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Roccocò: the original Neapolitan recipe for making them soft or hard (“toothbreaking”) at home

Roccocò: the original Neapolitan recipe for making them soft or hard (“toothbreaking”) at home


THE Roccoco they are fragrant cookies typical of Neapolitan tradition, among the most beloved Neapolitan Christmas desserts together with mostaccioli, struffoli, pastiera and raffiuoli. Recognizable by their characteristic donut shape slightly crushed, they are made with a mixture based on almonds, flour, sugar, candied fruit, water and pisto, an aromatic mixture of spices also used in other Campania desserts, including susamielli.

Starting from the Immaculate Conception and throughout the Christmas holidays it is possible to find them in the best bars and pastry shops in the city in two main types, the roccocò soft and the so-called “tooth-breaking”, so called because of their crunchiness, so much so that before being enjoyed they are generally dipped in wine, sparkling wine or liqueur such as vermouth or marsala. The difference between the two types lies in the baking times in the oven: for the soft ones 20 minutes at 180°C are enough, while for the “tooth-breaking” roccocò a further biscuit baking at 150°C is necessary.

With a rather ancient history – it seems they were invented by the nuns of Royal Convent of the Maddalena of Naples In the 1320 – Roccocos are called this because their rounded shape resembles a shell, in French rocaille.

Since it is a traditional preparation, over time various variations have arisen, so there are those who add a pinch of bitter cocoa to make them darker, those who omit the candied fruit and those who sweeten the mixture with honey; we present to you the original recipe with instructions for preparing both types, both soft and crunchier. The procedure for making them at home is quite simple, but to obtain a perfect result it is important to divide the dough so as to obtain identical pieces, which must be shaped first into small loaves and then into donuts with a diameter of 10 cm. .

The secret to getting the right consistency is to use theammonia for desserts, a leavening agent that makes biscuits particularly crumbly. To make them even more fragrant, we replaced part of the water with orange juice which, together with the zest of the fruit and the inevitable pisto, gives the dough an intoxicating scent.

Find out how to prepare roccocò following the step-by-step procedure and advice: you can serve them to conclude the Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas lunch or any other festive meal in the company of friends and relatives, or give them as gifts, perhaps packaged in single-portion sachets. If kept at room temperature in a dry place, such as a tin box or a food bag, they will keep for a long time, up to a month.


candied fruit (orange and citron)

Pisto (powdered spice mix)

How to prepare roccoco

Start preparing the roccocò by toasting the almonds in the oven or in a pan, then grind 75 grams of them in a mixer to obtain a coarse flour. Transfer it into a bowl together with 00 flour, sugar and grated orange zest 1.

Also add the ammonia and the pisto, then mix water and orange juice in a glass and pour them over the dry ingredients 2.

Knead quickly, then incorporate the whole almonds and diced candied fruit 3.

Work the dough to mix all the ingredients: you will have to obtain a rustic and fairly firm dough 4.

At this point, obtain small pieces of dough of the same size with your hands, weighing between 65 and 75 grams. Form each one into a loaf approximately 15-20 cm long and 2 cm thick 5.

Join the two ends to form donuts with a diameter of approximately 10 cm 6trying to create a rather large central hole: roccoco biscuits tend to widen during cooking, so a very small initial space could close, causing the biscuits to lose their typical shape.

Arrange the roccocò on a baking tray lined with baking paper, spacing them a few centimetres, then brush the surface with the beaten egg. 7 and cook in a pre-heated static oven, at 180°C, for approximately 20 minutes. At the end of cooking you will have soft roccocò; to obtain hard roccocò, lower the oven temperature to 150°C and let them toast for another 15-20 minutes.

When they are golden brown, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely on a tray 8. As soon as they are removed from the oven they will appear very soft, but as they cool they will reach the right consistency.

The roccocò are ready to be brought to the table and enjoyed 9.


If you can’t find pisto in the supermarket you can buy it online or prepare it at home by mixing 15 g of cinnamon powder, 5 g of nutmeg, 2 g of pepper, 2 g of cloves, 2 g of star anise and 2 g of coriander seeds.

Instead of ammonia you can use a pinch of baking powder you hate bicarbonatealthough in this case the final consistency will be slightly different.

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