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Cookies with Nuts
Mostaccioli (Almond cookies, with cinnamon, ground cloves, lemon and orange zest)
Originated from: Guglionesi, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Christmas holidays
Contributed by: Mrs. Yolanda DiTullio

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For dough (makes about 150 cookies)

8 large eggs
16 oz (2 cups) roasted almonds, ground
12 oz (1 1/2 cups) sugar
1 1/2 cups honey
8 oz (1 cup) espresso coffee
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup bitter-sweet grated chocolate
4 teaspoons baking ammonia
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon Magic baking powder
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Flour as much as needed (5 to 6 cups)

For frosting
about 2 pounds bitter sweet chocolate


1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

2. Roast whole almonds (with peel). Grind.

3. Make espresso coffee in coffee machine. Reserve 1 cup of liquid.

4. Grate a block of bitter-sweet chocolate and measure 1/4 cup. Put aside.

5. Using an electric beater, beat eggs. Add espresso coffee and honey.

6. Add vanilla and the rest of the flavorings.

7. Slowly add flour -- using the electric beater at the beginning. When the dough gets thick, use a wooden spoon. The resulting dough will be dark in color, and should have the consistency of a cavatteli dough.

8. Take a lump of dough -- the size of a baseball -- and on a floured wooden board flatten the dough out using the palm of your hand.

9. Cut a diamond-shaped cookie from the flattened out dough [Diamond measures about 4 inches at longest point, 3 inches at widest point].

10. Place the diamond-shaped mostaccioli cookie on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

11. Continue cutting out the cookies until the baking sheet is full, making sure there is ample space between the cookies (N.B. The dough should make over 12 dozen cookies so one will be baking one batch of cookies, and processing the next batch....).

12. When the baking sheet has been filled up, bake in the middle rack for about 12 minutes (The cookies should still be a bit soft when they are removed).

13. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool for several hours (or overnight).

14. Using a double boiler, melt the block of bitter-sweet chocolate.

15. Using a fork, dip the mostaccioli cookie into the melted chocolate (Place the end of the fork on the underside of the cookie, so that only the top of the cookie is coated with chocolate).

16. Place the frosted cookie on a table that has been lined with wax paper.

17. Continue processing the cookies until they have all been frosted.

18. Let the frosted cookies air-dry on the table for 6 to 8 hours (If one has a stove fan one can accelerate the process by turning it on).

19. Store the cookies until needed preferably in a "candina" (cold room). If one does not have a cold room, keep them in the fridge.


The cookies shown in this entry were made by Mrs. Yolanda DiTullio who learned how to do the recipe from her friend who was born in the town of Guglionesi (near Termoli, Molise). Apparently, when her friend was growing up in Guglionesi (ca. 1940s) mostaccioli were made for the Christmas festivities. In other parts of Molise they were generally made for wedding celebrations... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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