Tetú, is the Sicilian name for these delicious Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies. They are soft chocolatey cookies flavored with warm spices including cinnamon and clove. With every bite you will be rewarded with chocolate chips, nuts and fruit. A simple glaze is the traditional topping for these holiday cookies. Make them once and they will become a holiday season favorite!
These delicious cookies are traditionally made for All Saints Day in Sicily, but they have become a staple on the Italian Christmas cookie tray in most other parts of the world, especially North America. Christmas time is not the only time you will see these little cookies. They are also included with other popular Italian cookie recipes, such as pignoli cookies, Ricotta cookies, Anginetti and Italian Butter Cookies , as part of special occasion celebrations all year long.
Let’s make these chocolate Italian cookies
The list of ingredients for these Sicilian chocolate spice cookies is long, but everything is easy to find and the recipe is really simple to make.
Ingredients and notes
- Eggs should large and at room temperature.
- Vegetable or canola oil can be used. I would not recommend using Olive oil as it will change the taste of the cookies.
- Use regular or butter flavored shortening.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips are both delicious in this recipe.
- Any flavor of jam or preserves that you like works fine. I like berry flavors, but orange or apricot also taste great.
- Sift the all purpose flour and baking powder together so that the baking powder is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Make the dough: Using a electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. Mix in the milk, vegetable oil, shortening and cocoa powder into the egg mixture. Then add the remaining ingredients except the flour mixture. Blend well and add the sifted flour and baking powder to form a chocolate dough. The cookie dough should be soft but not sticky.
- Roll the cookies into 1 1/2 ” inch balls and place them about 2 inches apart on a baking mat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies are lightly browned. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting
- Frost the cookies: In a medium bowl whisk the confectioners’ or icing sugar, milk and vanilla until it is smooth. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and place them on a wire cooling rack until the frosting is dry.
Tips and variations
I use a small cookie scoop to help me form the dough into similar size cookies.
We have always made these with a simple white frosting, but chocolate frosting can be substituted if you want more chocolate flavor. Feel free to decorate these cookies with candy sprinkles for a more festive look.
A little nutmeg can be added to the batter to make them a little spicier.
Storing and Freezing
These cookies can be stored for up to two weeks in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap and foil, and placed in a cool location. They can also be frozen after frosting them! This is perfect during the holidays when you have so many Christmas cookies to bake. Place them in an airtight freezer safe container lined with wax paper. The cookies can be stacked with wax paper between each layer. They will stay fresh for up to 2 months. Thaw them at room temperature before enjoying them with a cup of coffee!
In Italy the word for cookie is biscotto. This term is used to describe all cookies. In the US we use that term to describe a specific Italian cookie that has been baked twice.
The most common types of cookies are drop cookies, bar cookies, icebox cookies, pressed cookies, molded, and rolled cookies.
Have you tried this recipe?
I love to get your feedback so if you tried this or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below. I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!
You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for more recipes your family will love!
Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies (Tetú)
- 3 Eggs large
- ¾ cups Sugar
- ¾ cups Milk
- ½ cup Vegetable oil
- ½ cup Shortening
- 4 tbsp Cocoa powder unsweetened
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Almond extract
- ⅛ tsp Clove
- ½ Orange juice and zest
- ¼ cup Jam your favorite fruit jam or preserves
- ¾ cup Walnuts
- ½ cup Chocolate chips
- ½ cup Raisins
- 4 tsp Baking powder
- 4½ cups All purpose flour
- 2 cups Confectioners' sugar
- 3 tbsp Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- Combine eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well.
- Add milk, vegetable oil, shortening, and cocoa to the egg mixture and beat well, about 2 minutes. There may still be bits of shortening in the mixture.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients, except the flour mixture, beating until everything is well combined.
- Add the flour mixture and mix until the flour has been fully incorporated into the dough. The dough will be the consistency of a drop cookie but not sticky. It should hold it's shape when you roll it into a ball.
- Roll the dough into 1½" balls and place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes. The bottom of the cookie should be lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cookies should be completely cooled before frosting.
- Combine all of the frosting ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. The glaze should be pourable but not thin. If it is too thin, a tablespoon of confectioners sugar at a time until you get the desired consistency. If it is too thick, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
5 thoughts on “Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies (Tetú)”
Good Cookie. Not too sweet.
What is the 1/2 orange juice and zest?
That refers to the juice and zest of 1/2 and orange. I will clarify that in the recipe. Thanks for pointing that out.
My mom would make these! I loved them I will definitely try to make them. Wish me luck.
That is awesome. This recipe is pretty easy to make. Keep me posted on how they turn out!