In The Kitchen with Nonna
It’s been just over one week that my kitchen renovation has been complete, and I’ve finally been able to enjoy the fruits — err, cookies — of my labour. This weekend, my Nonna came over to give her Italian seal of approval on my kitchen and my Frigidaire Professional® appliances, and, together, we prepared some celebratory crostoli! And as anyone who knows my Nonna can guess, it was a day not without plenty of laughs and Nonna’s infamous hilarious commentary (enjoy a snippet of it below).
Needless to say, she gave her own version of approval, and I spent the rest of my Sunday munching away on the golden goodness, but I won’t keep it all to myself. The best part about baking, cooking and hosting is sharing what you have with others, so with the Holiday’s around the corner, I thought I’d share my Nonna’s recipe for Italian Crostoli.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons of milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla
- 3 tablespoons of orange juice
- The zest of 1 lemon
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1/4 cup sugar for dusting, or as needed
Before I begin with the steps for making these cookies, I should mention that me Nonna doesn’t measure or use any gadgets; she cooks and bakes from the heart and doesn’t even touch a spoon in this process, so in staying true to my Nonna, my recipe follows her steps.
- Dump the flour onto a clean surface such as a counter-top. Make a mound with it and then use your fist to make a hole in the center of the mound.
- Pour the sugar, salt, milk, eggs, vanilla, orange juice and lemon zest into the center of the flour mound and mix with a clean hand or fork. (If you should have a nice mixer or food processor, you can easily mix these ingredients first, and then add the flour)
- Knead the mixture into a dough until it resembles a soft, smooth ball. If it’s too sticky, add in more flour. If it’s cracking and dry, add more milk or orange juice.
- Separate into two balls and place them in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
- On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten the chilled dough until it’s 1/4″ thick, or to your liking. The flatter, the crispier, and the thicker, the softer and doughier.
- Cut the dough into long strips (approximately 1″ x 10″). Tie each strip into a loose knot.
- Heat a shallow pot filled with vegetable to approximately 350° F.
- Drop 8-12 cookies in at a time using tongs or a slotted spoon. Turn them after 1-2 minutes or until you can see them getting golden in colour.
- In the meantime, line a large bowl with paper towel and have your sugar prepared for dusting.
- After 3-5 minutes, the cookies should be done. Take them out with a slotted spoon and place them into the lined bowl. Immediately, sprinkle sugar on top while they’re piping hot.
- Repeat steps 8-10 until all the cookies are made. Enjoy!