Italian Spice Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon black pepper (optional)
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup shortening
¾ cups granulated sugar
⅔ cups strong brewed coffee
½ cups Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces; toasted
½ cusp raisins
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Glaze
Colored sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, pepper (if desired) and cloves; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar until combined. Alternately add flour mixture and coffee to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. If necessary, stir in the last portion of flour with a wooden spoon. Stir in pecans and raisins.Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Bake in a preheated oven for 8 minutes or until purred and set (do not over bake). Remove cookies and cool completely on wire racks.
5. Prepare Powdered Sugar Glaze. Dip tops of cooled cookies in the glaze; allow excess glaze to run off. Place on wire racks set over waxed paper. If desired, before glaze sets, sprinkle glazed cookies with colored sugar. Allow to stand about 30 minutes or until glaze sets.

Makes about 48 cookies

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons warm water

In a small mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar and warm water until smooth (glaze will be thin).

Makes about ⅓ cup glaze

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