I used to have them at Auntie Adeline's, but I always thought Uncle Charlie got them at the Italian bakery. And I never knew what they were called.
Years later at the library, I got into conversation with a woman - I hardly remember it, really - but I ended up with a recipe for cookies called "Totos". And they are the ones!
A few years ago we had a post holiday get-together - my Italian cousins - and I made them. Oh, the teasing I got - "just like Auntie Adeline's"! So - she had baked them herself. My half-Sicilian cousins pronounce them something like "duh DAWS". Well, so much for "toe toes" (and your little dog, too). I don't know how they are really pronounced or which region they come from; they're not in any Italian cookbook we have at the library. I've seen a few versions of the recipe online but they contain Crisco - mine has oil. I'll keep mine, thank you!
I thought I would share it -
Mix dry ingredients together first -
4 c. flour
1 c. cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 cup cold coffee
2/3 c. oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp. lemon zest
Now mix in the dry, a few tablespoons at a time. (You can actually just throw everything into the bowl together, but I find it easier to do it this way - it's more orderly.)
The recipe calls for 1 1/2 c. of chopped nuts and 1 c. raisins. I tend to leave out the nuts, so more raisins than a cup would be good. Mix them in, whatever they are. The dough is sticky.
With well-oiled hands, roll balls of about a soup spoon size and put them on a greased sheet. You'll get four or five dozen. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes - yes, they take a while! Start checking them at 20 mins; that might be enough.
They don't spread, which is nice, and come off the cookie sheets very neatly. When they're cool, mix up an icing with the juice of a lemon and about 2 c. of xxx sugar.