Pitsate (Italian cookies)

Pitsate - the rowdy bakerAlthough I enjoy creating my own recipes, old family favorites are hard to beat. Unless you’re a member of a huge family corporation, “secret” recipes have a tendency to get leaked (or blogged), especially after a few glasses of wine. This may be one of those special recipes!

I plead the fifth, and so do any (ahem) co-conspirators.

I took a peek at Google, curious to see if a similar recipe had already made it onto the Internet, and was shocked to see there was only ONE recipe for Pitsate that I could find. That one included a powdered chocolate drink mix, so I’d have to say it’s not quite as old and traditional as this version.

Pitsate cookies are hard to describe. They’re similar to biscotti, but not quite as crunchy. Filled with toasted almonds and chocolate, delicately spiced, and rolled on powdered sugar (which gives them just a hint of crusty sweet glaze), these cookies are absolutely perfect for dunking in a cup of coffee.Pitsate from The Rowdy Baker

The traditional diamond shape can be a little challenging. I like to roll the dough out and use a giant pizza cutter (a long knife will do) to cut diagonal lines which make perfect diamonds.

Of course, this also creates triangles, but they can be overlapped slightly and smooshed together to make diamonds. Honestly? I have no problem eating triangles.

Diamonds are your best friend! Resulting triangles? Meh.

Diamonds are your best friend! Resulting trianges? Meh.

Alternatively, you can take balls of dough about as big as a large egg (these are big cookies!), flatten it, and trim it into shape. If you do this, keep all the scraps in one place and knead them back together for a few more cookies. Or you can roll the dough into a square log and slice the cookies, though the chunks of almonds and chocolate can make that option pretty interesting.

Did I mention these are big? They’re for dunking, not a tea party! Mine are about 5 inches from top to bottom, and 2 1/2 inches from side to side. If you’re a nibbler, not a dunker, feel free to BREAK ITALIAN TRADITION and make them smaller.

I use very, very strong coffee in these cookies. I combine 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup freshly ground coffee and bring it to a simmer in a small pan, then remove from the heat and let it sit until cool. After pouring it through a fine sieve, there should be about 1/2 cup of rich coffee.

This java will put hair on your chest!

This java will put hair on your chest!

Makes about 36 large cookies.
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 10 ounces chopped, toasted almonds (make sure you toast them for best flavor!)
  • 8 ounces chopped dark chocolate (use chips if you prefer)
  • ½ cup very, very strong coffee - cooled
  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cover two baking sheets with parchment, or use silpats.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda.
  4. Add lemon zest, vanilla, and eggs.
  5. Slowly add coffee and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in the almonds and chocolate chips.
  7. Sprinkle work surface generously with powdered sugar. Drop dough onto sugar and press into a disk. Turn over to coat both sides lightly, and roll approximately ⅓-inch thick.
  8. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut diamond shapes.
  9. Place on prepared pans approximately 1 inch apart, and bake for 12-13 minutes.
  10. Cool thoroughly on baking rack.
Combine dry ingredients

Combine dry ingredients

Hey, someone has to test the chocolate and make sure it's fresh, right?

Hey, someone has to test the chocolate and make sure it’s fresh, right?

Add lemon, vanilla, eggs, and coffee…yada yada yada. (In other words, I neglected to take a picture of this.)

Mix together the dough, almonds, and chocolate.

Mix together the dough, almonds, and chocolate. Roll, cut, and bake!

Now that is one sweet pitsate!

Now that is one sweet pitsate!


So…I can trust you guys, right? You didn’t get this recipe from me! What happens on The Rowdy Baker stays on The Rowdy Baker, my friends.



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