Befanini cookies are traditional biscuits of northern Tuscany baked during Italian Christmas holidays. To me, these delicious and colored cookies always marked the beginning of Epiphany celebrations, the 5th January, and also a sign of the upcoming return to the normal life.

They take the name “Befanini” from the Befana, the old ugly lady that the night of the 5th January flies into the dark sky on her broomstick bringing stockings full of candies or charcoal to the kids.

When I was a kid, my mother used to prepare Befanini cookies with my sisters and me. We wanted to hold some of the sweetest moments we had together during Christmas for the following days when we had to go back to school. Those days, we used to have Befanini for breakfast with a mug of milk, and also as a morning snack at school the days after Epiphany day, which is celebrated the 6th January.

I know that abroad you do not celebrate Epiphany, but you can still prepare Befanini cookies with your kids, for your friends, or to share some Italian lifestyle.

Have a look at this video about the Befana with your kids, set in Epcot, US, where the legend of Befana is told, and show Befana is becoming popular even abroad.

Here is my mum’s recipe.The recipe is very “easy to make” and you can do it even with your children. In that case, you can avoid using rum.

If you are glutton for cakes, here is the post we dedicated to the Tuscan Christmas cakes.

Enjoy the making and let us know if you liked them.

Befanini cookies
Befanini Cookies
Print Recipe
The Befanini cookies recipe is a typical Tuscan recipe, that we prepare for Epiphany to celebrate the arrival of Befana, the good old witch that delivers candies to the good children in Italy. They are very easy to be made and you can do it with your children, in that case, you can avoid using rum.
Servings Prep Time
25 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
25 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Befanini cookies
Befanini Cookies
Print Recipe
The Befanini cookies recipe is a typical Tuscan recipe, that we prepare for Epiphany to celebrate the arrival of Befana, the good old witch that delivers candies to the good children in Italy. They are very easy to be made and you can do it with your children, in that case, you can avoid using rum.
Servings Prep Time
25 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
25 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Sift the flour in a bowl, and put in the center the soft butter into small pieces, the sugar, and the eggs.
  2. Knead with your hands, and add the orange rind and the baking powder. Add the rum (avoid it if you are preparing them for kids), and a little at the time the milk, knead until you obtain a smooth and homogeneous mixture.
  3. Create a ball of dough with your hands and cover it with the clingfilm and let it rest in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  4. After this time roll out the dough with a thickness of about 5 mm / 0.20 inch and make the Befanini cookies with the appropriate molds. I chose classic stars, comet stars, little flowers, but you can do them any way you like.
  5. Once the dough has cooled, roll it in a layer of 5 mm, and make cookies using Christmas stamps.
  6. Transfer them to a baking tray covered with baking paper. Brush them with the yolk and cover them with colored sprinkles.
  7. Bake in an oven already hot and static at 180°C/350°F for 10/15 minutes.
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