Sometimes called mustazzoli or mustazzuole, depending on the dialect, mostaccioli are super hard biscuits that are popular at Christmas and often shaped like fish (an ancient symbol of Christianity). They come in many other shapes, some quite elaborate, including baskets, horses and hearts as well as a simple S. These simple Calabrian honey biscuits are a specialty of the small town of Soriano Calabro where they’re often decorated with strips of red, green or silver foil or coloured black by using a very dark caramel in the dough. Some recipes for mostaccioli add a little warm wine must to the dough, which may have been traditional when most households made their own wine as the name likely derives from the Latin word for must. Spices like cinnamon and cloves are optional, but I like the extra dimension they add. The egg wash glaze is also optional – if using it, only brush it on for the last couple of minutes of baking or it will burn before the biscuits are cooked. Mostaccioli become very hard once they’re cool so take care not to break a tooth! I think they’re best softened by dunking in coffee, and some people warm them lightly in a low oven or very briefly in the microwave. They keep for weeks in an airtight container in a cool place. See the video below for another delicious Italian biscuit to have with coffee.
Makes 10 biscuits
Share page on: