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Mostaccioli (Christmas Biscuits)

Mostaccioli, or mustacciuoli as they are called in Campania region, are traditional Neapolitan Christmas sweets. They are rhombus-shaped biscuits measuring traditionally about 10-12 cm (3,94-4,72 inches), although lately it is very common to find smaller variants, about 5-6 cm (1,97-2,36 inches), they are covered with a delicious chocolate glaze and have a soft dough inside made of honey, cocoa and spices. In ancient times, farmers used to prepare them with the “must” (unfermented pressed grapes) to make them sweeter, perhaps this is the reason why they are called mostaccioli.
In the last few years many variations of mostaccioli have been prepared, in which the chocolate glaze is replaced by a white chocolate frosting or icing sugar and candied orange and so on. This is my version … Wish You All Peace, Love and Joy…Happy Christmas Eve!!!

Ingredients:

150 g (5,29 oz) peeled and toasted almonds
Sugar 150 gr (5.29 oz)
Honey 150 gr (5,29 oz)
Unsweetened cocoa powder 25 gr (0.88 oz)
All purpose flour 500 gr (1.10 lbs)
Grated peel of one lemon and one orange
3 small cups of coffee (Espresso coffee cup)
30 ml (1.02 fl oz) of Strega liqueur or juice of one orange
1/2 teaspoon of ammonium bicarbonate for cakes
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of clove powder

For the topping:

400 g (14.11 oz) dark chocolate
100 grams (3.53 oz) of water
50 grams (1.76 oz) of honey
grated zest of half an orange (as your desire)

Place the flour on a work surface, or if you prefer in a bowl, make a wheel (pic.1), add sugar, chopped almonds, cocoa powder, the grated orange and lemon peels, ammonium bicarbonate and baking powder (pic.2), mix everything and make  a new wheel, put in the center the coffee, orange juice, the spices and honey. Mix all ingredients until combined to a smooth dough, (if dough seems dry and is not coming together, work in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until it does). Let it sit for half an hour (pic.3).

Divide dough in half and roll out with the aid of a rolling pin to a 1 cm (0.39 inch) thin sheet (pic.4), cut in rhombus-shaped (pic.5) with a cookie cutter or with a penknife and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (pic.6 – 7).

Place in preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) and bake for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool (pic.8) and in the meantime prepare the glaze, melt the chocolate and the other ingredients in a double boiler, then dip in the mostaccioli (pic.9) and, with the aid of a fork, place them to a wire rack (pic.10) and allow to dry for 15 minutes, then place on parchment paper until they are completely dry (pic.11).

Place on serving plate to serve them. Merry Christmas!