Mustazzoli in Sicily    

  Mustaccioli - Mustazzuoli

 

Mustacciolo is a dessert prepared in the Italian Peninsula and in the islands of Sicily and Sardinia

The mustacciolo has been a favorite dessert for centuries and it is habitually prepared after the harvest of grapes, when fresh juice of grapes is cooked into must and also for the Christmas holidays.

Originally this dessert was a cake made with must - cooked wine- and with a mush made of barley or millet: it was offered to their divinities or prepared for special occurrences.

This cake baked with must and flour, thus the name mustaceum, was baked to solemnize weddings and to offer to the guests of the wedding party.

The wedding cake, the mustaceum, was wrapped in laurel leaves, the symbol of glory, to infuse the cake with a fine fragrance and flavor; when baked the heat of the oven would burn the laurel leaves which would vanish into ashes.

In time, the must cake has morphed into a dessert of a different kind, size and shape, the name changed and even the main ingredient, the must was at times substituted and replaced with wine, honey or sugar.

In the province of Ragusa carob honey is used for this preparation.  

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The later version of the must cakes called mustazzuoli, mustaccioli or mostaccioli are prepared nearly all over Italy.  

A chapter in the Other Regions is dedicated to the regional recipes of the Peninsula and Sardinia.  

In Sicily there are not two places making the mustazzoli using the same recipe. The following recipes are a synthesis of the many suggestions I gathered, of my baking experience, and of the baking tests I executed in the attempts to give the right information.  

Each province, each town and each family uses different ingredients and different technique. I hope that my desire to clarify this …issue will not confuse the reader even more.

Following a basic recipe to make mostaccioli, however if you scroll down, you will find a variety of recipes from:

Palermo

Trapani 

Agrigento 

Enna

Caltanissetta 

Ragusa 

Modica

Syracuse 

Catania

Messina 

The recipes offered illustrate the different techniques and products utilized to bake these cookies, with distinct characteristics in every part of Sicily. 

 

To Prepare Cooked Wine or Must

(“Vino Cotto o Mosto")

 

Ingredients:

Must is fresh pressed juice of grapes before fermentation.

Fresh orange peels

Cinnamon stick

 

Preparation
In a heavy pot, if possible, use stainless steel, cook must at a low heat, simmer until it is reduced to half. Cover and leave in the same pot to cool overnight.
Next day add some orange peels and ¼ stick of cinnamon, simmer and reduce to half.
Cool and filter the cooked wine, store in clean glass bottles or jars making sure that they are covered air tight.

  

 

 

Basic Recipe for Sicilian Mustaccioli 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. flour                
  • 2 lb. of honey   
  • 2 pint of must or 2 pint of red wine   
  • ½ cup toasted almonds, chopped with a knife  
  • 1 cup fresh or candied diced orange peels. See note below  
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder   
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves  
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder  
  • Extra flour to add if mixture results too soft  
  • Whole almonds to garnish  

PREPARATION

THE MUSTAZZUOLI

Mix the flour with the baking powder, toasted chopped almonds, cinnamon and cloves.                                                      

At a medium heat, place in a heavy stainless steel pot, the must or wine, the honey and the orange peels; bring it to a boil. Reduced heat to low and carefully add the flour mixture, a little at the time, slowly and continuously, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps.

Keep adding until the dough is soft and does not stick on to bottom of pot. If needed add extra flour.

 

Place dough on floured surface and when it cools off, using your hands briefly work dough and bring it together to form a ball.

Add more flour or wine to obtain a dough mixture fairly malleable, easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough.

Rest it for about an hour at room temperature.

Clean your hands and the working surface and discard scraps.

Preheat oven at 375 degrees, grease and dust with flour the cookie sheets or cover with parchment paper.

 

Divide dough in 4 pieces and each piece in 2 parts. Knead dough to make each piece compact and shape each part into 1 inch roll.

Cut a slice every 1½ to 2 inches and place each round piece into greased pans 2 inches apart.

Make a light indentation at the center of each mustacciola and place a whole almond into it.

 

The Baking

Bake at 375 degrees 7 to 8, but no more than 10 minutes, so that inside will remain chewable soft and will get a pale golden color on the outside.

 

NOTE:  

To prepare orange peels using fresh orange: rinse peels with cold water, dry and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. When cooled, cut them with scissors into very thin strips to resemble “angel’s hair”- capelli d’angelo.

 

 

THE PROVINCE OF PALERMO 

 

In Palermo the mustazzuola is a different cookie than in other part of Sicily or even in its province: mustazzuola is a biscuit made with water, flour, sugar and cloves, it consists of a white floury brittle shell with a tangy taste and a pungent aroma and a base of caramelized sugar, pleasantly full of flavor that hardens when cool off.

The recipe is similar to the muscardini except for the use of cloves instead of cinnamon, for the larger size, and also because they are shaped into various forms, triangles, squares, rhombs or resembling bones or into symbolic Christian figures, the Madonna, Baby Jesus, the fish, the cross etc., using molds.

Traditionally those cookies were offered to the dead the night of November 2nd, when …..they brought toys and gift to the children to reward their good behavior; this is the reason that outside Palermo the mustazzoli are called ossa di morto, meaning “bones of the dead”: an unfortunate name for such simple and tasty cookies!  

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. of flour  
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered cloves  
  • 2 lbs. of sugar  

 

Mix the flour with the powdered cloves. Combine with syrup made by boiling for 5 minutes the sugar and 1 cup of water.

Knead dough and add more water or flour to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough, easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough.

Rest dough at room temperature about 1 hour and using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into various shapes or press dough into moulds to form figures.

Place the mostaccioli into a dusted pan, 1½ inch apart, cover not airtight and store in a dry place for a few days until they become white as snow.

Before baking, moisten bottom of cookies with water and place into a greased pans 4 inches apart.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cookies will deposit the light golden colored caramelized sugar at the bottom of each mustazzuola.

Keep mustazzuoli in a airtight container, they  stay fresh for a few weeks however the caramel part will hardens a bit more.

In the hinterland the mustazzuoli are made without using a common and precise recipe. The sweetener available since ancient times, cooked must or honey is used; the flour at times is cooked with the sweetener or it is knead on the bench at room temperature, a combination of baking powder and baking soda is used and wine is added.

If cooking the flour use the following recipe.

 

Ingredients:

·           1 quart of must or honey  

·           ½ cup of wine  

·           ½ cup fresh or candied diced orange peels  

·           2 lb of flour 

·           ½ teaspoon of baking powder   

·           ½ teaspoon of baking soda   

·           1 cup toasted almonds finely chopped with a knife 

·           1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

 

Preparation

Mix the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, toasted almonds and cinnamon.                                                      

At a medium heat, place in a heavy stainless steel pot, the must or honey with the wine and orange peels; bring it to a boil. Reduced heat to low and add the flour mixture a little at the time, stirring continuously. Keep adding until the dough is soft but does not stick on to bottom of pot.

Place dough on floured surface and when it is cools off, knead to combine and add more flour or wine to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough, easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough. Rest it for about an hour at room temperature.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into the typical 3 inches rhomboidal form cookies, or any shape you like.

Place mustazzuoli into greased pans 2 inches apart and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes; the inside should stay chewable soft and the color on the outside should be a light gold.

Mustaccioli 

Preparation “a freddo”, without cooking the flour

 

Ingredients:

·           2 lb of flour 

·           ½ teaspoon of baking powder   

·           ½ teaspoon of baking soda   

·           1 cup toasted almonds finely chopped with a knife 

·           1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  

·          2finely ground cloves 

·           1 quart of must or honey  

·           ½ cup of wine  

·           ½ cup fresh or candied diced orange peels  

·        2 medium eggs lightly beaten 

 

Preparation

Combine the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, toasted almonds, cloves and cinnamon.  

Place the flour mixture in a mound and make a well in the center, add the must or honey the wine, orange peels, eggs and kneads to combine.

Add more wine or flour to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough.

Rest it for about an hour at room temperature.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into the typical 3 inches rhomboidal form cookies, or any shape you like.

Place mustazzuoli into greased pans 2 inches apart and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes; the inside should stay chewable soft and the color on the outside should be a light gold.

 

IN THE PROVINCE OF TRAPANI 

 

In the Western part of Sicily, including Trapani and Erice the mustazzuoli are simple made by mixing:  

·           1 lb. of flour  

·           ½ lb. of sugar  

·           1 cup of water (about, add little at the time) 

·           ½ cup toasted almonds, chopped with a knife,  

·           ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon  

·           ¼ teaspoon cloves  

·           ½ teaspoon baking powder 

The mustaccioli are cut into 2 inches by 1 inch rectangles, about ½ inch thick. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Some bakers covers them with chocolate.

 

 

In Castellammare, fig’s honey is preferred to make the mustazzoli; sesame seeds are sprinkled on top for extra taste. The various ingredients and spices are blended into flavorful and delicious cookies.  

·           1 lb. of fine semolina flour  

·           ¼ lb of toasted almonds chopped fine using a knife 

·           1 lb. of honey 

·           ¼ lb of sweet butter at room temperature (1 stick)  

·           2 tablespoons of sugar  

·           ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon  

·           ¼ teaspoon cloves  

·           Zest of 1 orange or ½ cup of candied orange peel 

·           Tip of teaspoon baking powder (about ¼ of a teaspoon) 

·           Extra honey to add if mixture is to dry 

·           Extra flour for dusting or to add  

·           Sesame seeds 

Mix all the ingredients and knead dough to compact; flatten it evenly ½ inch thick. With the help of a brush wash the rolled out dough with water and sprinkle and press-in on top some sesame seeds.

Cut into 2 inches rhomboidal shape and place each piece into greased pans 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until colored gold.

 

 

 

 

IN THE AREA OF AGRIGENTO 

 

In Agrigento and in the neighboring towns the mastazzoli are prepared in the following way: 

Bing to a boil

·           1 quart of must and add 

·           1 cup of sugar  

·           ½ cup of water and mix into it  

·           ½ cup diced dried fruits  

·           ½ cup fresh or candied diced orange peels  

·           1 cup toasted almonds and /or walnuts, chopped with a knife 

·           1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  

 

Mix into it as much semolina flour as it will take and keep turning until the flour absorbed into the mixture will result into fairly malleable dough easy to work. It should take up about 2 lbs. of semolina flour.

When cools off, dust working surface with flour, briefly work dough and rest at room temperature a few minutes.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into 3 inches rhomboidal shape.

Place mastazzoli into greased pans 3 inches apart and rest at room temperature overnight. The following day, bake at 325 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, therefore the inside will remain chewable soft and will get a light golden color on the outside.

Some bakers replace the must with 2 lbs. of honey and add 1 jigger of liquor, and 4 tablespoon of butter (1 stick).

 

 

IN THE PROVINCES OF ENNA AND CALTANISSETTA 

 

The honey cake, called mustazzuoli di meli are made by mixing together:

·           2 lb. of flour  

·           1 cup fresh or candied diced orange peels  

·           1 large egg 

·           honey 

And enough honey to it until the dough has the smooth consistency of bread dough. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough about ½ of an inch thick and cut it into 1 inch by 4 inches strips.

Place in baking sheets at least 2 inches apart, and bake at 325 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until pale gold on the outside and still soft on the inside. No spices are added, in fact the delicate aroma of the honey and the fragrance of the orange peels give to the mustaccioli a fine flavor and a rich taste.

In Nicosia in the province of Enna fichi d’India, prickly pears and almond are grown in large quantities.  The mustazzoli are made with prickly pears, sugar flour and orange peels, covered with toasted almonds after being dipped into must.  

This recipe indispensably calls for 12 prickly pears.

To prepare pears: slice skin on both ends, cut longwise through the skin; grab both side of slid and peel off the skin. Cut the prickly pear into slices and place into a large stainless steel pot.

·           12 prickly pears 

·           2 cups of water  

·           1 cup of sugar 

 

Bring to a boil the prickly pears with the water and the sugar.

Reduce the heat to a medium, cook for 20 minutes and steer occasionally. Cool mixture and carefully place prickly pears mixture in a vegetable mill to remove all seeds. Set on the side.

 

Have ready:

·          1 cup fresh or candied diced orange peels 

·          flour 

 

Return prickly pears to stainless steel pot and bring to a boil.

Add orange peels and stirring constantly put in continuously and a little at a time enough flour until the flour absorbed into the mixture will result into a fairly malleable dough, easy to work. It should take up about 2 lbs. of flour.

When cools off, dust working surface with flour, briefly work dough and rest at room temperature a few minutes.

Cut dough in 4 pieces and each pieces in 2 parts. Knead dough to make each piece compact and shape each part into 1 ½ inch roll. Flatten roll with your hand to ¾ of an inch thick, cut it into 1½ inch and roll each piece, to form small round sticks about 3 or 4 inches long and place each piece into greased pans 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees 5 to 7, but no more than 10 minutes, so that inside will remain chewable soft and will get a pale golden color on the outside.

 Prepare:

  • 1 quart of must in a wide container   
  • 2 cups of toasted almonds chopped fine using a knife, in a wide container  

 

When all cookies are baked, dip each cookie (one at a time) into the must and with the help of a fork pick it up and hold to drip into the container any excess must. Place the mostazzuolo in the container with the toasted almond and immediately gently squeeze with your hands the chopped almond into the cookie and line into a serving tray.

 

  

THE PROVINCE OF RAGUSA 

Mastazzoli Rausani 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. and ½ cup of flour   
  • 1 quart of water (4 cups)  
  • 1 quart of must (4 cups)  
  • oil to grease working counter  
  • 2 lb. of honey (3 to 4 cups)  
  • 3 cups toasted almonds, chopped fine with a knife  
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon powder   
  • Extra flour to add if mixture results too soft  
  • Whole almonds to garnish  

 

PREPARATION  

THE MUSTAZZUOLI

At a medium heat, place in a heavy pot, the must and the water; bring it to a boil. Reduced heat to low and carefully add the flour, a little at the time, slowly and continuously, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps.

Cook for about 15 minutes, at a low heat.

Place dough on an oil greased surface and when it cools off, using your hands briefly work dough and bring it together to form a ball.

If needed, add more flour or few drops of water to obtain a dough mixture fairly malleable, easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough.


Working on greased surface, divide dough in 4 pieces and knead dough to make each piece compact and shape each piece into 1 ½ inch roll.

Set on the side and rest overnight covered loosely with a rag.

 

Next day preheat oven at 350 degrees, grease and dust with flour the cookie sheets or cover with parchment paper.

Cut the rolls into slices ½ to ¾ inch thick and place each round piece into greased pans 2 inches apart.

 

Bake at 375 degrees 5 to 7 minutes, until the bottom is a golden color and the outside is a pale golden color so that inside will remain soft and chewable.

Because the flour and must were cooked for 15 minutes, it is very important to do not overcook (bake) the cookies because they will became very hard.

 

Cool cookies in a rack and proceed with the glazing.

 

To make the honey syrup, at a medium heat, place in a large skillet 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Add the honey and reduced heat to a low.

 

Combine the chopped finely toasted almonds with cinnamon powder, in a small bowl.

Using slotted spoon, dip the cookies into syrup a few at a time and as you take them out, let drain any excess syrup.

Sprinkle tops with ground nut and cinnamon mixture and place at the center of each mustacciola a whole almond to garnish.

 

When dry, store in airtight container.

 

 

Mostazzoli Rausani with Carobs’ Honey

 

In some parts of the province of Ragusa carob honey is used for this preparation. If carob honey is not available, use the following infuse to replace it.

 

Bing to a boil

·           1 quart of water with 

·           1 lb. of roasted carob broken into small pieces 

 

Cook for about 1 hour then filter and reserve the carob infuse, discard carobs or puree the carob and add to infuse.   

Bing to a boil

·           2 lb. of honey and add 

·           3 cups of water or carob infuse 

·           ½ cup of sugar  

·           2 to 2½ lbs. of flour  

Bing to a boil the honey, the water or carob infuse, sugar and mix in the flour. Keep turning until all the flour is absorbed into the mixture.  

When cools off, dust working surface with flour, briefly work dough. If needed add more flour or honey to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough, and rest it at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ¾ of an inch thick and cut into 1X2 inches pieces. Roll each piece, shape like a breadstick 3 inches long and lightly flatten on top. Place the cookies into greased pans 2 inches apart and, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

At this time, place in a wide container the following ingredients:

·          1 cup of toasted almonds chopped with a knife

·        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. 

When all cookies are baked, warm up enough honey mixed with a few drops of water in a wide stainless pot and steer it until the honey becomes fluid.

Drop the mostazzuolo (one at a time) and submerge into the honey with a fork. Pick it and hold to drip in the pot any excess honey. Place in the container with almond and cinnamon and immediately gently squeeze with your hands the chopped almond into the cookie and line into a serving tray.

A variation is to flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into 2 inches rhomboidal shape. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until light golden color and still soft on the inside.

 

Mustazzoli in Modica 

 

 

In Modica the mustazzola is typically a 2 inches round shaped cookie and it is mixed as follows: 

 

Ingredients:

·           1 lb. of flour  

·           1 cup of toasted almonds minced fine using a knife 

·           1 tablespoons of bitter cocoa 

·           ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon  

·           Honey 

  • More honey and chopped toasted almonds to sprinkle on top of cookies   

 

Mix flour, almonds, cocoa, and cinnamon, place it on a working surface, make a mound and scoop out a well in the middle. Pour into the well 1 cup of honey and add as much as it will take; keep turning until all the flour is absorbed into the mixture. If needed add more flour or honey to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough; rest it covered at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough about ½ inch thick and cut it into round or any other preferred shape. 

 

Place in baking sheets at least 2 inches apart, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Wait a few minutes and to cool a little and brush or drizzle on top a small amount of warm honey and sprinkle with ground almonds.

 

Mustazzoli in Vittoria 

 

 

In Vittoria the mustazzoli are made with must and fine semolina flour called rimacinata. Originally no spices were added not to detract from the delicate taste of the must and of the orange peels. 

 

 Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of must  
  • 1½ cups fresh or candied diced orange peels  
  • Semolina flour  

 

In a large stainless steel pot, bring to a boil the must and stir in the orange peels, then add slowly and continuously the semolina flour, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps.

Keep turning until the flour- about 2 lbs. - is absorbed into the mixture.

When cools off, place mixture into a dusted working surface, briefly work dough to compact, adding more must or flour until it is obtained a dough fairly malleable and easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough; rest it covered at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into 2 inches rhomboidal shape cookies.

Place mustazzoli into greased pans 2 inches apart and bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes; the inside should stay chewable soft and the color on the outside should be a light gold.

 

THE PROVINCEOF SIRACUSE 

 

The renowned Syracuse’s cuisine is distinguished for the simplicity of presentation and for the limited number of ingredients used in this mustazzoli recipe; no spices added to give the opportunity to single out and appreciate the delicate flavor and fragrance of the must baked with the flour.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of must  
  • Flour  

Add to the boiling must the flour, slowly and continuously, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps. Keep turning at a low heat until enough flour- about 2 lbs. -, is absorbed into the mixture. Remove from stove and set aside for 2 hours.

Dust working surface with flour, place mixture on it and knead dough. If needed add more flour or must to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough, and rest it at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Briefly work dough to compact it; cut dough in 4 pieces and each pieces in 2 parts. Knead dough and shape each piece into 1½ inch log. Flatten log with your hand to ¾ of an inch thick, cut it into 2 inch and roll each piece, to form small round sticks about 5 inches long, place each piece into greased pans 2½ inches apart and shape it to form an “S”.

Bake at 375 degrees 5 to 7 minutes or until pale golden color so the cookies remain chewable soft on the inside and lightly crispy on the outside.

If the must it is not available, honey replaces it with the addition of ½ teaspoon of baking powder mixed into the flour and 1 cup fresh or candied diced orange peels for flavor. Usually the cooked mixture is left to rest in the pot where it was cooked for a few hours and transferred to the working surface dusted with flour. 

If needed add more flour or milk to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough, and rest it at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Finish the mustazzoli following above directions.

 

In another version all the ingredients are mixed without cooking the must.

To 2 lbs. of flour enough must is added to achieve a dough fairly malleable and easy to work with. Also ¾ of a teaspoon of baking powder is mixed into the flour in addition to 1 cup fresh or candied diced orange peels and ¾ of a cup of toasted almonds chopped with a knife. Than proceed as per above directions.

 

THE PROVINCE  OF CATANIA 

 

In the province of Catania, the mustazzula is a cookie made with must and filled with honey and nuts. Here follows the classic recipe. 

 

For the Filling 

  • 1 cup fresh orange peels  or use candied orange peels diced  
  • 1 cup of minced zuccata (candied pumpkin)   
  • 1 cup of toasted almonds, minced very fine using a knife  
  • ½ cup of peeled pistachios, minced very fine using a knife  
  • ¼ cup of pinoli   
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon  
  • 2 finely ground cloves   
  • Honey   

Place and mix the dry ingredients in a large pot; a little at a time addenough honey to bring it the consistency of marmalade and combine thoroughly. Over a medium heat bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, simmer for a few minutes and set aside. Transfer into a bowl to cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days until ready to use. Before using it, bring it at room temperature.

 

For the Dough

  • 1 quart of must  
  • Flour  

 

In a large stainless steel pot, bring to a boil the must and mix into it the flour, stirring continuously to avoid any lumps.

Keep turning until enough flour- about 2 lbs. - is absorbed into the mixture, and it is cooked to obtain dough fairly malleable and easy to work.

When cools off, dust working surface with flour, briefly work dough and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into rectangles 2 X 4 inches. Take a teaspoon of the filling, at room temperature and place in the middle of each rectangle, on the long side. Enclose only the sides of the filling and leave a little opening on the top showing the filling; or moisten edges with a little water, fold dough in half on the long side and as each piece is placed into greased pans at 2½ inches away from each other, shape it to form an “S”. Or bring together the ends to form a ring shaped cookie, joining the ends firmly.

Using a pair of scissors cut 3 or more slits on top of each cookie so steam can escape and the filling is visible.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes and the outside should color is a very pale gold.

 

 

THE PROVINCE  OF MESSINA 

 

There are two basic recipes of mustazzoli baked in this province: a recipe of cookies made without must or honey, with a comparable look and taste to the mustaccioli prepared in some parts of Calabria, and another traditional recipe with must, typically baked in the hinterland; in both recipes all the ingredient are mixed without cooking the flour and follow the same procedures.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ lb. of flour sifted with   
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder   
  • 1 cup of sugar   
  • ½ cup of toasted almonds, minced very fine using a knife   
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon   
  • 2finely ground cloves   
  • ½ cup melted butter or of lard (½ lb.)  
  • 1 cup of water to add little at a time.  

 

Place the flour in a mound and make a well in the center, add all the ingredients and only ½ cup of water. Briefly knead to combine and add more water or flour to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough.

Rest dough at room temperature about 1 hour and using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into various shapes – triangles, trees, rounds, “S”, fish, etc. - and place into a greased pans 2 inches apart. Decorate the cookies with a sweet glaze, made with confectionary sugar stirred together with egg white and bake the mustazzoli at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside is a golden color.

 

In the countryside the recipe is modified with the following components.

 

Ingredients:

  •   lb. of flour sifted with   
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder   
  • ½  cup of sugar   
  • 2finely ground cloves  
  • ¼  teaspoon of cinnamon   
  • ½ cup olive oil  
  • ½ cup of must  
  • 2 medium eggs lightly beaten  
  •   

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar cloves and cinnamon, place it on a working surface, make a mound and scoop out a well in the middle. Pour into the well the olive oil, the must and the eggs; keep turning until all the flour is absorbed. Knead to combine and add more must or flour to obtain a mixture of fairly malleable dough easy to work and with the consistency of bread dough.

Rest the dough for about 1 hour at room temperature.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to ½ of an inch thick and cut into various shapes. Place the mustazzoli into greased pans, 2 inches apart and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are a pale golden color so they remain chewable soft on the inside and lightly crispy on the outside.