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Saturday, December 28, 2013

MOSTACCIOLI o Pasta nera di mandorle

During the holidays, it's obligatory to have the classic mostaccioli on the table. These diamond-shaped biscuits are so called because they derive from a cake prepared by the ancient Romans with "mustaceum', i.e. grape must cooked over bay leaves.

8 large eggs
2 cups roasted almonds (without skin), ground

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups honey
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 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. Grind.

3. Make espresso coffee.  Reserve 1 cup.

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

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 be thick in consistency.

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.  Leave ample space between the cookies.

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.

19. Store the cookies until needed in a cold space or fridge.