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In three months time, I look forward to sampling many different and varied gelati, to sipping an espresso as I watch the Roman people go by and  most of all, I look forward to visiting as many pasticcerie and discovering the sweet tastes of Rome. Yes, in three months time I leave for a  visit to Italy. For me, it will be a time of rediscovering my roots, a time to embrace aunts, uncles and cousins, and a time to introduce  my children to their heritage. And while pasticcerie displays are luscious and elaborate it is the home sweets that are made with love and tradition that tug at the heart strings.
These Roman Chocolate cookies from A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent are just that – simple, delicious and a favourite of everyones. I mean, it’s chocolate plus chocolate, what’s not to love? On this occasion I used vanilla icing but a chocolate icing would just double the love!
These cookies disappeared very quickly. Chocolate has that effect on my family. I suspect it will on yours, too!

Roman Chocolate Cookies
Makes 36 cookies 
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons allpurpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped medium fine
1 cup choc chips
2 cups icing sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
coloured sprinkles.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, spices and salt.
With  a whisk attachtement on the an electric mixer beat the eggs on medium speed until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the eggs thicken and become pale. While beating, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. On low speed mix in milk and vanilla. Then with a wooden spoon add the flour mixture in two installments, stirring until smooth. Stir through the walnuts and choc chips. The dough will be soft and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
 Heat oven to 350F/160C and line two large baking trays with non stick baking paper. Take rounded teaspoonsful of the dough and roll between your palms into a ball. Set the balls on the prepared trays allowing room for spreading and rising. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They will almost double in size and form a few cracks. Cool on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Mix the icing ingredients together to form a thick but spreadable icing. Spread a small amount on each cookie and decorate with coloured sprinkles.
Prepare to see the cookie tin empty very quickly. 

Once upon a time our world of baking was limited…
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