These adorable little Italian cookies were a childhood favorite of mine, so I’m going to attempt to make some with a chocolatey twist, based on a recipe from this book:
Cute, huh? Now, I’m not sure if this book is available in Canada, considering that this is a translated copy that I bought in Italy, so I’ll try to provide pictures along the way.
1 1/4 cups (165 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (75 g) confectioners sugar
1/4 cup (25 g) cocoa powder
1/2 scant cup (100 g) unsalted butter
Vanilla powder (pinch)
So, what exactly is vanilla powder? When I first got this book, I had no idea, but it it’s used in almost every recipe. Because the book was originally written in Italian, I was a little worried that it wasn’t available in Canada. I asked my Nonna about it, and instead of just telling me, she went to the trouble of actually buying me some! Anyway, vanilla powder (front row, on the right), as you probably guessed, is a substitute for vanilla extract that is mixed in with the dry ingredients. It must only be used in small amounts, as the flavor is much stronger. I wish I knew the conversion rate, but unfortunately I haven’t experimented with it enough to know.
Step 1: Sift the flour, cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, salt, and vanilla powder together.
Step 2: Add the softened butter and rub into the dry ingredients by hand until the mixture becomes darker, soft, and crumbly.
Step 3: Add the egg and continue to mix until the crumbly mixture has become a smooth, slightly sticky dough.
Step 4: Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Step 5: Take the cookie dough out of the bowl and roll it into a rope. Should be slightly wider than the width of a finger.
Step 6: Cut the rope into equal pieces, about 6-7 cm long. You should get twelve of them.
Step 7: Place the dough pieces on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and form each one into an S shape.
Step 8: Bake at 350 F for 11-13 minutes, and let cool.
Step 9: Melt some dark chocolate over a double boiler (I used one bar of Bakers Dark Chocolate), transfer to a piping bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cookies.
And there you have it! These cookies are a bit denser than the store-bought ones, and they aren’t quite as sweet either, but they still seemed to go over well with my family, and I enjoyed them too.