Do you like simple Italian cookie recipes? If you do, you will love these Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies. These drop cookies are super moist with a wonderful cake-like texture. They also have the perfect proportion of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies
This recipe was originally published on March 11, 2017 and updated on December 3, 2018 with updated content, photos and a video.
By definition, a drop cookie is one where the dough is simply collected (by a spoon or ice cream scoop) and placed or “dropped” onto the cookie sheet. It truly is one of the easiest kinds of cookies to make.
An example of a classic North American drop cookie is of course the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie; if you are of Italian origin, you might be familiar with another drop cookie, Italian Lemon Knot Cookies.
Although I consider this recipe to be in the category of drop cookies, I will add one simple step to this simple process. I’ll explain in a minute…
What do I need to make Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies:
- Flour. We will be using all purpose flour.
- Baking Powder.
- Baking soda.
- Salt. Just a pinch!
- Eggs. Room temperature.
- Sugar. Granulated…
- Vanilla Extract. Always pure, if at all possible.
- Orange zest. Organic, if possible.
- Icing sugar. Totally optional… but they do add a touch of extravagance to this humble drop cookie.
As far as accessories are concerned, you need a stand mixer (or a hand held one); a large mixing bowl, a whisk, a wooden spoon and a medium sized ice cream scoop.
Finally, a parchment lined cookie sheet is necessary to bake these Italian chocolate cookies.
How to Make Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies:
The humble beginnings of this spice drop cookie recipe will have you sifting the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices together. I know what you’re thinking… these are spiced cookies.
A quick glance at the list of ingredients would definitely confirm this. After all, we are talking about cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. But these Italian chocolate cookies are just mildly spiced, with just a hint of orange. And they are definitely not a sweet cookie.
So, I would definitively agree that they can be considered “old school” Italian Christmas cookies, but, this really is a wonderful recipe that can be made year-round.
Okay, so set the dry ingredients aside and let’s whisk some eggs.
I will usually whisk the room temperature eggs on medium-high speed until they are frothy looking. This will usually take about 3-4 minutes with the whisk attachment of the stand mixture.
S-l-o-w-l-y add the sugar. Continue to whisk until well combined and slightly thickened; another 3-4 minutes.
Add the milk, oil, vanilla extract, zest and combine well.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Since the dough is soft, I will usually refrigerate it for about 30 minutes or so.
So now for the drop cookie part or the cookie drop part…regardless… with a medium sized cookie scoop, portion and drop the dough on a lightly floured surface.
This is where I add an extra step; I will roll each cookie drop between the palms of my hands, before I roll them in icing sugar. You could of course frost these cookies or you can also leave them plain. It really is up to you! My personnel preference with these orange chocolate cookies is the crinkle look hence the rolling in icing sugar.
The last thing to do is to place them on baking sheet which has been lined with parchment paper and bake. In just 8 minutes, this is what will come out of the oven…
Once again, these are really a mildly spiced, not too sweet cookie. Now, if you are looking for a decadent rich cookie, I would refer you to these Dark Chocolate Espresso Snowcap Cookies.
You can tell that these drop cookies truly have moist, cake-like qualities…
Tips, tricks and recipe notes:
- The dough batter can be refrigerated overnight; the next day simply roll and bake.
- Powder the palms of your hands with a little icing sugar if you find that the dough is too sticky.
- These chocolate cookies have a wonderful dome shaped, make sure to leave enough space in between the cookies on the parchment paper (1½-2 inches)
- Personal preference will dictate total amount of time spent in the oven. The longer they stay in the oven the more cake like they become. Given the variation of oven temperatures, do a test run with one cookie to figure out the exact baking time in your oven.
Can I freeze these cookies? These cookies can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months if frozen properly. Place cookies in an airtight container in a single layer; separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper; cover, label and freeze.
Italian Cookie Recipes we Love:
Origin of the Recipe for Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies:
If you like these “old style” Italian cookie recipes, I have the perfect cookbook for you -Sweet Maria’s Italian Cookie Tray! This is where I adapted this recipe from. I was first introduced to this cookbook over a decade ago through the recommendation of a friend. It is a paperback cookbook with no pictures.
That’s right, no pictures. But the recipes more than make up for this.
The links on this blog are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a commission if you use those links (there’s no extra charge to you).
I remember my mom making something similar to this cookie but unfortunately, I have no written recipe. So I made a couple of changes to Sweet Maria “Chocolate Clove Drops”, trying to get closer to what Mom used to make. I modified the proportions of spices and cocoa; I replaced the shortening with vegetable oil; and I added orange zest because I remember my mom’s cookies had orange zest in them.
There is another variation of this cookie that incorporates nuts and coffee… but that one will have to wait until Christmas 😉
These Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies can be enjoyed year round with a cool, refreshing glass of milk.
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made these Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange
for rolling cookies
- 2/3 cups icing sugar
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on medium-high speed until nice and frothy (about 3-4 minutes).
- Slowly add sugar. Continue to whisk until well combined and slightly thickened..
- Add the milk, oil, extract, and the zest. Combine well.
- Remove bowl from stand.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix with wooden spoon until well combined, dough will be soft.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Position rack to middle.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Scoop dough with medium sized cookie scoop and drop on a lightly floured surface.
- Roll each piece into a smooth ball and then roll in icing sugar.
- Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Continue to roll until all of the dough is used.
- Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until firm to the touch.
- Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a few days. They also freeze wonderfully.