Last year, I shared the recipe for my grandmother’s pound cake. (You can see it here.) I’d like to start a tradition of sharing a recipe each year (or more often, depending on my mood).
The recipe this time is for a cookie that is called by many names in my family. In a cookbook Gram submitted to, she called them Wedding Cookies. We’ve also known them as Italian Wedding Cookies, Chocolate Wedding Cookies, Italian Chocolate Balls (I always groan at that one), and Frosted Chocolate Cookies. I’m sure you all can come up with some interesting names. (If you do, share them in the comments.)
Many of my Italian friends call them Totos. Seems they are a pretty well-known among Italians. The recipes I’ve seen online are as varied as the cookie names I listed above.
If you want to attempt this recipe, let me give you fair warning: you will need a pretty strong, sturdy mixer. A stand-mixer. If you try to do these with a standard hand beater/mixer, you will probably blow the motor. Trust me on this one. If you break your mixer, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The recipe below makes a BUNCH of cookies. I cut it in half. If I make the full recipe, the cookie dough will actually start overflowing during the mixing. (And I have a 6 qt. Professional Kitchen Aide.) You can cut it in half, too. Or in thirds or quarters…or whatever you want. Heck, if you have access to real bakery equipment, double it!
So. Here is the recipe:
- Cookie Dough
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter (I use Imperial Margarine)
- 2 eggs (I use Extra large or Jumbo)
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 7 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cup cocoa (I use Hershey’s powder)
- 7 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups nuts (optional)
- Powdered/Confectioner’s sugar
- Cream butter and sugar until smooth
- Add eggs and blend thoroughly
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, cloves, and cinnamon
- Mix dry ingredients with butter, egg, and sugar mixture
- I blend these together gradually. Start on a low speed and gradually increase. But don’t put the speed too high for risk of blowing out the motor
- Add milk
- Roll dough into balls
- Don’t make them too big. These are very rich. Plus, if they are too big, you may have to bake them longer…and then they’ll be dry.
- Make them as smooth as possible, with few seams or cracks. When baking, those will expand. If you can’t avoid them, try to put them on the bottom of the cookie.
- Place on ungreased cookie sheet
- You don’t want to put them right on top of each other, but you can definitely fill up the sheet. These don’t expand/rise a great deal when baked. I usually leave about 1/2 inch between the cookies.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
- Let cool completely
- For the icing, there are no specific measurements.
- Start with about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
- Mix thoroughly until smooth.
- Test on a cookie. (I choose one that didn’t come out so well.) If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more milk.
- Dip the cookies into the icing to cover the top. Hold upside down over the icing bowl until the dripping stops or becomes negligible. Experiment a bit to find your best method for ensuring that the icing stays on the top of the cookie rather than streaming down the sides. (I use a twist/turn method to make a little “hill” of icing right on the top. Then it spreads out rather than dripping.)
- Let the icing set thoroughly. (I’ll let them set overnight.)
- Once iced, place in a good container or a strong storage bag. These can also be safely and easily packed in a Food Saver.