Apulian Mustazzuoli

Mustazzuoli or mostaccioli are typical brown Apulian sweets of the Christmas period. Their origin is very ancient and the recipe is handed down from generation to generation. Although the original is prepared starting from vincotto, a grape must that can also be prepared with dried figs, over time various variations of this tasty sweet biscuit have spread which can also be prepared at home, to be enjoyed during Christmas holidays with all your loved ones, accompanied by a coffee, a herbal tea, a hot chocolate or a bitter.

Mostaccioli ©sara-tm via Canva

The recipe

Difficulty: low

Quantity: 30 mustazzuoli


  • 1 kg of 00 flour
  • 500 g of toasted almonds
  • 100 g of extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 g of ammonia for desserts
  • 1 l of grape or fig vincotto
  • 200 g of sugar
  • 50 g of bitter cocoa powder
  • lemon peels to taste


  1. Coarsely chop the almonds.
  2. Heat 200 ml of vincotto to which add the ammonia.
  3. Sift the flour and cocoa through a sieve into a large bowl, then add the oil, sugar, grated lemon peel, the previously prepared vincotto and ammonia mixture and the remaining vincotto.
  4. Knead all the ingredients on a pastry board until you obtain a homogeneous mixture and give it the shape of a large cylinder.
  5. Cut the dough 5-6 centimeters long to give the mustazzuoli a diamond shape.
  6. Cook the mustazzuoli for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 200°.
  7. Once cooled, the mustazzuoli can be enjoyed or stored in a tin or airtight container.

If you like, cinnamon or cloves can be added to the mustazzuoli dough to make them even more fragrant and spicy.

Variants of mustazzuoli

Mustazzuoli are often covered with a delicious chocolate icing which can be prepared very easily with:

  • 200 g of sugar
  • 100 g of dark chocolate
  • 100 ml of water.

Simply melt the chocolate in a saucepan with water, then add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring with a ladle. Leave the icing to cool so you can then brush it over the mustazzuoli.

Curiosities about apulian mustazzuoli

There are several regional variations of the mustazzuoli: in addition to Puglia, these desserts are also typical of Calabria (‘Nzuddha), Sardinia (Mustazzoleddus), Sicily (Mustazzoli), Campania (Mustaccioli), Lazio, Abruzzo and Lombardy .

Their name derives from the Latin word “mustum” that is “must” precisely because the first evidence of these desserts dates back to Roman times, where it was typical to offer them to guests before departure.

Even in Cato’s “De Agricoltura” he talks about “mustacei” and their preparation in detail.

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