Tetú or toto, is the Sicilian name for these delicious Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies. They are soft chocolatey cookies flavored with warm spices including cinnamon and clove and topped with a simple glaze. Every bite will reward you with chocolate chips, nuts, and fruit. These cookies are a holiday season favorite in Italian homes!
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 Italian chocolate 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.
Table of contents
LET’S MAKE THESE ITALIAN CHOCOLATE 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
- Use large room-temperature eggs.
- Vegetable or canola oil can be used. I would not recommend using Olive oil as it will change the taste of the cookies.
- Shortening – You can use either 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 tastes great.
- Sift the all-purpose flour and baking powder together so that the baking powder is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING ITALIAN CHOCOLATE SPICE COOKIES
- Make the dough: Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer beat the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. Mix 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
Use room temperature ingredients so that everything blends together easily.
I use a small cookie scoop to help me form the dough into similar-sized 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 it a little spicier.
STORING AND FREEZING ITALIAN CHOCOLATE SPICE COOKIES
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!
Tetu or Italian Chocolate Spice cookies are sometimes called Italian meatball cookies. Because of their round shape and chocolatey color, they resemble meatballs. Makes sense!
The cookie dough for these cookies can be made up to a day ahead. Place the dough in an air-tight container or cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about an hour before baking the 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!
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.