Sugar Cookies {Befanini}

The holidays are my favorite time of year. I look forward to them with childlike anticipation every year. Baking is a big part of the holidays for me {and I’m guessing for a lot of you too}. Sometimes my crazy schedule gets in the way but I don’t let it stop me from making delicious and simple recipes to share with my family and friends {that does of course depend on how nice they’ve been ; )}

These cookies are the perfect example of delicious and simple. I developed this recipe for Pillsbury®. They asked me and a few more of my food blogging friends to develop a quick and easy holiday cookie recipe using one of their pre-made refrigerated cookie doughs. I went with a classic, sugar cookie, and turned it into Befanini.

Befanini are Italian sugar cookies that are made and eaten to celebrate the Epiphany. The base is a typical sugar cookie dough which is peppered with the big bold flavors of anise and orange. Those smells will have you waiting impatiently in front of the oven for the cookies to come out so that you can quickly devour them. Luckily the recipe is easily doubled if need be and takes just about 12 minutes to bake ; ) The cookies are glazed with a rich egg yolk and cream glaze right before you pop them into the oven and then topped with sprinkles of your choosing once they come out. They’re also perfect to roll out and cut out the dough into fun shapes like stars, bells, etc.

There’s always a story behind Italian cooking and this cookie recipe is no exception. Italian folklore says that during the journey of the Three Kings to find baby Jesus, they encountered an old woman named La Befana. In La Befana’s quest to find baby Jesus, she visits children’s homes on the eve of January 6th to leave small treats and gifts such as Befanini. How sweet right!

These cookies are a perfect opportunity to get the kids involved in the kitchen {with your assistance of course}. It’s sure to put a smile on their face and yours!


Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by General Mills & Pillsbury. My opinions are my own. Always have been. Always will be.

Print This Recipe

Italian Sugar Cookies {Befanini}
What you’ll need:
16.5 ounces Pillsbury Sugar Cookies Refrigerated Dough – room temperature
2 teaspoons anise seed
1 teaspoon orange peel
1 egg yolk – beaten
2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
assorted sprinkles

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Into a medium bowl add cookie dough, anise and orange peel. Mix to combine.

3. Form dough into a ball. Roll into original log form. Cut dough into 1/2″ sections. Shape sections into circles.

4. Transfer circles to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Cookies should be 2″ inches apart.

5. Into a small bowl add: egg yolk, cream. Mix together. Baste mixture onto dough. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Garnish immediately with sprinkles. Allow cookies to cool for approximately 2 minutes.

You can place dough into refrigerator to set up after mixing in flavors. Once chilled you can roll out to desired thickness and use a cookie cutter to make shapes.

If you don’t have orange peel you can substitute 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest for orange peel.

Buon Appetito!


  1. 1

    OOO, I have red sprinkles like that in my pantry. DONE.

  2. 2

    I absolutely love sugar cookies! I’ve been making them since I was little. They make me so happy 🙂

  3. 3

    yum…sugar cookies sound so much better in italian 🙂

  4. 4

    I am so in the mood to start my Christmas cookie baking. These are going on my list, no all i need are sprinkles ;D

  5. 5

    These are too easy NOT to try! I’ve never really used Anise, though I know from traveling that they sure do love it in Italy. Gonna have to give them a try!

  6. 6

    I love the tradition of La Befana – these cookies are wonderful way to celebrate!

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