Italian Cookies Recipe


Light, crunchy and rustic, this version includes cocoa for a sweet yet bitter hit.


Makes 30 cookies


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz/3⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150 g (5½ oz) sugar, plus extra for coating
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) sunflower oil
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) red wine
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) Sambuca


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Add the sunflower oil, wine, cocoa and Sambuca into the centre of the well.

Begin to mix carefully with a fork, moving the dry ingredients into the centre of the well.

Once mixed, turn the mixture onto a clean floured surface and use your hands to form it into a soft, smooth, slightly sticky dough. 

Working on a clean but unfloured surface, so that the dough rolls into ‘snakes’ easily, divide the dough into smaller pieces, then roll each one into a sausage shape about 1 cm (½ inch) in diameter.

Cut into 15–20 cm (6–8 inch) lengths and shape into rings, pressing down slightly on the ends to form a doughnut shape. 

Dip one side of each ring into a bowl of extra sugar, placing them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool, before dunking in sweet wine, milk or tea.

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