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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Spiced Chocolate Toto Cookies

25 MINPrep Time
15 MINCook Time
26 cookiesServings
by Giadzy
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
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These cookies go by a myriad of different names depending on the family making them: tetu, toto, tutu, or even “meatball cookies” to reflect on their shape and size. Just as the name varies, so does the recipe, and nonnas have been closely guarding their specific secret recipes for ages. 

Traditionally, these cookies hail from Sicily for All Saints Day on the first of November to honor past loved ones. Now, they’re beloved as a Christmas cookie, and it’s no wonder why: these delicious little bites are packed with warming spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Our version is soft and chewy with a crackly chocolate glaze - they’re truly delicious.

Spiced Chocolate Toto Cookies

Spiced Chocolate Toto Cookies

Rated 5.0 stars by 1 users



Prep Time

25 minutes

Cook Time

15 minutes




    For The Cookies:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus extra if needed
  • Sprinkles, for topping


  1. To a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Mix with a whisk or fork to combine.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium high speed for about 5 minutes until well incorporated and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed. Add the dry flour mixture, and mix slowly to just combine. Add the walnuts and mix until just incorporated. Refrigerate the dough, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Form the cookies into 1 tablespoon balls, and place on a sheet pan with parchment paper at least 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies have cracked slightly and appear set. Remove from the oven to cool.
  6. Once cooled, mix the glaze. Combine sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder with cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of water. If the glaze appears too thick to dip the cookies into, add just 1 or 2 extra teaspoons of water.
  7. Dip the cooled cookies, top side down, into the glaze. Shake off any excess glaze and place them back on the sheet pan right side up. Top with sprinkles. Continue with the rest of the cookies. Allow the glaze to harden for at least 30 minutes before serving. Cookies will stay fresh for up to a week stored covered in a cool place, and they also freeze very well.
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1 comment

  • Author's avatar image
    Margaret - Jan 18

    These cookies are so delicious! They satisfy my craving for chocolate and spice, even without the glaze. I will definitely be making these again.

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