Mary Ann's Blog

Toto Cookies

Italian Toto CookiesYep, I have started my Christmas cookie baking. I usually make about 15 different kinds, and I've got three kinds in the freezer already. All the ones I make freeze beautifully if well wrapped.

Totos (pronounced like toe-toe) are one of my childhood favorites and have descended through my family thanks to a family friend of my grandmother, Mrs Tigani. We always called them Mrs. Tegani's pepper cookies but Toto cookies is the more classic name.

The first thing that surprises many is that there are no eggs in the dough and there is only 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Yet they are moist and so chocolatey. Raisins and nuts add interest and texture to these cookies that are just the thing to go with your favorite coffee or tea. I am stingy when it comes to parting with this cookie, and you will be too once you make them and take your first bite.

Don't be put off by the black pepper in the dough. Without it, these cookies would just not be the same.

Here's the recipe.


  1. Crista's avatar


    THANK YOU Mrs Esposito! I've been haunted by this cookie for my entire forty years of life. My Mommom made them every Natale and sadly, this year we had none. Since she passed on, I've tried to duplicate it to no avail; I intended to practice all this year and hoped to get it right for next year. This one is exactly the one. Not only have you brightened our holiday, you made me cry! Thank you so very much!
  2. mardele polippo's avatar

    mardele polippo

    I would like to have your recipe for your totos. I love your italian dishes.
  3. MaryAnna Mannino's avatar

    MaryAnna Mannino

    Hi, the Toto cookies I remember them as being called, TETU. Love all of the recipes. God bless Marianna. MaryA.

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