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 These cookies were originally made with shortening.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. I used butter rather than shortening, and sometimes I used vanilla in the glaze rather than anise. 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.  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

4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder, optional
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups nuts, toasted (pecans or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast nuts for in oven until fragrant, 7-8 minutes, remove, cool and coarsely chop; set aside.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, spices, espresso powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating between additions, finally, add vanilla.
With mixer on low, add flour & cocoa mixture, then pecans, until dough clumps around paddle and is well-mixed.
Chill dough for at least 30 minutes; overnight is fine, too.
Using a small cookie scoop, portion dough, then roll into a smooth ball, about 1″ apart.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before glazing.

Anise Glaze
2 cups Glazing sugar or powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon anise extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dip cookies into glaze and place on lined sheet until dry.
Cookies freeze well; allow them to come back to room temperature on the counter.

Yield: 6 dozen cookies


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

  1. what about the 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream you don’t say when to add it to the chocolate spice cookies

  2. I had an Aunt Josie who made the very same cookies and I’ve been looking for the recipe for years. She also made the fig cookies and would pack them in wax paper lined shoe boxes and gave them out. Thanks for sharing.

  3. 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!

  4. 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 😀

  5. 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! 🙂

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

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

  15. 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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