Sometimes it is really nice to just have a box of cookies laying around the flat. There is no better snack and this cookie has everything I love, orange, chocolate, vanilla, almonds, and hint of spice through the addition of cinnamon and pink peppercorns. Did I mention they are in the shape of a moustache?? Could I possibly love them even more!?

Jeff Koons, Moustache, 2003
260.4 x 53.3 x 191.8 cm, polychromed aluminum, wrought iron, coated steel chain
© 2009 Jeff Koons, Serpentine Gallery

My inspiration this week is from one of the most important contemporary sculptors, Jeff Koons. His sculpture Moustache is from the Serpentine Gallery show Popeye Series which encompasses many of the common themes in his work: consumerism, childhood, taste, and banality. The use of inflatable toys has appeared in his sculpture dating back to the late 1970s (1). One of his most famous works, Rabbit, is an inflated bunny made of stainless steel playing with the perceived notions of weight and density. Labeled as part of the Neo-Pop movement, Koons broke the auction record for a living artist when his Hanging Heart sold at Sotheby’s New York for $23.6 million (2).

The Italian mostaccioli cookie is a chocolate spiced cookie that is enjoyed all over Italy but is thought to have originated from Umbria (3). Traditionally the cookies are made from grape must which acted as both the sweetener and the liquid binding for the dough (4). The grape must variant derived from an old Latin cake called mustacea which was also the origin of the name of the cookie. Throughout my research I have found several ways to form the dough ranging from sliced slabs, to round patties. The more elaborate cookies demanded a chocolate frosting rather than chocolate chips but it was the s-shaped cookies made into a moustache that caught my attention (5)! The name mostaccioli appears to also refer to a small tubular pasta that translates to “small moustahces” (6).

{Mostaccioli (a.k.a. Moustache) Cookies}

1 3/4 c flour
1/4 c ground almonds
1 c vanilla sugar
2 TB butter
1/3 cc milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 tsp pink peppercorns
1 TB orange zest
1 egg
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup almond slivers

Mix the flour, vanilla sugar, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl. Blend in the butter with your fingers and then mix in the remaining ingredients. Place the dough in a cool place for 1 hour to rest.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the cookies after forming them into a S-shape. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 180C until golden brown. Serve with coffee or cold milk.