A Traditional Christmas Pastry from Naples

One of our traditional pastries for Christmas time are the mostaccioli or mustaccioli. They are cookies covered in chocolate with a soft or harder inside.

The name comes from the original version when they were made with grape must (as sweetener). They were already mentioned in the 16th century when the personal cook of Pope Pius V, Bartolomeo Scappi, served them for a lunch of the prelate.

We buy them together with roccocò, susamielli, strufoli and of course almond paste pastries.

The diamond shape is characteristic for the cookie, and they are pretty big. But I saw also a smaller version of them. The taste is a little similar to the German Printen or Lebkuchen.

I tried a healthier paleo version by substituting the flour with all-purpose paleo flour. Instead of the sugar I used coconut sugar which gives it even a little more taste. Instead of the almond flour, that is required, I used hazelnut flour. This way it has a more nutty taste. Originally it has orange zest, I had lemons and used lemon zest. But you don’t really taste that. Instead of the cocoa I ground chocolate nips.

In Italy, we use pisto for the Christmassy taste. Very similar is the American pumpkin spice mixture. To make homemade pisto, you need the following:

15 g cinnamon
5 g pepper
5 g nutmeg
2 g cloves
2 g star anise
2 g cilantro seeds

All ingredients are ground or better freshly pounded in a mortar, and then briefly toasted in a pan to give them more taste. Store the pisto powder in an air-tide jar.

Normally the mustaccioli are not decorated. But I thought they should have a more Christmassy look. I used: green pistachio powder, beetroot reddened xylitol and crushed almonds.

Children will love these cookies. They are super tasty. They can be stored up to a couple of weeks in an air-tide container, but I am sure you can’t even bake enough to get them through a couple of days.

Sometimes older people in Campania like to dip them in a glass of wine (red or white) before eating them. Similar to the roccocò. But the mustaccioli just need a short dip as they are soft and don’t need to be softened like the very hard and dry roccocò.

Enjoy our Christmas tradition and…

Clipart

Mostaccioli Napolitani
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
30 cookies 20+60 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
30 cookies 20+60 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Mostaccioli Napolitani
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
30 cookies 20+60 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
30 cookies 20+60 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients (without the water) in a big bowl and mix well. Now add gradually the water with one hand and mix with the other continually the mostaccioli dough. Knead the cookie dough or in the bowl or on the surface of your kitchen table.
  2. Wrap the cookie dough into parchment paper and let it sit for an hour in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  4. After the hour, take the dough out of the wrap and place it between two parchment papers (use the parchment paper you wrapped the dough). Now roll the pastry to 5 mm/0.2 in thick and cut out the diamond shape cookies until you used all the cookie dough.
  5. Place them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake them for around 18-20 minutes. The longer you let them in the oven the harder/drier they will be.
  6. Take them out of the oven and let them cool out on a cooling rack.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the chocolate in a bain-Marie.
  8. When the cookies are cold coat the cookies first on one side with chocolate and let the coating get hard int he fridge. Then coat the cookies on the other side with the remaining chocolate.
  9. Store in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.
Recipe Notes

Note: I used Italian pisto but the pumpkin spice is perfect as well.

If you use almond flour the taste will be a little different.

If you prefer honey then pay attention to how much water you actually need, it will be less than the recipe recalls.

For decoration I used pistachio powder, almond powder and xylitol mixed with beetroot powder. You can omit the decoration or use any other like almond or hazelnut slices, whole almonds or hazelnuts, pistachios and more.

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