.
Here’s a step-by-step pizzicati cookies recipe
- Blend dry ingredients: Combine flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest in a sizable bowl. Whisk until well mixed.
- Introduce wet ingredients: Add softened butter, vanilla extract, and eggs to the dry mix. Start beating on low, gradually increasing the speed until a grainy, loose mixture forms. A rubber spatula helps knead the dough slightly until it holds together.
- Chill the dough: Shape the dough into a 1-inch thick disk using plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Roll out the dough: Sprinkle the countertop with flour, ensuring the dough remains slightly sticky for proper pinching. You can also place the dough between parchment sheets. Roll it out into a less than ¼-inch thick disk.
- Cut and transfer: Use a 2 ½-inch biscuit or cookie cutter to create circles. Carefully transfer them to a baking sheet.
- Fill and pinch: Add a scant teaspoon of jam in the center of each circle. Pinch the center together, leaving the ends open. Fold the pinched section down to either side of the cookie.
- Arrange and bake: Place pinched cookies on a baking sheet with about an inch of space between them. Bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly golden and the jam spreads without excessive color change.
- Cool and dust: Once baked, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Finish by dusting them with powdered sugar.
When to Enjoy Pizzicati
The versatility of pizzicati extends beyond the realm of simple Christmas cookies nestled on dessert tables. Consider them for occasions like bridal showers, Sunday brunches, baby showers, or Mother’s Day gatherings. Prepare to savor these treats with a cup of your favorite coffee.
As a newfound expert in filled cookies, you might also want to explore the delightful ma’amoul recipe – another delectable cookie featuring a date filling.
How to Store and Freeze Pizzicati
For those who prefer planning ahead for larger gatherings, here’s a tip. Bake a batch of cookies, let them cool, and then freeze them.
To store: Layer the baked pinch cookies between parchment sheets and place them in an airtight container in the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, move them to a serving platter and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy the delightful taste of pizzicati whenever the craving strikes!
Italian Pizzicati Cookies Recipe
Pizzicati Cookies Recipe
- 2 cups (270 g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (60 g) of powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 10 tablespoons (140g) butter, very soft
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup strawberry jam
- Mix dry ingredients: In a large bowl combine the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest. Whisk to combine
- Add the wet ingredients: To the bowl with the dry ingredients, add softened butter, vanilla extract, and eggs. Using a hand mixer, beat on low just until the flour is a little wet, then increase the speed to medium until the dough becomes a loose grainy mixture, about 3 to 4 minutes. Take a rubber spatula and scoop around the bowl then knead with the spatula (or your hands) for a minute or so just until you have a slightly sticky, cohesive dough.
- Wrap the dough and chill: Transfer the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a 1-inch thick disk. Place it in the fridge to chill for one hour.
- Roll out the cookie dough: Dust a countertop with flour, but don't use too much. You want the dough to be a little sticky so it holds the pinch in the next step. Roll out the dough into a disk that is less than ¼ inch thick (about the height of 2 quarters stacked on top of each other). Use a 2 ½ -inch biscuit or cookie cutter and cut out as many circles as you can. Transfer the circles to a baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- Fill and pinch the cookies: Place a scant teaspoon of jam in the center of each circle. Then lift the sides, pinch the tops together about three finger tips wide across the top, but leave the ends open. Fold the pinched side down to the left or right side of the cookie.The cookies will not spread, so as you pinch them you can move them so the pinched cookies are only about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. I can get 20 pinched cookies on a single baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies: Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake in a 350°F oven for 12-14 minutes. The bottoms will be lightly golden, the jam will spread to the open ends, but the cookies will still be pale and don’t take on much color.
- Cool and dust the cookies: When the cookies are ready remove them from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Then dust with powdered sugar and serve.
- Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams and spices.
- I like to use strawberry jam in these cookies but fig jam from our shop is just as delicious.
- If the dough is challenging to roll out at any point it’s probably just too hot. Go ahead and transfer the dough to the refrigerator for 20 minutes to cool down then start again.
- If you use too much flour when rolling out the dough, it can make it difficult for the pinch to hold in the oven. Go lightly when dusting your countertop or roll the dough out between two layers of parchment paper.
- I used a 2 ½ inch cookie cutter to get 40 cookies. If you roll the dough too thick, or use a different sized cookie cutter you could make more or less cookies.
- It's important to roll the dough thin. If it's too thick the pinch might not old and they could pop open.
- You can also make these cookies in a food processor. Just add the dry ingredients and pulse until they come together. Then add the egg, extract and butter and pulse until it forms a ball. You may have to scrape down the sides.