Friday, December 10, 2010

Chocolate Spice Cookies..Mostaccioli

I seem to have a thing for chocolate and wine combinations in cookies! I made these not too long ago, and they were great.
But when I saw recipes for this unusual Italian cookie, Mostaccioli, I have to admit, I was intrigued. Apparently this cookie has many variations, I assume, depending on which region of Italy the recipe is from. After checking out the many variety of recipes, I decided on this one because it's adapted from Nick Malgieri's book, "Great Italian Desserts"..and I love his recipes.
The ingredient list alone is complex and unusual. Honey is basically the main sweetener with molasses, spices and, lastly, wine added in to make this chewy, spicy and definitely addictive cookie delicious. And there's no butter or egg used in the recipe, a welcome change for me, at least!
The last step, brushing on a glaze, adds a little sweetness to the cookie and helps keep the cookie chewy.
It's definitely an adult cookie. The wine flavor really comes through. I used a Merlot, since the recipe didn't specify which variety of red wine to use. I urge you to give these a try. They get better with the wine added! Just keep them in an air tight cookie tin. You'll have 'em guessing.. what's in these?
First, sift the cocoa powder into the mixing bowl.

Then to this add the flour, sugar, ground almonds, spices and baking soda.

Once all those ingredients are in the mixing bowl, mix them for a little bit just to combine.

Then add the honey...

Molasses and wine...

And mix all this til smooth to make a sticky dough. Use a rubber spatula to be sure to get it all mixed through, sides and bottom.

Scoop this into a small bowl, cover and refridgerate for 30 minutes. ( I kept mine in for about 2 hours and it was fine.)
Once it's chilled, preheat your oven to 325.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and pat into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. ( Mine were between 1/4" and 1/2" thick).
Flour the dough lightly and roll over it once or twice with a rolling pin to even it out.
Then using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 2" squares. Wipe off any excess flour from the top with a pastry brush.
Then transfer the squares to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Space them about 2" apart.

Once they're baked, let them sit for a minute, then lift the parchment with the cookies on it and place on a wire rack.
While the cookies are still warm, stir together the confectioners' sugar and water in a small bowl til it's smooth, then brush on the glaze to the warm cookies. Brush again a second coat after a minute or two.
Chocolate Spice Cookies ( adapted from here from Nick Malgieri's book "Great Italian Desserts")

1/2 cup natural( not Dutch process) cocoa powder
2/3 cup AP flour
1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup dry red wine ( or water)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup water
1. Into a mixing bowl, sift cocoa powder.
2. Add flour, sugar, almonds, cinnamon, cloves and baking soda. Mix lightly to combine.
3. Add honey, molasses and wine. Mix til a smooth sticky dough forms.
4. Allow to stand 1 minute to absorb the liquid, then cover and refridgerate for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
6. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Pat into a rectangle approx. 1/4" thick ( Mine were between 1/4" and 1/2" thick). Flour the dough lightly and roll over it once or twice with a rolling pin to even it out.
7. Cut the dough using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, into 2" squares. With a dry pastry brush, wipe off any excess flour.
8. Transfer the squares to the baking sheet spacing about 2" apart. Bake for 15 minutes.
9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies sit for a minute. Then lift the parchment with the cookies on it, and place on a wire rack.
10. While the cookies are still warm, make the glaze by stirring the confectioners' sugar and water together til smooth, then brush the glaze onto each cookie top. After a minute or two, brush on another coat of glaze. Allow the cookies to cool completely, they will remain chewy on the inside.
Note: These cookies stay best in an airtight cookie tin.


  1. Hi Susan! These cookies sound wonderful! I was wondering if you had a good tried and true recipe for German Lebkuchen? Many have molasses in then and I know they are made with honey, so many recipes in blogland.Just like to know your thoughts. Thanks, Tina in N.E. Pa.

  2. Tina,
    Lebkuchen is one cookie I have yet to try, probably because there are so many recipes and it does seem downright confusing trying to choose the best one. The ingredient list seems mostly consistent, it's just the amounts that vary. I've actually been going through this process with pfeffernusse cookies these past few days. I've tried three recipes so far..with little luck! Sorry I couldn't be more help to you. I did watch a few videos..but they were in German so I had no clue what they were saying!

  3. Susan,I too already made 1 Lebkuchen recipe, I kinda made it up from 3 different recipes,the dough tasted great,but you really have to let the cookies sit and season,so I won't know the end result till Christmas.Keep your fingers crossed !I was able to buy the lebkuchen spice mix.I cann't wait to see what you come up with! You always post the BEST!Tina (Pa)

  4. Thanks Tina!
    Let me know how yours turn out. I'm sure they'll be great!
    Happy Holiday.



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