Breakfast and Brunch, Cookies, Dessert

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

Nicoletta December 2, 2017

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Abbracci, that translates into Hugs in Italian, are classic Italian butter cookies, crumbly and delicious, where the white half cookie reaches out to the other half, the dark cookie, in a harmonious embrace. In Italy, they are mostly enjoyed at breakfast, dipped in cappuccino or tea, but you can enjoy them anytime!

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

Today I am sharing my contribution to The Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange. I’ve joined several food blog friends to bring you all new, amazing, gorgeous cookie recipes for the holiday season. Also, since part of the joy of this season is giving back and helping others, this year I’m delighted that we are raising money for an organization called Cookies for Kid’s Cancer, making donations ourselves, and encouraging our readers to donate a few dollars to a really great cause.



I was excited to see so many bloggers join in on the fun and support this cause, with their incredible cookie creations! I was pondering which cookie recipe to share, and I think I found the right one, in these Abbracci biscotti, Italian Hugs Cookies.

I’ve never done any Christmas baking marathons, not when I was in Italy, not here in Canada. I am a consistent home baker, that is,  you can find me in my kitchen making something almost every day. I make homemade bread often, homemade pizza dough once a week, pasta dough occasionally, cakes, pies and tarts for those special times, muffins, scones, loaf cakes regularly for our breakfast, and cookies for the cookie jar sitting on our counter.

The cookies I chose for this cookie exchange are famous Italian cookies called Abbracci, that translates into Hugs, and what a better name to describe a cookie to be exchanged at this particular time of the year, that is supposed to be filled with joy, love, and hugs, but that can be a time of trial for so many.

So today, I am sending out virtual Hugs in shape of cookies, hoping to brighten someone’s day!

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

Almost everybody in Italy has eaten this particular cookie, where half of the white dough hugs the dark, the cocoa half. They are a replica of a famous store-bought cookie, made by a famous Italian cookie brand. They are delicious, and the recipe I am sharing with you today comes from my mother’s handwritten recipe book, of course in Italian, and of course with yellow pages, some of them spotted with blemishes of unclear origin, lol. You see the book in the pictures, I am so happy it is in my hands now, I’ve just “stolen” it from my mom last time I was there visiting. She doesn’t mind, as long as I am keeping alive some of her recipes.

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies, are not difficult to make, but they require some time, a few steps to follow, and a bit of an arm muscle when you pipe the dough into half circles. Well, my mom’s recipe calls only for 00 flour (or all-purpose), but I wanted to give an even healthier spin substituting half of the all-purpose with white whole wheat and that makes for a dough that is a little tougher to pipe. TIP: My suggestion is, go with the full amount all-purpose flour, or, if you use like me the two flours and see that the dough is too hard to pipe, just roll both doughs into thin ropes, cut the ropes the size of the cookie (about 2 inches, 5 cm), then make circles overlapping a bit the half white and the half dark sides, pressing to close the circle. I managed to pipe mine but in the end, I had developed quite the muscles 🙂 .

These Abbracci cookies look so pretty, and so very close to the store-bought version. I was so happy with the result!

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

Can’t you just feel the hug energy coming from these beautiful cookies? I made them with that energy in mind. I think they are like yin and yang, a perfect balance of color, texture, and taste!

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

These Abbracci, Italian Hug Cookies are perfect for dunking and that is what I did right into my cappuccino. I love the way the cookie absorbs all that coffee and how moist and intact it stays. The flavor of the vanilla half is amazing and the cocoa equally delicious, and when the two meet it is as special as a hug and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The texture is light and crumbly and when it hits your tongue those little crumbles just melt and that vanilla/cocoa combo really plays with your taste buds.

It is Christmas and there is no better gift than sharing a hug, add a sweet delicious treat and I believe that we have a great gift for this festive season. Homemade gifts are special, the time that has taken to prepare them, the passion infused in them, and the joy on people’s faces after they have enjoyed them is priceless.

How about this year we leave Santa a little Italian tradition and have a cappuccino and some Abbracci Cookies for him. I think he will love that!

Happy Holidays, Buone Feste, from Loreto and I at Sugarlovespices!

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

Make sure to check out all the cookies made for this year’s Sweetest Season Virtual Cookie Exchange!

And if you’d like to join us in giving back this season, please consider making a donation to our Sweetest Season fundraising page! Together we can make a difference!

Buon Natale!

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 40-50 cookies (2 inches, 5 cm diameter) 1x
  • Category: Breakfast/Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


Abbracci, that translates into Hugs in Italian, are classic Italian butter cookies, crumbly and delicious, where the white half cookie reaches out to the other half, the dark cookie, in a harmonious embrace. In Italy, they are mostly enjoyed at breakfast, dipped in cappuccino or tea, but you can enjoy them anytime!


  • 500 g (3 cups) flour type 00 or all-purpose (I used 220 g all-purpose + 230 g white whole wheat)
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 g (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 200 g (1 cup packed) raw cane sugar
  • 200 g (7/8 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, organic, free-range
  • 50 g (2 heaping Tbsp) honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 100 g (scant 7 Tbsp) whipping cream (heavy cream) + 2 Tbsp for the cocoa dough
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) cocoa


  1. Line two large baking sheets with a silicone mat, or parchment paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
  3. In a medium bowl mix the flour, salt, baking powder.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, work the butter with the sugar until creamy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed, then the honey, vanilla, whipping cream.
  6. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low until well combined.
  7. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and using a scale, or by eye, divide the dough in two equal parts.
  8. Put one half back in the bowl of the stand mixer, add the cocoa and the 2 Tbsp of whipping cream and mix well until combined.
  9. Now that you have the two colored cookie dough, put them in two piping bags, snip the end about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) and start by piping half circles of white dough on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space in between, taking into account the full size of the cookie, which is about 2 inches (5 cm).
  10. Complete the circle of each cookie by piping the dark half overlapping both sides of the white dough, repeating this process until all dough is used.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the white dough is nice and golden.
  12. Remove from oven, let cool in the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.


If you’re using, like me, half all-purpose and half white whole wheat flour, reduce the total amount to 450 g.

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Abbracci, Italian Hugs Cookies

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  • Avatar
    Reply thespeckledpalate December 2, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    1. I love that you’re sending out virtual Hugs in shape of cookies. I wish we were all in the same place so we could actually share and taste and laugh because it would be SO MUCH FUN.

    2. I’ve seen cookies like these before, but never made anything like them. I’m totally adding this to my baking list for the season. 😉

    3. Thank you so much for participating in this year’s exchange! It has been SUCH a joy to see all the gorgeous recipes shared throughout the week!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      That would be so much fun! Thank you for inviting me to this beautiful cookie exchange!

  • Avatar
    Reply Julie | Bunsen Burner Bakery December 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I love that these are called “hugs” – what a cheerful way to start the day!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 3, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you Julie! Yes, a nice what to start a day 😊.

  • Avatar
    Reply Eva December 3, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    These are my favourite biscuits back in Italy and I can’t find them anywhere in Sweden. Thanks for the recipe, will help feed my cravings when I finish the supplies I bring back every time I visit my family!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 3, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      So glad to be of help! We too always bring back supplies of cookies that we cannot find here 😉. Thank you, hope you make them!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lily {Gastro Senses} December 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Who can resist such yummy and beautiful cookies? I can’t!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 4, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Neither do we 😊. Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply Gloria Duggan December 5, 2017 at 9:54 am

    HAHAHA…love the “hugs”…they would look great on the holiday tray. Wishing you two a wonderful holiday season!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 5, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Thank you Gloria! Happy Holidays to you and your family as well!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Laineey December 5, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    My grandmother used to make cookies very similar to these but I never knew the name of them. These are simply fantastic. You get the best of both worlds (chocolate and vanilla) ! I’m going to try these for my cookie tray this year!! Great recipe!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 5, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you! Hope you enjoy making them, they would look nice on a cookie tray! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Veena Azmanov December 5, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I love the name of these cookies! So cute. Love hugs especially at this time of the year. These look like such a treat. yum!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 6, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Thank you! They are cute and yummy and bring a good message 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Analida's Ethnic Spoon December 6, 2017 at 5:22 am

    What a fantastic cookie and story to go along with them. Hugs to you and your family at Christmas! Thanks for sharing!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 6, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Thank you! We always like stories to go with our recipes…

  • Avatar
    Reply chef mimi December 6, 2017 at 9:46 am

    oh my god how fun! They’re so beautiful! Hugs back!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 6, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Thank you so much, chef Mimi!!

  • Avatar
    Reply dixya @food, pleasure, and health December 6, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    im in a major cookie baking mode and i love these! i will have to add to my ever growing list.

  • Avatar
    Reply Erica Acevedo December 7, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    These are just so pretty! I’d love to see these on a holiday cookie platter…I mean, I’d rather be enjoying them in Italy, but I’m sure they’ll taste just as yummy on my back porch!

  • Avatar
    Reply Megan December 8, 2017 at 7:43 am

    These are so cute and they look yummy too! I always love adding new cookie recipes to my list this time of year

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 8, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Thanks! They are, especially dunked in a cappuccino! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply helene dsouza December 8, 2017 at 8:15 am

    My bosses wife would make those cookies for Christmas. The last time I had them was when I was a teenager and then I didn’t see these cookies ever again. I also didn’t know that they were called Abbracci, but it does make sense why. =D

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 8, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Nice! Happy to hear that! 🙂 Abbracci is such a suitable name for them 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply LeAndra December 10, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Cappuccino + cookies = perfect. Love this recipe idea!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 10, 2017 at 9:22 am

      That’s the typical Italian breakfast 🙂 . Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply prasanna hede December 10, 2017 at 10:11 am

    lovee that these are called “hugs”….so perfect for season!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2017 at 10:01 am

      We think so too! We all need more hugs and joy 😉 . Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Leslie December 10, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I’d never heard of these before, but I’m in love with the name!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Such a cute name isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!

  • Avatar
    Reply fentonjillian December 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    The combination of vanilla, honey and cocoa in a cookie sounds fantastic. Reminds me of my travels to Italy this past summer.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Yes, the flavors are just so beautiful together. They are a taste of Italy 🙂 . Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply Amanda December 11, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I’m so excited to see a recipe for these! I usually buy them and they are the most delicious cookies. These will be beautiful on my Christmas cookie trays!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2017 at 10:00 am

      I love them! they are among my favorite Italian cookie! So glad you like them, enjoy, and thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Amelie December 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    The name of these cookies makes them so romantic and the perfect gift for loved ones. And they look so pretty and delicious too!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I like the idea of them being romantic 😊. They are indeed a delicious gift to give. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Erin Parker December 12, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Oh, I love, love, love the story behind these cookies, Nicoletta! What a perfect dessert to serve this time of year!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 12, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Thank you, Erin! They are among my favorites!

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