Christmas Befana Cookies

Saturday, December 18, 2010
La Befana was approached by the three Wise Men (Magi), Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar, who asked her how to get to the road to Bethlehem and they asked her to join them on their journey to bring gifts to the Christ child.

First, she refused to say she was too busy however later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had passed away.

She relentlessly looked for Baby Jesus but got lost and never found the manger, this is just one story of the many legends that's been written.

The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6 as a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana is a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations.

The old woman who visits children in Italy on the eve of January 5th and on January 6th the Epiphany is celebrated similarly to the story of Santa Claus.

The woman enters children's homes through the chimney to deliver the gifts and through her visions and the loss of her child, he brings those gifts into her child's memory and feels like she became the mother of every child in Italy.

Every Epiphany Eve, the old witch is covered in black soot, from the chimney, has tattered clothes, and flies around the world on a broomstick, then comes down chimneys to deliver candy and presents to children that have been good all year.

To those who were naughty, she left coal so we have included both cookie recipes we make for this traditional legend to celebrate and recognize La Befana on this traditional day.

Traditional Star Cookies for La Befana

This basic butter cookie dough works very well for cutouts and the traditional cookie to celebrate the day is the star cookie either lightly glazed or sprinkled with candies.

We make this recipe with all different cutout shapes, however, the traditional cookie for January 6th is the star cutout cookie.

These are not traditional sugar cookies that get hard, these stay soft.

Our favorite recipes during the holiday baking season.

They even taste great unfrosted!

Shopping List for La Befana

  1. all-purpose flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. butter, room temperature
  4. powdered sugar
  5. pure vanilla extract or another flavor you prefer

Suggestions and Tips

  1. mix-in colorful sprinkles in the dough (around 1/2 cup) and sprinkle sugar on top instead of frosting
  2. use a religious cookie cutter IE: holy cross
  3. keep the dough from drying out by using powdered sugar instead of flour for rolling and cutting

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Christmas Cutout Butter Cookies

Christmas Cutout Butter Cookies

Yield: 22
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 8 MinTotal time: 18 Min
These are a soft dough that makes the perfect butter sugar cookies for any time of the year especially around the holiday/


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Frosting Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • food coloring optional
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 butter
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk


  1. Cookie Batter 
  2. Mix all together and refrigerate overnight or for at least one hour. 
  3. Roll out cut into shapes of your choice and bake on a greased cookie sheet
  4. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
  5. For the frosting: 
  6. Beat all ingredients until smooth, add more water if too stiff, this needs to spread easily.  
  7. Immediately decorate with sprinkles or candies on top, the frosting will dry quickly.
  8. Let cookies dry on wax paper 
  9. For tinting:
  10. Separate into bowls coordinate food coloring and flavoring in each bowl. Frost cookies and let dry for about an hour.
  11. Sprinkles: add 1/2 cup of colorful sprinkles to the batter and mix evenly. After cutting the cookie shapes, add granulated sugar on top of each one. No frosting is needed.



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cutout cookies, cookies made with butter, Christmas cutout cookies
holiday baking, holiday cutout cookies, Christmas cutout butter cookies
Created using The Recipes Generator

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  1. Delicious! Starting my baking this morning...finally!

  2. Lovely lovely cookies! Hope you've done all your X'mas shopping already and stock up everything before X'mas. I've the feeling that the weather going to turn bad to worst. Hope you have a great day. Enjoy & have lots of fun!
    Blessings, Kristy

  3. Love all the cookies but the palm trees are adorable. I remember when I lived in AZ, everyone putting lights on their palms outside, it was so pretty!

  4. How cute to make those little palm trees!!! I tried to make some Christmas cookies but they looked all lumpy and gross. Methinks your recipe would have worked much, much better.

  5. these are lovely sugar cookies and very easy recipe!!!I will try them this afternoon!!!!
    Have a look at my ''kourampiedes"" our almond Christmas cookies here in Greece!!!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!!

  6. Great looking cookies and way to go with the palm trees! That would be about the only way to get palm trees here. You are so creative and fun!

  7. Thanks for sharing this recipe! It seems pretty simple. Would you believe that I have never made a home-made butter cookie? I hope I get the gumption to make some with your recipe!
    Best regards,

  8. Cutouts are so much fun and always make the cookie tray look that much better.
    Love your cookies Claudia (and no..I'm not being rude ;) )
    Happy Holiday Baking.

  9. Darling Christmas cutout cookies Claudia! I love holiday baking... :)

  10. Ha ha, loving the tropical flare. My daughter and I made a huge batch of cookies last weekend. I think I am still finding sprinkles everywhere! Yours look delicious.

  11. If I lived in Florida, I'd be merrily cookie cutting palm trees also ;o)

    Thanks for sharing your holiday cheer,
    Flavourful wishes,

  12. Oh no! I haven't made butter cookies yet! Oh no! I don't have a palm tree cutter. But when I do - you know I will decorate them just as you did. Happy sparkling!

  13. Your cookies are so lovely, especially the palm trees.
    My mother-in-law lives in South Carolina and every year she sends us photos of the palm trees with lights on.
    Thanks for sharing these festive recipe.
    Hope you'll have a wonderful week

  14. Okay, I have decided, to just pack my bags and move in with you and your family. You bake and cook the most incredible dishes. Can I be a part of your family!? These cookies are darling.


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