Sicilian Chocolate Spice Cookies
Makes about 28 large cookies
These very chocolate cookies are flavored with holiday spices of cinnamon and cloves, and covered in a chocolate glaze.
1 cup plain tea biscuit cookies, ground into coarse crumbs
1–1¼ cups milk, plus an additional up to 2 cups
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup Crisco or lard, melted
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
7/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dark chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
1–1½ cups coarsely crushed pistachio nuts
1. Put the cookie crumbs in a medium bowl, just barely covering them with milk. Allow them to sit and soak until the crumbs have absorbed the milk, then stir well until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.
2. In a separate large bowl, mix together the ingredients from the flour through the baking powder. Add the milk-soaked crumbs to the mixture and combine well.
3. Add more milk into the batter, a little at a time, and—using a wooden spoon—stir until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick paste, like that of pastry cream. The amount of milk you add will depend on the type of cookie crumbs used, but the amount will likely be approximately 1½–2 cups. Look for a somewhat loose and creamy consistency that still holds its shape on a spoon, and is not runny or liquid. Let the batter rest for one hour. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
4. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a ¼-cup measure or scoop, form the batter into rounds, spacing them 1-inch apart.
5. Bake for approximately 10–15 minutes or until the tops of the cookies appear dry. Remove them from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.
6. Begin making the glaze only when the cookies have cooled and you are ready to frost them. To make the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter together using a double boiler on low heat, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate has completely melted and the consistency of the glaze is a thin liquid, remove it from the heat and pour into a bowl.
7. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze, coating the surface evenly, and then return the cookie to the cooling rack to dry. Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with some of the pistachio nuts while the glaze is still warm. Let cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
Note: These can be frozen for up to 2 months without the glaze, then glazed when defrosted. Or you can make these cookies a couple of days ahead, store them in an airtight container and glaze them several hours before serving.