Mostaccioli are typical Neapolitan cookies, also common through Southern Italy. The name of these cookies comes from the Latin mustacea, a cake made out of “must,” or unfermented grape juice. Cato, the anciant Roman philosopher, describes a cake made of combination of rye flour, cumin, cheese, anise, and eggs, wrapped in bay leaves.
In the modern traditional recipe, there is not much left of the ancient Roman one, other than a similarity in the name. But mostaccioli have been traditionally very popular all throughout central and southern Italy for centuries.
There are many different versions, some containing honey or chocolate, some harder or softer, but all very rich in spices.
Mostaccioli can become very tough if they become dry, but the chocolate icing help keep them soft for a longer time.