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Calabrian mostaccioli: the recipe for honey biscuits from Soriano Calabro

Calabrian mostaccioli: the recipe for honey biscuits from Soriano Calabro


baking powder for cakes

I Calabrian mostaccioli they are gods Biscotti honey crisp. They are sweet rituals typical of the Calabrian peasant tradition, in particular of Soriano Calabro, carried out for weddings, baptisms, confirmations and other celebrations: such as the day of Saint Joseph, March 19, an anniversary deeply felt by Calabrians, or for Christmas. They are passed down from generation to generation and each family jealously guards its recipe.

Calabrian mostaccioli are prepared with a few simple ingredients that are never missing in the pantry: flour, egg yolks, wildflower honey and baking powder for cakes. All you have to do is knead everything with your hands until you get a soft and smooth mixture, shape the cookies into many different shapes and decorate them however you like.

Calabrian mostaccioli are about 25-30 cm long and 2 cm wide, but you can also reduce or enlarge them; they are decorated with thin strips of leftover dough that you can give to the form you prefer: in small balls or in S, like a snake, to symbolize the defeat of envy.

They are baked at 180°C for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown, and once out of the oven they are brushed while still hot with honey and left to rest so that they become very crunchy. The main characteristic is their hard and compact consistency: for this reason they are also called “spaccadenti” and it is possible to keep them for a long time.

If you wish, you can decorate the Calabrian mostaccioli with gods colorful candies or with sugar pearls.

Find out how to prepare them by following the step-by-step procedure and tips. Also try the ginetti and susumelle, typical sweets of the Calabrian pastry.

How to prepare Calabrian mostaccioli

Sift flour 1.

Add half a packet of baking powder 2.

Mix the egg yolks in the center of the flour 3.

Pour half the amount of mixed flower honey 4.

Mix with fork 5.

Mix in the remaining honey 6.

Mix well with your hands so that all the flour is well incorporated into the rest of the ingredients. 7.

Place the dough on the floured work surface 8.

Knead with your hands and form a kind of bread 9.

Fold both ends towards the center overlapping them ten.

Repeat this several times, dusting with flour until the dough is compact and does not stick to your hands. 11.

Divide the dough into 7 equal parts of about 120-130 g each 12. Form a ball with the rest of the dough and set it aside, you will need it to make the decorations.

Form cords about 25-30 cm long 13.

Flatten Calabrian mostaccioli 14 and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

With the rest of the dough form thin cords 15.

Decorate the Calabrian mostaccioli as you wish 16. Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes until nicely colored.

Cook the Calabrian mostaccioli 17.

While still warm, brush with wildflower honey 18. Let them sit until they are very cold.

Serving Calabrian mostaccioli 19.


To have some excellent mostacciolithe dough should be neither soft nor hard: then adjust with the flour as you work the mixture.

You can add it if you want cooked wort: Mix well with the honey and egg yolks, then proceed according to the recipe. Those who prefer can substitute wildflower honey with fig honey.


Calabrian mostaccioli can be stored at room temperature, away from humidity, in a box or under a glass bell jar, also for 2-3 weeks.

Origin and traditions of Calabrian mostaccioli

Calabrian mostaccioli are mainly produced in Soriano Calabro, a small town in the province of Vibo Valentia. Of uncertain origin, it seems that these sweets spread thanks to the Carthusian monks of the monastery of Serra San Bruno and, later, by the Dominicans of the convent of San Domenico, built in 1510. They were the ones who supported and promoted the art of confectionery among local artisans and provided these special biscuits with their characteristic appearancelinked to the propitiatory rituals, very important in Calabrian culture and tradition.

In the beginning, the mostaccioli were prepared with the cooked wort which was later replaced by apple and fig, that is, fig honey, a very sweet syrup that was produced after long cooking of dried figs. The traditional forms are the rooster, the fish, the horse, the goat, the man, the woman, the heart and the basket, the reversed S, as well as fantastic figures. THE decorations they can be made with carvings and with the addition of colored foil or sugared almonds.

The Calabrian mostaccioli were made above all on the occasion of a marriage by the family of the bride: a very large one was made, as long as a table for 6 people, and was offered to the guests at the end of the wedding banquet. Today, they are prepared especially during the Christmas period, on Saint Joseph’s Day and during local festivals and holidays.

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