Mostaccioli: spiced italian holiday cookies

There is no Italian Christmas without Mostaccioli: the old spiced cookies that are just too perfect for dunking into your favorite hot beverage.
What are Mostaccioli you might ask.
Most importantly, where do they come from?
Mostaccioli date back to the Roman times (yup, thousands of years ago) but have of course evolved. Their name derives from “must” or the fresh grape juice usually available in the fall.
Nowadays many versions don’t even have must as an ingredient anymore, like mine.
I opted for a combination of spices and coffe, all encased in a nice chocolate coating. Romans did not know cocoa (they used carob) but I’m pretty sure they would have approved.
In short, here you have it, another traditional cookie recipe, evolved with time, but always a favorite during the Italian holidays.
Ricetta in Italiano : clicca qui

Sometimes I add a sprinkle of finishing sea salt to a dark chocolate coating

Video recipe of the day

  • DifficultyEasy
  • CostMedium
  • Preparation time30 Minutes
  • Cooking time15 Minutes
  • Serving12 cookies
  • CuisineItalian


Ingredients for the dough

8.5 ounces all purpose (AP) flour
3 ounces honey (lukewarm)
1 tablespoon Dutch Processed cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt (Kosher)
2.5 ounces almond meal
1 zest of an orange
1 juice of an orange
1 espresso (ristretto)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or nut oil)
1 tablespoon liquor, dessert (or any liquor of choice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon all spice (powder)

Chocolate coating


1 Cutter
1 decorating pen
1 Cups


Prepare the liquids

Since not all the Oranges have the same amount of juice here is what you need to do first:
Place the liquor and the fresh orange juice in the measuring cup, now add the espresso until you reach the 2/3 cup mark. If you can, use a gradient measuring cup like the one I recommended in the link above on the tools section, makes life easier.
In case you are shy of the amount, just add water…or more coffee, or liquor! Your choice.

Once you have all your liquids : place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand up mixer.
Using the paddle attachment add all the remaining ingredients, then the liquids while mixing on low.
You will see the dough detaching from the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix, it’s ok if it doesn’t look too cohesive or uniform.

First: pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Second : transfer the dough to a flat surface and roll it out to a 1/2 inch thickness.
Form your diamond shaped cookie by cutting the dough with the desired size cookie cutter: see suggestion on the tool section above.
Finally, place the formed cookies on a lined baking tray, at about 2 inches distance; the Mostaccioli will not spread so don’t worry too much.
Re-roll and cut the dough . It is very forgiving even though the best ones are the one who are not handled too much (get tougher).

The cooked Mostaccioli will not look much different, only a bit puffier.

As the last step:
Coat each Mostacciolo with the melted chocolate and let them drain on a cooling rack. Once the chocolate has hardened you can transfer them to a sealed jar or keep them frozen.

Devour your spiced Mostaccioli with your favorite hot beverage.

Mostaccioli keep well refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 5 days, or frozen for several months.

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