These are a really dark, earthy kind of cookie. What struck me most was the history of these cookies, and the use of honey, wine and molasses. If the dough is a little too sticky before you roll it out, incorporate a little more flour.
Donna (Grandmereb Lovestobake here)
“In reading the history of this Italian cookie, I read that the original recipe for mostaccioli cookies dates back to 300 years before the birth of Jesus Christ! If that’s true then the mostaccioli recipe is one of the oldest cookie recipes on record. This was my revised recipe of one I found. My husband mother’s family was from Southern Italy where this cookie is a holiday favorite! I hope it might become one of your holiday favorite cookies to make.”
Makes 15 cookies
1/2 cup natural (not Dutched) cocoa powder
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup dry red wine (or water)
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Meyer lemon, zest and juice
Into the bowl of a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer fitted with the paddle beater, sift the cocoa powder. Add flour, sugar, almonds, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix lightly to combine. Add honey, molasses and wine (or water). Mix until a smooth, sticky dough forms. Allow to stand for 1 minute to absorb the liquid, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Turn the dough onto a generously floured surface, and pat into a 6×10-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Flour the dough lightly, and roll over it once or twice with a rolling pin to even it out. Using a ruler and a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 2-inch squares. With a dry pastry brush, wipe off any excess flour. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and transfer squares to the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and let sit for 1 minute. Then, lift the parchment (with the cookies on it) and place it on a cooling rack.
While the cookies are still warm, combine confectioners’ sugar and the juice and zest of lemon in a small bowl, stir until smooth to make a glaze. Paint the surface of each cookie; the glaze will soak in. In a minute or two, paint on a second coat of glaze. Allow the cookies to cool completely; they will remain chewy on the inside.
If you have any left over (and you won’t) store in an airtight container.