Mustacciuoli Napoletani

Neapolitan Mostaccioli

These iced biscotti are flavored with mixed spices. The chocolate icing is simple to prepare, and since it is used to cover all the exposed surfaces of the mustacciuoli, it helps to keep them from becoming excessively dry.

Ingredients

    Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of ammonia or ½ teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda

    Chocolate Icing

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup sugar

Method

For the dough, combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour the water into a small bowl and stir in the remaining dough ingredients. Stir the water mixture into the flour and sugar and continue mixing until the dough begins to hold together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Do not knead too much or the dough will be difficult to roll and the resulting mustacciuoli will be tough. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, flour it lightly, and roll it out ¼ inch thick, to a 12 × 9-inch rectangle. With a floured knife or cutting wheel, cut the dough into 6 strips, each 2 × 9 inches. Cut each strip diagonally at 2-inch intervals to make 6 diamond shapes, about 36 in all. Do not mass the scraps back together but bake them as they are. Transfer the mustacciuoli to paper-lined cookie sheets and bake them in the middle level of a 325-degree oven for about 20 minutes, until they are very lightly colored. Slide the papers off the pans and cool the mustacciuoli on racks.

For the icing, chop the chocolate finely and set aside. Combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the mixture around in the pan to make sure the chocolate is immersed in the syrup. Allow to stand 3 minutes. Then whisk the icing smooth and paint it on the underside of each mustacciuolo, using a brush. Allow the mustacciuoli to dry for 5 minutes, turn them over, and brush the tops with the icing. If the icing becomes firm, add 1 tablespoon water and reheat it gently over low heat, stirring constantly.

Allow the mustacciuoli to dry at room temperature for 1 hour, then pack them in a tin between layers of wax paper. They keep well.

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