use the glaze recipe for the cuccidati, doubled, but instead of vanilla extract, I add 1/8 teaspoon anise extract. If you're not a fan of anise, make the glaze with vanilla extract, the flavor is still complementary.
So, the cookies. I remember one of my cousins telling me he'd break these cookies into pieces, place them in a bowl, pour milk over them, and eat them like cereal. They were dry, so I see the attraction. My version produces a moister cookie while still preserving the spicy flavors. The cookie is not very sweet, so I think the glaze is necessary. Additionally, the entire cookie glazed, not just the tops. I grew up eating these, and I love them. Just like the cuccidati, they are a traditional Christmas cookie in my family, and it's not Christmas without them.
Next week, I'll share another cookie from my mother-in-law, Miss Nettie. If you are a nut lover, particularly a pecan lover, you're going to love next week's cookie!
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, spices, and salt; set aside.
Melt butter in microwave; add milk and instant coffee, then return to microwave for another 60 seconds. Stir until coffee has dissolved.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract). Mix until well combined, 3 minutes.
Add butter and coffee mixture to egg mixture, mix until incorporated.
With mixer on low, add flour & cocoa mixture, then pecans, until dough clumps around paddle and is well-mixed.
Using a small cookie scoop, portion dough, then roll into a smooth ball, about 1" apart.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 9-10 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before glazing.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons whole milk
1/8 teaspoon anise extract
Microwave butter and milk together until butter melts.
Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Add anise extract.
Once the cookies are cooled, immerse the entire cookie into the glaze and place on a rack to dry.
Allow glaze to set before serving.
Yield: 6 dozen cookies
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