Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chocolate Spice Balls

As with the Italian white knot cookies, there are many different recipes for Italian Chocolate Spice Balls. This one is by far the best that I have ever tasted, and has the "Angelo" seal of approval. Angelo is my brother's grandson. At the tender age of about 20 months, his Papa (my brother) gave him one of these cookies to eat. He stunned everyone when he commented "Um,mmm mmm, mmm mmm, mmm mmm!!!" So take it from Angelo -- these are the best.

5 lb. flour
2 lb. sugar
1 lb. Crisco
3 Tblsp. cinnamon
1 Tblsp. allspice
4 Tblsp. baking powder
2 c. grape jelly
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
4 c. brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dissolve the grape jelly, Crisco, sugar and cocoa in hot coffee over a medium heat and then set aside to cool. Combine flour, cinnamon, allspice and baking powder, then add the nuts. Add the cooled coffee mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with your hands until a dough forms. It is imperative that you wait for the coffee mixture to be completely cooled or you will have a very sticky mess and will not be able to proceed. (I tried once to add flour until I could roll the dough into balls and was able to proceed, but the cookies did not come out rounded -- they came out like flat pancakes. I think that any heat from the coffee mixture changes the composition of the flour mixture so that the final product is adversely affected.) Form into balls the size of a walnut and bake on greased cookie sheets for 8 minutes. Overbaking makes them very dry, so watch carefully. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.

Make frosting with powdered sugar and water -- not too thin or thick. Take a cookie in one hand; dip the other hand in frosting and "paint" a glaze all over the cookie. Place in a single layer on wax or parchment paper and allow to dry completely (overnight) before storing in air-tight containers. You will have to turn the cookies after a few hours or so in order for the glaze on the bottom to dry. Make sure that the frosting is totally dry before storing these cookies or they will get soggy when stored.

A lot of work, but well worth the effort!

We have one more of my favorite Italian Christmas Cookie recipes to go (sesame seed cookies) which I will post next month, and then on to Italian Easter Cookies and Bread!