When we were in Fiumefreddo in Sicily we walked up to the main “Via” (road) in the town after breakfast and had a coffee at Bar Elite. This like almost every other experience in Fiumefreddo is a family affair.  Isidoro, who is the manager of the bar is related to my husband who is also named Isidoro. Don’t get me started on how many Isidoros there are!  He is actually the double for my brother in law Bruno. I have this strange feeling of love towards him even though I have only met him twice, partly because he looks like my brother in law and partly because he is such a nice man. I am not kidding when I say like almost every other experience it is a family affair. Whenever we went for a walk someone would come up to my husband and embrace him and be introduced to me as yet another relative! If they aren’t a relative they are very good friends of the family. We would order a coffee and then try and decide what delightful dolce to indulge in. So many on offer, so hard to choose. It’s only a small town and yet all the Cafés or Bars are filled with dolce. I am not sure who eats them all? We ended up with a favourite called Toto. A spiced chocolate ball with a  glossy icing. When I returned to Paris I found a recipe and changed it a little and made my own. I had trouble getting the cookies to stay in the ball shape but they tasted just as good as the ones at Bar Elite.

Recipe for Italian Toto Cookies

 3 cups flour

1/3 cup cocoa

¾ tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp allspice

1/3 tsp cloves

½ tsp cinnamon

¾ cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

½ tsp vanilla

½ cup chopped walnuts nuts


Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, allspice, cloves and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  In another bowl beat eggs.  Stir eggs into creamed mixture with vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture, then nuts.  Form into 1 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Prepare glaze.  Frost cookies while still warm.


1 cup icing sugar

¾ tsp vanilla

1 tbsp milk

Combine sugar and vanilla.  Stir in milk a little at a time until of spreading consistency. Put cookie into glaze and turn around until completely covered. Let rest somewhere cool until icing is hard.


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