These elegant, lightly sweet cookies are a Calabrese tradition, passed down through the generations and enjoyed annually at Christmas and Easter.
- 9 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup baking powder
- 1 large orange
- 1 1/2 cups Crisco
- 9 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- splash of milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Put the flour, cinnamon and baking powder in a large bowl and mix together with a fork. Add the zest of the orange and stir to combine. Mix in Crisco with a fork or your fingers until the consistency resembles coarse sand.
- In another large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer, adding one egg and a sprinkle of sugar at a time, until all 9 eggs and 2 cups of sugar are combined. Beat in the juice of the orange and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture to the eggs, beating until it is all combined. Great Grandma Francesca did the entire thing by hand, but we like to use an electric mixer until the dough gets too thick, and then we switch to a wooden spoon to finish incorporating the ingredients. The finished dough should resemble pizza dough. If it’s too sticky, you can add more flour.
- To shape the cookies, put a light sprinkle of flour on the countertop. Grab a handful of dough and knead it on the counter a couple of times to get it nice and smooth. Break off a walnut-sized piece of dough and roll it between your palm and the countertop until it forms a smooth ball. Roll that ball into a log, about 8 inches long. Bring the ends of the log up next to each other to form a “U” shape, grab the bottom of the “U” with your other hand, and twist it a few times until the dough forms a tight spiral. Place the spiral on the counter and wrap it around your finger to form a circle. Pull the top end over the bottom and pinch it underneath slightly to close. Place onto a cookie sheet.
- Beat the egg wash ingredients together in a small bowl, and brush lightly over each cookie. Bake at 350°F until the cookies have puffed up and are nice and golden brown on top, about 10-15 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Francesca Cardile by Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen – Ashley Covelli