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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tu Tu Cookies Recipe (from Sicily)

L: Photo from Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

My Ama-- my Sicilian grandmother--regularly baked two kinds of biscotti, or cookies: 
1. what she called SOS cookies (click for recipe), butter cookies flavored with almond, vanilla, and cinnamon, and shaped into S's and O's; 
2. and these tu tus, chocolate cookies flavored with coffee and cinnamon.

I used to think she had made these cookies up, but when I went to Monreale, Sicily, where she was born, there were SOS-shaped cookies in the bakery windows, labeled as biscotti di Monreale, a local specialty.

I found a reference to "tay tu" cookies on the Web, defined as spicy, iced chocolate cookies rich with clove, cinnamon and nuts. These seem to be a relative of my Ama's tu tus. Southern Sicily is closer to North Africa than it is to the European mainland, and Arab influence--spice blends, for instance--is strong in Sicilian cooking.

Last night at L &M's Christmas party, the tu tus were a hit. Here is the recipe:

TU TU COOKIES (Cousin Celia's recipe)

COOKIES:
2 sticks butter
¾ cup white sugar
½ c brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
½ c cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ c strong brewed coffee
4 c flour
½ c chopped nuts (optional)

1. Cream butter and sugars.
2. Mix in the eggs and the vanilla and the coffee.
3. Combine 1 cup of the flour with the b. powder, b. soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa. Stir into the butter-sugar-egg-coffee mixture.
4. Add the rest of the flour slowly, stirring after each addition, until you have a tacky dough. Usually about 3 to 3-½ cups total is about right.
5. Make walnut-sized rounds with your hands and place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Do not overbake!
6. Frost with chocolate frosting.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
1. Combine 2 ½ cups powdered sugar and ½ cup cocoa.
2. Add vanilla (½ -1 tsp) and stir in enough brewed coffee and/or hot water to get the frosting consistency you like. Less liquid makes a fudgier frosting like we made; more liquid makes a thinner glaze.

Recipe makes about 4-5 sheets of cookies. Eat and enjoy!

4 comments:

maren said...

could you post the sos recipe if you have it? I once had a coworker who shared an italian sos cookie recipe which I've lost and would love to have again.

Lori said...

I made your tu tu's today adn they were amazing. I will be posting about them tomorrow and I put a link back to you. Thanks for a great recipe. I hope it is okay with you.

Gloria said...

My mother used to make these. I don't have her recipe, but this looked pretty close. I added cut up Marichino cherries and cloves. They were just yummy. Thank you for the recipe.

Fresca said...

My grandmother would be happy people are enjoying her recipe.
Cherries... yum! What a great idea!
I think I'd better try that out.