Euro Cookie Time


I got a lot of feedback that my Tree Metaphors made people cry, and I certainly would rather make people happy, especially at this time of year. So here’s a little ditty that’s bound to make you smile: Glazed Chocolate Spice Balls.

I was given this recipe about 20 years ago , and I’d swear that the friend who passed it on said it was Italian. However, it definitely looks and tastes more German than Italian, kind of like a chocolate pfeffernüsse, so I’m really not sure of its origins. In any case, it’s a very Euro cookie, dense, not too sweet, spicy, full of nuts and raisins. The fragrance of the dough, as you’re hand-rolling it into little balls, will take you back to Christmas past, to the days of sugar and spice, when everything was nice.

Glazed Chocolate Spice Balls

For the cookies:
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk, or a little more, as needed

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 T milk
1 T brandy
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Work in the butter with a pastry blender, then stir in the nuts and raisins. Pour in the milk and vanilla and work into a stiff dough, adding a little extra milk if needed to make it all come together.

Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets until done in the center, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Make the glaze by combining the cocoa and sugar, then stirring in the remaining ingredients to make a thick glaze. Dip the top half of each cookie into the glaze, place cookie on a rack, and decorate with sprinkles. If the glaze becomes too stiff as you work you can warm it for a few seconds in the microwave to soften it.

Let cookies dry for several hours, until the glaze hardens, before bagging or boxing them up to share with friends. To really get in the Euro spirit you can serve these with vin chaud (my recipe is here) or mulled wine, glögg, or glühwein.

Explore posts in the same categories: French Letters Visits America, Posts Containing Recipes

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5 Comments on “Euro Cookie Time”

  1. Barbara Jacquin Says:

    Oh! Delightful!

  2. Lyn Says:

    Have not read your words for a very long time – insane time robbing job related reasons. But, I am taking a break for a week and I was showing my neglected blog to my brother. Your blog is linked on my blog-roll. Went there. First, my heart to you and Shel. Second, are you on Bainbridge? I live in Colorado but at this moment am sipping coffee in a cozy cottage on The Rock. My brother lives here. Appreciating all of your lovely pics and thoughts and the possibility that we might be a skipped stone from one another after finding you first in France… My blog is out of date. I have allowed vocation to drown avocation. Time to resurrect my writing life, ride my pony in the desert, create with fabric, and love. For what it is worth, your winter thoughts do not generate sadness – I feel resiliency. Thanks and peace to you all.

  3. Oh no!!! That’s my grandmother’s Italian recipe, Abra!! Mom used to make these every Christmas, and we kids couldn’t wait for her to start the baking. After I got married, I realized that I could make them anytime I wanted. And so I did. And then a friend of mine took the idea of all these spices, and he created a molded chocolate version. (Yes, he has a chocolate shop here in Santa Cruz CA.) I’m delighted that you’ve been making these for all this time. By the way, I write a weekly food column for the Santa Cruz newspaper. Been doing it since forever. It gives me a break from all the technical stuff I do for Cisco. Haha!

  4. Abra Bennett Says:

    Of course it’s your recipe, Donna, you’re the friend who gave it to me!

  5. I figured!!! As I was reading through, I thought, “Wait. I recognize this, and I’ll bet I’m the friend she mentioned!” What a cool surprise.

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