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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mostazzoli - Italian Honey Cookies

There are 3 recipes cards with a total of 4 recipes for these cookies in Grandma's collection.  Since I've been experimenting with honey a lot lately, I thought I'd give them a try.  They're a cinch to make - they really go together quickly.  I found them unremarkable, but curiously addictive too - like a very sweet breadstick.  I'd be interested to see what you think of them, so please do share if you try them out!

Recipe Card #1 
Recipe A (front of card )
2# honey - bring to a boil - add flour & cool.  Dough is dry.  Add 4 egg yolks.  Add 1tsp cinnamon & salt to honey.  Shape into sticks.  Brush egg glaze on top.  Bake at 375 degrees 15-20 minutes - when glaze is brown, they are cooked.  Cut on slant before they cool.

Recipe B (back of card)
1 pt honey - 2 cups
2 eggs - beaten
2-3 tbs oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp. [baking] soda
5-6 cups flour
pinch of salt

Note:  No directions were given for recipe B.  On recipe A, I think the "#" sign, is literally standing for pound - but 2 pounds of honey seems like an awful lot to try to work with.  Also, no mention is made of the quantity for the flour.   Has anyone in the family had experience with these to help verify the amount to use? 

Recipe Card #2
Italian Honey Cookies - Mrs. Louis Mazzuca

1 C Honey
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 C sugar
Heat until honey & sugar are dissolved.  Cool to lukewarm.  Add 1 beaten egg yolk, 1/8 t soda.
Add 2 1/2-3 C flour until a medium dough is acquired by kneading.  Shape into bread sticks.  Bake 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then 375 degrees for an additional 5 minutes.  Cut into 1/2 inch pieces while warm.

Recipe Card #3
Mostacioli (Honey Cookies)

1 pt. honey - 2 cups
2 eggs - beaten
2-3 tbs. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. [baking] soda
Pinch Salt
5-6 C Flour
Heat the honey - add eggs & other ingredients.  Knead dough until smooth.  Roll ropes size of your finger.  Cut in little pieces.  Bake

Note: Recipe card #3 gives the most instructions with regards to size & shape of cookies, but leaves out the baking instructions - maybe Grandma was interrupted before she finished copying it down...

I made the smaller batch from recipe card #2, but I used a whole egg instead of just the yolks & I did add cinnamon, although I only added 1/4 tsp - which wasn't enough to really taste.  I just realized too, as I typed these up, that I misread the sugar content in that recipe and only put in 1/8 tsp - I thought it was an odd amount but somehow missed it was supposed to be 1/8 cup!  No wonder they are unremarkable.  I'll try again with the proper quantity of sugar & let you all know how they turn out.  Also, I think I will go ahead and use the egg yolk, but brush the sticks with the egg white prior to baking per Recipe card #1, recipe A.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Italian Meatballs - for a Big Group

With wedding, graduation, reunion, etc. season upon us, I thought these recipes for large batches of meatballs were appropriate. 

The first recipe is dated 1967 - Grandma wrote "Mary Santilli & I made these for the St. Leo's Mother's Club Smorgasboard.  They were very good".  The second recipe is noted "This is the recipe I used when I was the Chairman for the annual St. Leo's Spaghetti dinner.  They were very good" and is dated 1969 - just 2 years later.  I'd love to find a recipe for Grandma's everyday meatballs - but none has turned up and it's likely she made them from memory & "eyeballing" the ingredients (ala Rachel Ray).  She always made them very large (or so it seemed when I was a little girl) and they were very tasty!

The two recipes are really similar, if you have the opportunity to make them, please let us know how they turn out!

Italian Meatballs (1967)

18lbs. pork
54lbs. beef
3 large bunches of parsley
(14) 9 loaves of french bread
4 1/2 dozen eggs (6 dz)
5 cups of cheese (4 1/2)
garlic to taste

(approx. 1180 meat balls)

Chris' note:  My guess is that the notes in parenthesis are most likely adjustments Grandma made.

Italian Meat Balls (1969)

15lbs. pork
50lbs. ground beef
6 large bunches parsley
20 loaves dry french bread (soaked)
6 doz. eggs
7 c. cheese - Roman
3 large heads garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Chris' note: I think "Roman" cheese refers to Romano.  I'm not sure I would soak the bread (although it might be delicious soaked in vino!), I think it would work well to tear it up a bit, then pulse it in a food processor until it becomes coarse crumbs. 

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Recent Experiences in Baking with Honey

Sorry for the long interruption in entries folks!  I'll post another recipe soon.  In the meantime, I've been busy baking up lots of cookies - including some of my own Biscotti combinations.  It's been lots of fun and I've been experimenting with using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. 

So far, I've had the most success substituting honey for processed sugars in oatmeal-based cookies as the honey adds quite a bit of extra moisture and also does not melt during baking as sugar does.  This means your recipes will need to be adjusted and if you only add flour to counterract the extra moisture - you'll end up with cookies that have a cake-like or muffin-like texture.  I've found it works best to increase the oats to the extent that you do not need to add any flour or only 1/2 to 1 cup additional flour.  I've also had success with increasing the baking soda - but have only done so in recipes with 1 teaspoon or less of baking soda.  Finally, I've found that the cookies hold their shape and do not spread much, if at all, so if you're using a recipe for drop cookies or cookies that are rolled into a ball, but not flattened, you'll need to flatten them.

Until next time - happy baking!