Local baker Giuseppe Dell’Anno did Bristol proud when he was crowned winner of the Great British Bake Off 2021. If his impeccable bakes with an Italian flavour inspired you to get baking (or eating!), try out Giuseppe’s recipe for festive mostaccioli biscuits.

Bake Off winner Giuseppe holding up mostaccioli biscuits

These rustic biscuits are typically baked for Christmas. The citrusy flavour of the tangerine peel mixes very well with the dark chocolate and the blend of spices gives them an exceptionally festive scent. I would recommend using all the spices listed for a full and round flavour, although pepper, star anise and coriander seeds may be omitted.

Like many dry biscuits, these are fatless, so baker’s ammonia (also known as ammonium carbonate or ammonium bicarbonate) is essential to get a light and crispy texture. It’s easy to find on-line; however, a 1 to 1 mix of baking powder and baking soda can be used instead, for biscuits with a little more bite.

Traditionally, mostaccioli are simply coated in dark chocolate, but I like to decorate mine with royal icing and silver or gold balls, to make them even more festive.

Mostaccioli biscuits recipe

Origin: Naples, with regional variants across the southern Italy.

Makes approx. 35 biscuits.

Plate of festive mostaccioli biscuits made by Bake Off's Giuseppe

Ingredients

500g soft wheat 00 flour
150g caster sugar
30g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp ground star anise (optional)
1/8 tsp ground coriander seeds (optional)
2 tsp ammonium bicarbonate (or 1 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp baking soda)
Peel of half organic tangerine (or clementine or mandarin)
250g clear honey
80g water
1 tsp vanilla paste
400g 56% dark chocolate for glazing

Method

  1. Wash well, dry and finely chop the tangerine peel.
  2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, spices, baking powder and clementine peel to a large bowl and combine well with a whisk until there are no more lumps.
  3. Warm the honey for 20 seconds in a microwave then add it to the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the water and the vanilla paste and start mixing in the bowl with a spoon.
  5. When the dough starts coming together, tip it onto the worktop and work it by hand until smooth and homogenous.
  6. The dough should be stiff, only slightly sticky and not crumbly – if it crumbles, add a dash of water.
  7. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
  9. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it to 8mm over a floured worktop.
  10. Cut rhomboid shapes of 5-6 cm side.
  11. Bake on a baking sheet lined with baking paper for 6 to 8 minutes – the biscuits should remain soft in the centre.
  12. Let the biscuits cool down on the baking sheet for 10 minutes first, then let them cool down completely on a cooling rack.
  13. It's recommended to leave the biscuits for a few hours (or, better, overnight) before coating them with chocolate.
  14. Chop the chocolate and melt it in a metal bowl over gently simmering water (make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water).
  15. Coat the biscuits by dipping them in the chocolate and removing the excess with a pastry brush.
  16. Let the biscuits set on a cooling rack.

Buon appetito!

Follow Giuseppe at @GiuseppeCooks on Twitter and Instagram.

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