Many Christmas traditions begin in the kitchen, and one of the most popular is making cookies. These holiday treats, suitable for gatherings of all sizes, are a family link to the past and a bridge to the future — memories made and those yet to come.

These cookies are from my pamphlet-style cookbook, "Christmas Cookies ‘Round the World," available at


A Christmas tradition in Italian homes, ricotta cookies are very soft and moist with a delicate and original taste.

1/2 cup butter, softened 

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 (15-oz.) pkg. ricotta cheese

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda


1/8 cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2-3 Tbsp. milk

Colored sprinkles

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda and; then gradually add to creamed mixture.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

To make the frosting: In a bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.

Frost cooled cookies and immediately decorate with sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator.  Makes four dozen.