ABOVE: Photo from Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness
My Ama-- my Sicilian grandmother--regularly baked two kinds of biscotti, or cookies:
1. SOS cookies (or Biscotti di Monreale---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.
Another family recipe for Sicilian cookies:
My Father's Biscotti
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)
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.
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!