These Sicilian Tetu (clove-scented cookies) bring me right back to childhood. When my mother bakes, she makes lots. I always joke that my first introduction to high volume baking was in my mother’s kitchen. She was the one that was always asked to bring 800 ladylocks (or fill in the blank) to a friend’s wedding. I never seemed to be a part of making Tetu, which is kind of unusual ’cause I was always in the kitchen, but I remember my mom sitting at the dining room table for long periods of time, gently tossing these cookies in the thin glaze and placing them on large sheet pans to dry (yes, in her kitchen she had large sheet pans just like a restaurant). The cookie dough is made up of toasted walnuts, cocoa and cinnamon , but it’s light on the sugar. That’s where this sweet icing,with a bright hint of fresh lemon juice comes in and provides this delicious cookie the perfect amount of sweetness.
But, in our house, we never referred to these as Tetu. My mom’s best friend in life was Grace Garofalo and this was based on her Aunt’s recipe. So…they were always fondly referred to as Auntie Cuda’s cookies – or the less flattering name – Mary Farina’s chocolate balls. Gotta love it.
And then I got curious about the word Tetu. I don’t speak Italian at all – except for the few important ‘words of expression.’ So, I went to the most ‘reliable’ source I know and searched the internet to see what it means. Saw a bunch of explanations, but the one I like, but can’t substantiate whether it’s true or not – is that tetu actually refers to the saying “tetu and teio” which translates to “I hold you and keep.” Blame Google Translate if that’s not right. Basically that you eat one after another or share until all the cookies are gone. I’m sure all of you that speak Italian can correct me. I’d love to hear what it really means. I got some of that from Sicilia Fan
GF Farina All Purpose Flour Blend here