Home » Cookie Recipes » Mustaccioli Cookies

Mustaccioli Cookies

Mustaccioli Cookies are going to be your favorite festive recipe! It’s got everything you want in a Christmas cookie – warming spices, honey, chocolate, and fragrant orange.

This recipe includes lots of suggestions for substitutions and variations. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get the coffee ready!

Mustaccioli cookies on a white embossed plate.
Chocolate, spices and nuts – what a combination!

Mustaccioli Cookies are also known as mostaccioli which should not be confused with the pasta! Variations of these Christmas cookies can be found in most of the southern regions of Italy where they were traditionally prepared with what was at hand. This means that you won’t need any fancy equipment to bring this holiday favorite together.

There are many Christmas cookies that I love – Orange Cranberry Biscotti, Pignoli Cookies and Cuccidati. But these Mustaccioli Cookies can’t be compared! They are nutty, flavored with honey, lightly spiced, and dipped in rich dark chocolate. The perfect addition to your holiday cookie platter!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Warming spices – Mustaccioli Cookies are loaded with a delicious mix of warming spices, also known as “Pisto”. The smell of sweet spices will fill your kitchen as you bake these traditional Italian Cookies. 
  • Traditional – This recipe for Mustaccioli Cookies are from the region of Naples. For many years, these spiced cookies have been enjoyed by Italians for Christmas and now you can enjoy them too!
  • Egg free – Naturally egg free, this recipe is perfect for your family members and friends who suffer from allergies.
  • Versatile – This recipe is so versatile and can be easily adjusted to suit what you have in your pantry. I’ve included lots of substitutions and variations so you can make this recipe with almost whatever you have on hand. 

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.


Ingredients for this recipe as in the recipe card.
  • Flour – all purpose flour is fine alternatively use Italian 00 flour. Not self rising flour.
  • Ground almonds – skin on or off is fine.
  • Sugar – regular white granulated sugar for added sweetness along with honey.
  • Honey – choose your favorite kind of honey. I love orange blossom honey. 
  • Cocoa powder – look for unsweetened cocoa powder which is available at all supermarkets. my preference however is Dutch-processed cocoa powder which has a smoother flavor. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil – if you only have regular olive oil, feel free to use that. 
  • Rum – my preference is a rich dark rum. 
  • Spices – ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg which in Italy are sold as a mix called “pisto” which is specially prepared for Mustoccioli cookies. 
  • Baking powder – be sure to use fresh baking powder for this Mustaccioli recipe. If you’ve had baking powder in the pantry for too long, it can use it’s rising power. When in doubt, just buy a fresh box. 
  • Orange – you’ll just need some freshly grated orange zest. 
  • Chocolate – Use semisweet or bittersweet whichever you prefer. Baking chocolate will set easily otherwise you will need to temper the chocolate for it to set.


Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Spread the almonds out onto a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes or until smelly toasty and fragrant.

Remove and allow to cool before chopping finely but not like ground almonds. Roasting the almonds is optional but adds flavor.

A variety of dry ingredients in a bowl.

Combine the flour with the sugar, sifted cocoa, chopped almonds, spices, grated orange peel, baking powder and salt.

Water being poured into a bowl of cookie ingredients.

Add the honey, extra virgin olive oil, dark rum, and water.

Brown dough being mixed with a red spatula.

Combine for form a sticky dough then cover and chill in the fridge.

Brown cookie dough being covered by a sheet of parchment paper.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of non stick parchment paper.

Rolled out brown cookie dough being cut into diamond shapes.

Cut the dough into diamond shapes, arrange on a lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven.

Diamond shaped brown cookies being dipped in melted chocolate.

Dip the baked and cooled cookies in melted chocolate. Just dip the tops, if you prefer.

Hint: Don’t over bake these cookies because they’ll become very hard. Ovens vary greatly. Bake one tester cookie to determine the best cooking time in your oven.


  • Water – you can substitute orange juice, mandarin juice, or even cooled coffee. 
  • Orange zest – orange extract or oil could be easily substituted in these Mustaccioli Cookies.
  • Rum – if you don’t like the taste of rum, use another liqueur that you prefer. Amaretto, whisky or brandy. Alternatively, rum extract is a great alcohol-free option.  


  • Chocolate – use white or milk chocolate.
  • Chocolate decoration – for a festive variation, dip half of the cookies in white chocolate and the other half in dark chocolate. 
  • Nutty – change the flavor of these Italian cookies by using hazelnuts instead of almonds.


You don’t need any fancy cookie cutters for this delicious Italian cookie. The main pieces of equipment you’ll need to make these mostaccioli cookies are a large mixing bowl, a rolling pin and a good knife. A clean ruler is handy.


You can store Mustaccioli Cookies in an airtight container at room termperature for up to 1 week. 

If you need to store these Italian Cookies longer than 1 week, I recommend freezing them. Unglazed Mustaccioli cookies store quite well in the freezer. When you’re ready to use the cookies, remove from the freezer and once thawed, dip into the melted chocolate. 

Top tip

Close up of chocolate coated, diamond shaped cookie.

If you want crunchier Mustaccioli Cookies, simply leave them in the oven for a few extra minutes of baking. 

This cookie dough can be quite sticky and difficult to handle. So you must allow some time for the Mustaccioli dough to cool in the refrigerator, preferably overnight. When rolling out the dough, lightly flour the surface and your rolling pin. 

Italian Mostaccioli cookies are made using a Christmas spice mix called pisto. I understand that not everyone can find this ready-made spice mix, so my recipe calls for the individual spices to replicate this. Of course, if you can get pisto, feel free to use it in the place of the spices.

Dipping into the chocolate is the trickiest part. Be sure to have chocolate completely melted. Use baking chocolate otherwise you’ll need to temper it to set. For an easier alternative, dip just the tops or drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.


What is the history of Mostaccioli Cookies?

The name Mustaccioli or Mostaccioli comes from the Italian word “mosto cotto” which translates to cooked must or grape must. The sweet grape “must” or fresh grape juice was used to sweeten these deliciously festive cookies. 

How do Italians pronounce Mostaccioli? 

In Italian it is pronounced muss-tah-chee-OH-lee.

What is the most popular Italian Cookie?

Biscotti (also known as Cantucci) would have to be the most popular, but there are so many delicious Italian cookies like Mustaccioli Cookies or Italian Sesame Cookies that are not as common. This is your sign to try one of these under-discovered but delicious Italian cookies!

Serving Suggestions

Chocolate coated, diamond shaped cookies on a plate with one cut in half.

Mustaccioli Cookies make the perfect edible Christmas gift! Wrap them up in some clear cellophane and tie them together with a beautiful red ribbon for a thoughtful present. They also make a wonderful addition to a Christmas Cookie exchange! 

Italian Peach Cookies
Italian Butter Cookies
Coffee Cookies
Norwegian Cookies 
Almond Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Mustaccioli cookies on a white embossed plate.

Mustaccioli Cookies Recipe

Mustaccioli Cookies (or Mostaccioli Cookies) are a traditional Italian Christmas recipe from the southern region of Italy. This variation is from Naples and consists of a spiced, cocoa cookies dipped in chocolate.
5 from 45 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings:20 cookies
Author: Marcellina


  • 2 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
  • cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (75 grams) almonds
  • 3 tablespoons (15grams/1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (75 grams) honey
  • cup (80mls) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 orange grated zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) bittersweet chocolate more if needed

To Finish the Cookies


    • Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Spread the almonds out onto a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes or until smelly toasty and fragrant.
    • Remove and allow to cool before chopping finely but not like ground almonds.
    • In a large bowl mix the flour with the sugar, sifted cocoa, chopped almonds, spices, grated orange peel, baking powder and salt. Add the honey, extra virgin olive oil, dark rum, and water. Combine and knead until you have a smooth, soft but not sticky dough.
    • Cover with cling film and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge but also overnight if desired.
    • Before rolling out the cookies, preheat the oven at 350ºF (180°C) and line two large baking sheets with non stick parchment paper.
    • Remove the dough from the fridge, flatten a little with your hand and dust lightly on both sides with flour. Roll out the dough between two sheets of non stick parchment paper to a thickness of about ½ inch (7-8mm).
    • Cut out the shapes using a 2 inch (5 cm) diamond mold or cut the dough using a knife and a ruler.
    • Transfer the cookies to a baking tray lined with baking paper, placing them slightly apart.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 for or 12-14 minutes for harder.
    • When ready transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
    • To glaze the mustaccioli cookies, cut the chocolate into small pieces and then melt in the microwave or in a bain-marie. Use two forks to dip the cookies into the melted chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip off then put them back on the parchment paper or on a wire rack to allow the chocolate to set.


    Tips for Success
    • Over baked cookies will be very hard and ovens vary so baking time can differ. If you’re not sure, bake one cookie to test the time required in your oven.
    • This cookie dough can be sticky. Be sure to chill it. If you have trouble rolling it out, sprinkle with a little extra flour.
    • The traditional spice for these cookies is called “pisto”. If you have access to it, substitute the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for “pisto”.
    • When dipping the cookies, be sure to have chocolate completely melted. I use baking chocolate otherwise it well need to tempered to set.
    • A alternative to completely coating the cookies in chocolate is to dip half or just the top in chocolate. Or drizzle with chocolate.
    Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

    Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

    Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 0.2mg | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutritional Disclaimer

    Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating


    1. 5 stars
      we made these cookies for the babies—kneading in extra flour so they would be tough and the little ones would chew and chew, no pacifiers in our house, just well loved, wet cookies. I love your recipes, thank you for the wonderful memories. Happy Holidays!! and good health. love, lyn

      1. Mary, I’ve never tried making these without nuts but I do think it would work. The dough may need a little less water so just add half of the water then add a teaspoon at a time until you have a soft dough. Hope that helps.