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Cookies with Nuts
mustazzoli di Erice
Mustazzoli di Erice (Sicilian vegan cookies flavored with almonds and cinnamon)
Originated from: Sicily
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Adapted from an Italian cookbook published in the 1960s

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4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup almonds, without skin, lightly roasted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking powder
enough water to make a firm dough


Grind the lightly roasted almonds.

Mix the ground almonds, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder together.

Add a little water a time, enough to make a firm dough.

When the dough is smooth, roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into large strips -- about 4 inches long, 2 inches wide.

Place the cookies on a well greased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper.

Using a sharp knife score the top of each cookie first diagonally, then horizontally, forming a criss-cross pattern (The cuts have to be quite deep, as the cookies will expand in the oven and the decorative dents in the cookies can easily disappear).

Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F oven until golden -- about 12 minutes.

Cool before serving.


On the surface this looks like an easy recipe to do, but it isn't. Not at all. The cookies are supposed to have a criss-cross pattern and if they don't, they'll not merit their name, "mustazzoli di Erice". Retaining a criss-cross pattern on cookies that include baking powder is no easy feat. If one doesn't use the baking powder, one can get the look, but the cookies will be rather hard. Personally, I would avoid trying to get this criss-cross pattern look, and aim for a good-tasting soft cookie instead, but then of course, one doesn't end up with a Sicilian mustazzoli but any old cookie. In any case, this style of cookie is vegan-friendly and that's a good thing for those inclined in this direction.... Comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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