Grandma Josie’s Chocolate Spice Cookies, revised

This is the week for family recipes, I suppose. First the cuccidati, and today the chocolate cookies. So, along with the tradition of fig cookies at Christmas, we also had these cookies. They are also quite prevalent on St. Joseph’s Altars. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I can’t leave well-enough alone, meaning if there is a recipe to be tweaked, I will be tweak it. And, so it goes for today’s post. These cookies were originally made with shortening. I always liked the flavor of cinnamon and cloves, but the texture was dry and crumbly. Additionally, the glaze contained anise extract; in fact, at times, my grandma referred to these as anise cookies because of the glaze. My tweaks are the substitution of butter, the addition of nutmeg and brown sugar, and increasing the amount of cocoa. I use the glaze recipe for the cuccidati, doubled, but instead of vanilla extract, I add 1/8 teaspoon anise extract. If you’re not a fan of anise, make the glaze with vanilla extract, the flavor is still complementary. 
So, the cookies. I remember one of my cousins telling me he’d break these cookies into pieces, place them in a bowl, pour milk over them, and eat them like cereal. They were dry, so I see the attraction. My version produces a moister cookie while still preserving the spicy flavors.  The cookie is not very sweet, so I think the glaze is necessary.  Additionally, the entire cookie glazed, not just the tops.  I grew up eating these, and I love them.  Just like the cuccidati, they are a traditional Christmas cookie in my family, and it’s not Christmas without them.
Next week, I’ll share another cookie from my mother-in-law, Miss Nettie. If you are a nut lover, particularly a pecan lover, you’re going to love next week’s cookie!

Grandma Josie’s Chocolate Cookies, revised Printable recipe
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
Anise Glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, spices, and salt; set aside.
Melt butter in microwave; add milk and instant coffee, then return to microwave for another 60 seconds. Stir until coffee has dissolved.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract). Mix until well combined, 3 minutes.
Add butter and coffee mixture to egg mixture, mix until incorporated.
With mixer on low, add flour & cocoa mixture, then pecans, until dough clumps around paddle and is well-mixed.
Using a small cookie scoop, portion dough, then roll into a smooth ball, about 1″ apart.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 9-10 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before glazing.

Anise Glaze
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons whole milk
1/8 teaspoon anise extract
Powdered sugar

Microwave butter and milk together until butter melts.
Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Add anise extract.
Once the cookies are cooled, immerse the entire cookie into the glaze and place on a rack to dry.
Allow glaze to set before serving.

Yield: 6 dozen cookies

Linked to Homemade Holiday Recipe Swap, Family Friendly Fridays, Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap, Feature Yourself Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Food on Fridays, Remodelaholic Recipes, Hearth and Soul, Cooking Thursday


24 thoughts on “Grandma Josie’s Chocolate Spice Cookies, revised

  1. Louanne,
    how wonderful to have a cookie tradition in your family – I didn't grow up with one but am trying to give that gift to my children. I know my husband would LOVE these cookies – he adores anise flavored food. Thanks for sharing this with the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  2. Okay, it's settled. You always have the most fabulous cookies!! I want a Christmas tray from you! Thanks for sharing these beauties w/ the hearth and soul hop this week, Louanne 😀

  3. Hi there!
    I found you through the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop. This recipe reminds me of something we have at Christmas time. I'm so happy to try your recipe. Thanks! Love your blog! 🙂

  4. These look delightful … and I'm amazed that you already know what u'll be making for next weeks cookie … i usually can't decide right till the very end – thursday or sometimes even early friday … hee hee hee

  5. These look soo amazing. The type of cookie that you start eating one and then can't stop…lol. And I know I would not because I love spiced cookies. By the way, for some reason every time I look for your blog, I end up in one of the ones where you are a team member, therefore this is the first time I am actually visiting your blog 🙂 Angie

  6. Oh my gosh! These look delicious and addicting all at once! I love how they're just about the right size to pop in your mouth. I could definitely sit down with a plate and be happy.

    Thanks so much for linking up to Family Friendly Fridays and have a great weekend!

  7. Louanne, These cookies look dynamite! 🙂 Thanks for reminding me about anise extract; I'm going to have to bake with it because I love it!

  8. Louanne, these look scrumptious! In the first picture they actually look a little like donut holes. I just love the glaze. They really look yummy!

  9. Those look like the “mostaccioli” cookies of my youth – same idea, and yes, crumbly!

    But I think your revised version is better, because I agree that a moister cookie is better.

  10. I love tweaking recipes too…it's so much fun to play with flavors! I love combo of the spices and chocolate in these…and anise glaze…yum!

  11. These look like little spicy cookie bites of heaven! I love that you switched from shortening to butter because I just HATE working with shortening. These sound great!

  12. Nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon are the right ingredients for success. They look delicious. I love family recipes, especially when they are adapted to today.

  13. Yum, I think it's great when people tweak recipes and make them even better. These sound delicious especially since chocolate and spices go amazingly well together.

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