Family Friendly Recipes

Cocoa Cookies (Italian Cocoa Spice Cookies)

Cocoa Cookies (Italian Cocoa Spice Cookies)
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Cocoa Cookies (Italian Cocoa Spice Cookies)

Tetù (Sicilian Chocolate Spice Cookies)

My cookie factory is in full swing for the holidays!  I think these are my favorite Italian Cocoa cookies!  Rich cocoa and warm spices with a light icing on top…so good!  These drop cookies are really simple and quick to make.  They are very popular for the holidays and celebrations, and you will find them on any Italian Sweet Table.

The recipe was originally from my Mother’s cousin Shirley Strada back in 1975.  Shirley’s recipe called for enough flour as it takes.  I can’t tell you how many times I made the recipe until I figured out what worked best.  I have updated the recipe to include an amount for the flour and changed the spice amounts slightly.

Shirley Strada

Additionally, this cookie is traditionally covered with an icing on top.  However, I have also seen the cookie rolled in confectioner’ sugar and baked for a crinkle top.  Either way they are a wonderful cookie for the holidays.

This cookie also uses shortening instead of butter.  Why use shortening instead of butter?  Shortening yields lighter-textured baked cookie.  With the large amount of flour and cocoa, that helps this cookie stay light.  Additionally, butter melts at a lower temperature than shortening, meaning it will spread more as it bakes.  For this cookie we are looking for a nice dome, so when you want a cookie to hold their shape and rise, shortening is preferable over butter.

Our family recipe doesn’t add any orange or walnuts.  However, I have seen variations with these ingredients added and have eaten a few with the orange.  They are also quite tasty.  If you add orange to the dough, you can also add it to the glaze.

Cocoa Cookies


NOTE:  Make sure your spices are fresh to ensure the flavor of each spice comes through.  I use Saigon Cinnamon since it is a more intense flavor.  You can use regular cinnamon if you prefer.  Also, I use Droste Cocoa Powder.  It is a Dutch dark chocolate Cocoa powder and gives the cookies a nice, dark chocolate look with a great flavor.

I can’t wait for you to try these wonderful Cocoa Cookies! Italian Cocoa CookiesIf you like our family’s Cocoa Cookies (Italian Cocoa Spice Cookies) recipe, please comment below.  If you made it, post your wonderful images on Instagram and tag me. Don’t forget to go back to the The Finished Dish’s Home Page, scroll down on the right side and subscribe.  You will be emailed each time I post a new recipe.


Cocoa Cookies (Italian Cocoa Spice Cookies)

November 28, 2019
: 10 1/2 dozen

Soft, cake-like cocoa cookies with just the right amount of spice


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder (heaping)
  • 2 Tablespoons ground Saigon cinnamon (heaping)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice (heaping)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves (heaping)
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Step 2 In a stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar together.
  • Step 3 Add in the eggs and mix well.
  • Step 4 In a large bowl, add the flour, cocoa and spices together. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Step 5 Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the shortening, sugar and egg mixture.
  • Step 6 Mix well, but do not overmix.
  • Step 7 Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill dough for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  • Step 8 Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Roll into 1″ to 1 1/2″ balls and place each cookie on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
  • Step 9 Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 to 12 minutes.
  • Step 10 Make the glaze while the cookies are baking.
  • Step 11 Once the cookies have been baked, place them on a wire rack to cool.
  • Step 12 You can glaze the cookies once they have cooled.
  • Step 13 Allow glaze to dry thoroughly.
  • Step 14 Store cookies in a cookie tin that has been lined with wax or parchment paper.





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