The name “mostaccioli” denotes a pasta variety as well as a type of cookie. I learned to make these Italian spiced cookies from my mom, Francesca Sciscente. Her delicious version contains butter, cocoa and chocolate chips.
My recipe for this exquisite cookie contains no cocoa or chocolate chips. It’s also fat-free.
On New Year’s Eve, serve mostaccioli with champagne and bring in a bright 2013!
Active prep time: 1 hour
Bake time: 12 minutes
Makes: 30 to 34 cookies
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest from each a 1/2 lemon and a 1/2 orange
1/2 cup dark or light raisins
1/2 cup roasted, slivered almonds, coarsely ground
1 egg white, beaten (as part of garnish)
1/2 cup sliced almonds (as part of garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12 X 18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a 1-quart mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices; set aside.
3. In a 3-quart mixing bowl or a stand mixer bowl, mix together the eggs, honey, sugar, lemon and orange zests, raisins and slivered almonds.
4. On medium speed, gradually stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Mix on medium speed until a cookie dough forms, about 2 minutes.
5. Using a spatula, clean sides of bowl and mix once more for a few seconds or until the dough is uniform.
6. Turn cookie dough out onto a flat, lightly floured surface. Gently knead dough until it is smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide dough into two dough balls.
7. Take one dough ball and, with lightly floured hands, flatten it to a 6-inch circle. Place the dough circle between two lightly-floured waxed paper sheets measuring about 15 inches long.
8. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough. After two to three rolls of the pin, lift off the top waxed paper sheet and lightly flour the dough once more. Placing one hand between waxed paper and flat surface and, with the other hand placed on top, make a quick flip of the dough (turn it over).
9. Lift off the second waxed paper sheet and lightly flour the dough surface. Replace the waxed paper over dough and continue rolling it out. Repeat instructions on lifting off the wax paper sheet and flouring as you roll out the dough.
10. When the dough has extended to a 10 or 11-inch circle and measures 1/8-inch thickness, remove top waxed paper sheet.
11. Lightly flour the top surface of dough and quickly flip it over onto the flat surface. Peel off the second waxed paper sheet and lightly flour the dough.
12. Using a 2-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles in the dough. Gather remaining dough and repeat roll-out instructions. Cut out more circles.
13. Place dough circles on parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving one inch between each one.
14. Brush each dough circle lightly with beaten egg white; sprinkle with sliced almonds or candy sprinkles.
15. Place baking sheet on a rack positioned in center of oven. Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove baking sheet with cookies from oven and set aside to cool on a counter.
16. Meanwhile, repeat roll-out instructions for remaining dough ball. Repeat baking instructions for the second batch of cookies.
17. Cool the cookies completely. Mostaccioli can be made ahead and frozen.
FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: When the mostaccioli have cooled completely, place them in double Ziploc® freezer bags. Mostaccioli will keep frozen up to one month.
TO THAW: Take mostaccioli out of bags and set them on a platter for 15 to 20 minutes.
Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real