Bocconotti come from the word ‘boccone’, which means ‘a bite’, so it’s no surprise that these cakes are bite-sized. They are delightful mini chocolate pastries with hints of almond and cinnamon.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 125 g (4½ oz) dark chocolate (45 per cent cocoa solids)
  • 110 g (3¾ oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 120 g (4 oz) natural almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting


  • 9 egg yolks
  • 220 g (7¾ oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 70 ml (2¼ fl oz) Strega (an Italian liqueur) or sambuca
  • 480 g (1 lb 1 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need to begin this recipe one day in advance.

  1. Heat 300 ml (10½ fl oz) water in a saucepan until it is lukewarm. Add the chocolate and sugar and bring to the boil. Stir until melted and well combined, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Add the egg yolks and bring to just below boiling point, stirring constantly. Add the almonds and continue to stir, again bringing the mixture to just below the boil until it thickens (like a custard). Remove from the heat, stir in the cinnamon and orange zest and allow to cool. Cover and set aside cool completely overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Grease the base and sides of 12 x 120 ml (4 fl oz) muffin holes (or similar) with softened butter.
  3. To make the pastry, place the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and beat with a whisk until well combined; add the olive oil, liqueur and flour and stir with a wooden spoon. The dough should be homogenous but quite soft. With a spoon, take approximately 60 g (2 oz) of pastry and stretch it gently with your hands on a lightly floured work surface until it is around 5 mm (¼ in) thick. This will form the base of your bocconotto, so stretch it to the required size (I used a 9 cm/3½ in round cookie cutter). Place it in a muffin hole so that it just reaches the top, then repeat to fill the remaining holes, making sure the pastry adheres to the side.
  4. Using a spoon, fill the pastry cups with the chocolate filling, making sure it reaches the top of the pastry. With the remaining pastry, use batches of about 30 g (1 oz) make small circles (approximately 7 cm/2¾ in) to cover the chocolate filling. Make sure your edges are sealed by carefully pressing all around the mould.
  5. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the top of each bocconotto is golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then carefully take them out of the tin and place them upside-down to cool. Once they have cooled, turn them over and dust with icing sugar. Bocconotti will keep for a few days in an airtight container.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00