Italian chocolate cookies

My Grandma Pia’s Italian chocolate cookies were probably my first solid food as a tiny baby. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a meal at her house where these didn’t make an appearance. With such a steady supply, I never thought to make them on my own until I received a book of family recipes this summer.

Italian cookies aren’t known for their decadence — dry, hard, mildly flavored is more like it. But these really hit the spot for me. They’re soft, dense, just sweet enough, and a bit of cloves and cinnamon makes them taste extra special during the holidays.

Recipe by Grandma Pia

4 eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup Crisco
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 box cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
dash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream eggs, sugar and Crisco together.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking soda together.

My grandma swears that everything after this needs to be mixed by hand. Yes, it’s messy. Don’t squeeze the dough through your fingers.

Add 1/3 of the flour, cocoa, cloves and cinnamon to the creamed sugar mixture. Mix together.

Add remaining flour a thurd at a time, and mix until all of the flour is well incorporated.

Add chopped walnuts and mix.

Roll the dough into 1-1/2 -inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake about 8-10 minutes, until cookies begin to crack slightly.

Cool completely before glazing.

For the glaze:

Add milk and vanilla to the powdered sugar.

Mix until the glaze is a thick but streaming consistency.

Using a teaspoon, drop some glaze on the top of each cookie, and using the back of the spoon, spread the glaze around.

Let the glaze dry completely before storing or serving cookies.

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