Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mostaccioli: Chocolate nut Cookies

My mother used to make these cookies around the time La Befana came to town, the ugly old witch who brought presents to good children on Jan. 6th, to correspond with the Feast of the Epiphany.

She called them Mostaccioli.  For years, I tried to remember and recreate the recipe with no success.  This year, thanks to blogging friends all over the world, I found this recipe and I made a batch of Mostaccioli in time to save a few for La Befana. 
My cookies are almost gone! The recipe is easy, and can be adapted for vegan! Yes!

Mostaccioli Cookies

3 1/2 C flour
2 1/2 C sugar
1/4 C cocoa
2T cinnamon
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
2 C blanched, toasted and crushed almonds
Rinds of 2 lemons, grated
2T olive oil
3/4 to 1 C warmed milk or warmed soy milk
1/2 lb dark chocolate bits to incorporate in the cookies
1/2 lb dark chocolate to melt and coat the finished cookies

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Stir in the ground almonds, lemon zest, and chocolate bits.
Stir in the vegetable oil.

Make a well, add milk and mix with a fork. Then, shape until a soft but manageable dough, adding more milk as needed.
Cut in half. Roll each into a log. Wrap and refrigerate for 30' or one hour.

Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut a slice and then cut each slice in half.
Bake 15-18'.
Cool completely.

You may want to melt more chocolate and dip the cooled cookies in it.  I didn't. There was plenty of chocolate/nutty taste to satisfy me.

Enjoy! Watch that your dog stays away from these!


  1. Notice that mine are not looking pretty! You can fashion them into special shapes.
    They taste substantial, like a granola bar. Next time, I will experiment with half of the flour and half oatmeal flakes, or whole wheat flour to add even more goodness.

  2. che buoniiii... bravissima!!!!
    Felice Anno Nuovo!
    a presto.

  3. oh my...these look wonderful..are they crunchy?
    Okay..I know..bake them and I'll find out
    La Befana...going to have to google that
    rosaria, you make me miss my friend Nina...
    that's a compliment

  4. we'll try these the next time the grandkids come out.

  5. Suz, they are crunchy, but not crumbly. La Befana is a good witch, in the Italian tradition, who arrives the day of the Epiphany with presents for good children, and black coals for the bad ones.

  6. I have a paleo recipe for Mostaccioli as well. I made it once, they turned out a lot like biscotti:

    1 cup hazelnuts
    1 cup walnuts
    1/3 cup honey
    1 egg white, beaten
    1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 tablespoon orange or lemon zest
    1 pinch salt
    1/3 cup almond flour

    Preheat oven to 275F. Grease baking sheet.
    Finely grind nuts in food processor. Add honey, egg white, cocoa, spices, orange or lemon zest and salt. Blend to paste. Add flour and mix until just incorporated.

    Place dough on parchment paper, and gently roll out to thickness of about 3/4 of an inch. Cut into bars (like Biscotti). This may be difficult as the dough will be very sticky. Use moe almond flour if you need to. Arrange mostaccioli on a greased cookie sheet, spaced about an inch apart.
    Bake cookies at 250 F until firm and tops appear dry, about 60 minutes. Cool cookies completely on racks.

    Mine turned out a bit crumbly, but good with coffee!

  7. Sara, what a beautiful addition! I think I'd love the taste of cloves with all those nuts. Yummy!
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. These cookies look heavenly and the story behind them is quite interesting. Looks like you'll have to make another batch for La Befana! Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year! Cheers, cher!

  9. Wow, these look fantastic! Happy munching for new year's eve.

    Best of 2011 to you, Rosaria!