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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

How to Make Mostaccioli | Italian Christmas Cookie Recipe

Mostaccioli are a classic, southern Italian cookie. Although they can be found and enjoyed year-round, they’re typically made for Christmas. Once you taste their spiced flavor, you’ll understand why!

How to Make Mostaccioli | Italian Christmas Cookie Recipe

Every southern Italian region makes their own variation. Here we’ve shared a classic recipe for the version from Puglia.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video:


Makes: 20 to 25 cookies

Cook Time: 2 hours, made a day in advance

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 cup (125 g) whole almonds

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

  • ½ orange zest, grated

  • ½ lemon zest, grated

  • 1 mandarin zest, grated

  • A pinch of ground cloves

  • 2 teaspoons (5.5 g) cinnamon, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla extract

  • ⅔ cup (125 g) sugar

  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) fine ground coffee (optional)

  • 1 ½ cups (115 g) cacao powder, divided

  • 2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda

  • Whole milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ounce (30 ml) spiced rum

  • 1 ½ cups (190 g) powdered sugar

  • ½ cup (125 ml) water

Toast the almonds in a hot pan, stirring or tossing frequently, for about 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Blend the toasted almonds in a food processor until they are powdered but not too fine—a little coarser than almond flour.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, flour, citrus zest, ground cloves, cinnamon, vanilla extract, sugar, coffee, and 3 tablespoons (15 g) cacao. Mix thoroughly.

Next, add the baking powder. In a separate bowl, stir the baking soda into ¼ cup (60 ml) of whole milk until the powder completely dissolves. Add this into the mixing bowl, along with the eggs, olive oil and rum.

Mix the ingredients together using your hand. It should be quite dry and crumbly. Gradually add a little bit of milk at a time until there is just enough liquid to hold the mixture together into a moldable dough.

Preheat an oven to 355°F (180°C).

On a floured surface, roll about ¼ portion of the dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle or circle. Dust the dough with flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking. The dough should be about ⅔ inch (1.7 cm) thick. Use a knife to cut the dough into diamond shapes. They can really be any size you like, although we recommend keeping them about 5 inches (12.5 cm) long. Arrange them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Gather up the dough scraps and roll these, along with another ¼ portion of dough. Repeat to roll and cut the remaining dough into diamonds.

Lightly brush the tops of the cookies with water to prevent cracking. Bake for 20 minutes and let the mostaccioli cool to the touch before proceeding to glaze.

In a saucepan, whisk together the remaining cacao powder, powdered sugar and water. Heat over medium/low, whisking constantly, until the glaze becomes thin and liquid. When you lift your whisk out of the glaze, it should drizzle off easily.

Drop a mostacciolo into the glaze and turn it around with two forks to completely coat it in chocolate. Remove the cookie and place on a wire rack to dry. Repeat the glaze the remaining cookies. Let the mostaccioli dry overnight so that the glaze hardens before serving.

Buon appetito!

Want to try another regional variation of mostaccioli? Check out our recipe for the Calabrian version here!

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1 Comment

Dec 17, 2023

Why is there no way to print this out?? 😱😱

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