Mostaccioli Cookies {Italian Gingerbread}

When I posted my cuccidati recipe last week I knew exactly what recipe would have to follow. Mostaccioli cookies, Italian gingerbread, are spiced cocoa gingerbread cookies encased in chocolate. See, while cuccidati are David’s favorite Italian Christmas cookies, these mostaccioli cookies were Mikey’s favorite.

It’s no surprise that Mikey and David couldn’t even agree on which cookie was the best during Christmas (for the record, I love ALL the Christmas cookies, and couldn’t possibly choose just one). For best friends, those two boys favorite past-time seemed to be ruffling each other’s feathers. And for two non-Italian New York Jewish boys, they had strong opinions on Italian Christmas cookies. Matthew has yet to taste either of these cookies. I’m very curious to know if he has a strong feeling for one over the other (we shall soon see!).

Now, I’m not taking sides because Michael was my husband BUT if I was really forced to choose, mostaccioli would be the winner for me. I love gingerbread. We already know this but if you didn’t think my crush could get any stronger, well—add some citrusy notes and dip the gingerbread in chocolate, and I’m weak in the knees.

What are mostaccioli cookies?

Mostaccioli remind me a lot of German gingerbread, in that they’re a soft chewy cookie, unlike American gingerbread which tends to be a crisper cookie. The flavors are also more subtle but in a sophisticated way, not subdued at all.

Mostaccioli {Italian Gingerbread} | In Jennies Kitchen

What spices do you use in mostaccioli cookie recipes?

Cloves and cinnamon are the most common spices used in making mostaccioli. I took a big liberty with this recipe and decided to swap in some Lebkuchengewürz spice mix. This was a total game changer, and I’m never looking back. The spices are enhanced with the addition of both lemon and orange zest. There’s also some grated chocolate in the dough which helps keep it chewy while also deepening the flavor.

Are mostaccioli easy to make?

Easy is a relative term. My pantry is very well-stocked, more so than the average person, so I tend to have all the ingredients on hand. It’s a lengthy list of ingredients. As with any recipe, read through it thoroughly so you don’t find yourself scrambling halfway through. Similar to German gingerbread, these cookies are meant to have staying power, and will keep for weeks in a sealed tin stored in a cool, dry spot of the house.

This week will prove to be a busy one here, so you might find yourself getting multiple recipes, all very timely for Christmas. It’s high time I share the best method for making shrimp cocktail, which is on the menu for us Thursday night. Struffoli will make it’s debut here in time for New Year’s Day which is when my aunt who passed away earlier this year always made them.

Even though we no longer celebrate Christmas, I’m really missing the big family gatherings from my younger days and feel the urge to connect with those memories in the kitchen.  My heart and mind lives with a pulse in two worlds. Last year I felt I had to choose. This year I’m just choosing to find peace and contentment in what makes me happy even if it all feels contradictory.

Mostaccioli {Italian Gingerbread} | In Jennies Kitchen

On the Sweet Side

10 years ago Mom’s Gingerbread Cookies | Peanut Butter Bon Bons | Brown Butter Apple Pie
5 years ago Italian Rainbow Cookies | Gingerbread Scones | How to Make Brown Sugar
1 year ago Funfetti Cookies | Black & White Cookies | Pie Fries

On the Savory Side

10 years ago Homemade Vegetable Wontons | Creamed Corn | Lentil Ricotta Meatballs
5 years ago Slow Cooker Lentil Soup | Seriously Delicious Ribs | Shredded Cabbage, Apple & Toasted Sesame Salad
1 year ago Butternut Squash Lasagna | Homemade Taralli | Easy Sheetpan Chicken Fajitas

Mostaccioli Cookies {Italian Gingerbread}

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 28 (3-inch diamond) cookies


  • For the cookies dough
  • 1 ¾ cups 227 gams all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 100 grams ground almonds (also labeled almond meal)
  • 3 tablespoons 18 grams cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves + ½ teaspoon cinnamon OR ¾ teaspoon Lebkuchengewürz
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 orange
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 40 grams bittersweet chocolate grated
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup 65 grams granulated natural cane sugar
  • cup 100 grams honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the glaze
  • 125 grams bittersweet chocolate chopped fine


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, ground almonds, cocoa, cloves and cinnamon (or Lebkuchengewürz), baking powder, orange & lemon zest, grated chocolate and salt until blended.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract until frothy.
  • Pour egg mixture over flour mixture, and using a sturdy spoon, stir until combined and there are no visible traces of flour.
  • Divide dough in half. Place one piece on a lightly floured surface then dust top of dough with flour. Roll dough out to ½-inch thickness, lightly dusting with flour as needed.
  • Using a 3-inch diamond cutter, dipped in flour to prevent sticking, press out cookies and place 1-inch apart on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Add cutout scraps to second half of dough, and repeat the rolling and cutting process, rerolling dough as needed.
  • Bake cookies until dry and still soft to the touch, 8–10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet until firm enough to transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before glazing.
  • To glaze the cookies, bring a small pot of water to a boil with a bowl set on top that fits snugly. Add ⅔ of the chocolate to the bowl and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from pot of boiling water and stir in remaining chocolate until fully melted. Dip tops of cookies into chocolate, letting excess drip back in the bowl; place cookies on a wire rack until chocolate is set. Cookies are ready to eat or gift once chocolate is set, but also age very well stored in a tin in a cool, dry spot.