Befanini are little Italian shortbread cookies served on the day of Epiphany or La Befana which is January 6th. In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children in Italy on Epiphany Eve, similarly to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I’ve always had these cookies around Christmas and cut them into little Christmas trees, bells and angel shapes. You can use any cookie cutter shapes you like! This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies.
- 4 cups ap flour + more for dusting
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 5 eggs
- 2 beaten egg yolks for egg wash
- 1 oz of dark rum
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon or orange zest
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Sprinkles as needed
- In a bowl, combine the eggs and sugar and mix until frothy.
- Next, add the butter, flour, milk, baking powder, salt, zest and rum. Using a hand or stand mixer, mix until a smooth dough forms.
- Let rest in the fridge for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface until it’s about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Note: This dough can be very sticky, make sure to use plenty of flour for dusting.
- Use cookie cutters to form the shapes and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Note: You can also use silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Brush the cookies with the egg wash and add sprinkles.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.