Every country has its own Christmas traditions and food. The best of it: you eat that particular treat or dish only during this period. I like that, so it is always something special in the year.
One of these traditional treats are Roccocò cookies. A typical Italian hard almond cookie, most of the people dip it into wine, sparkling wine, Vermouth or even Marsala to make it a little softer and easier to eat. But it’s also great with a hot chocolate or even nothing else.
Roccocò are made with almonds, flour, sugar, pisto and candied fruit. Pisto is a mix of spices with coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
It is eaten usually in the evening at the 8th December (Immaculate Conception), which is an important day for us. For example, it’s the day we decorate our Christmas trees. Never before this day!
Roccocò are very often a very dry and hard cookie but there is also a softer version, a little less known maybe.
This cookie is known since 1320 when first the nuns of the Real Convento della Maddalena prepared this treat. The name itself has nothing to do with the same period but is a form of the French word rocaille which describes a round form like a shell.
I made the Roccocò with all-purpose paleo flour, coconut sugar (that’s why my cookies are much darker than the ones you can buy), left out the candied fruit (I don’t like it) and instead of the pisto I took Pumpkin Pie spice. Couldn’t find the pisto and the mixture is very similar.
In the recipe you will see the only wet ingredient is the orange juice. It seems to be impossible to get a dough out of it. The trick is to ‘work’ the flour mixture very long, at least 20 minutes. You will notice that the dough gets every minute a little more wet. In the end my dough was nearly too wet and so very sticky.
I formed a bunch of equal big dough balls and then rolled them out on a wooden board. I didn’t use any other flour. To form a ring is a little tricky because of the whole almonds. But they don’t have to be perfect donuts. If you have a donut baking tray, try to put the rings in the forms. They will come out with a whole in the middle and not close like mine just on a baking sheet.
Don’t let them get too dark. When you take the Roccocò out of the oven they are still soft, let them cool out well and they will harden.
I hope you will enjoy our traditional Christmas cookies like I do! I will prepare a few batches for Christmas to bring to over my friends.