As spring and summer approach, my schedule gets increasingly busy. I have a number of projects that go on during the summer, plus events, the garden, etc things can get a bit stressful and I’m a stress eater. I’m trying desperately to cut down on my sugar intake and am searching for alternatives to my stress cravings to wean me off the sugar hits. (If you ever want to get rid of a bag of chocolate-covered almonds quickly, just put it near me.)
Not all desserts are meant to be tooth-achingly sweet. And old Italian recipes are prime examples of slightly sweet treats that meet the sweet tooth craving without going clowingly over the edge. As a matter of necessity of course, many of the old recipes are sweetened by nothing more than grape must or honey, like this family favourite is. Mostaccioli were made by my grandmother and great aunts regularly and while they look like biscotti, they are soft and moist as they don’t go through the second baking process.
The word “mostaccioli” can refer to cookies, although you may find a few recipes for it that include a chocolate covering, but also pasta that is commonly referred to as “penne.” For me the name refers just to these simple Calabrese cookies that have always been on our table.
1 kg honey
1 kg of flour (or just under)
6 egg yolks
1 tsp baking soda
Stir the baking soda into 950g of flour and set aside. Keep the remaining 50g of flour to use on your wooden board. Place your egg yolks into a mixing bowl. Break up the egg yolks gently with a fork and add in honey until slightly combined. Add the flour to the egg mixture and combine by hand or with a dough hook.
When combined, turn out on to a floured wooden board. Using a scraper, fold in the remaining flour as needed, but not making the dough to hard.
Form the dough into a log on a baking sheet. To even out the log, you can wet your hands slightly to shape it. Bake at 325 degrees Farhenheit for 35-40 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before slicing. The cookies should be moist and chewy. They can keep in an air-tight container for about a week or can be frozen.