Dino gets together with his dad and uncle around this time every year to make his grandma’s Christmas cookies. They’re the kind that she used to make when she was back in Calabria, Italy. They’re dense, honey-coated cookies, some of which (the Chinudille) are filled with nuts and raisins. It’s a tradition that they want to keep in the family. It’s always a lot of fun when they come together to bake these, and it’s the one time of the year that I avoid the kitchen for a few hours. Our tiny kitchen isn’t big enough for more than that many people. This recipe makes a TON of cookies, and I’m glad to have it as a family tradition.
Here’s a shot of the 3 of them consulting the recipe (and drinking some wine!):
And here’s Uncle Tony coating the baked cookies in honey:
Turdilli & Chinudille
Covelli Family Recipe
5 lbs All Purpose Flour (plus extra flour for dusting)
1 Bottle Sweet Vermouth (750 ML)
2 Cups Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Olive Oil
2 T Sugar
2 T Orange Zest (approximately 2 oranges)
1 T Salt
1 t Cinnamon
Filling (for Chinudille):
1 lb Crushed Walnuts
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Raisins
2 T Grape Jelly
3 lbs minus 1 Cup Honey
2 Very Large Mixing Bowls
1 Medium Sized Sauce Pan
2 Cookie Sheets
3-4″ Diameter Circular Cookie Cutter, Jar or Coffee Can
(Optional: Silpat® Non-Stick Baking Mat)
In a very large mixing bowl, whisk the the oil, sweet vermouth, salt and sugar. In a separate, very large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, orange zest and cinnamon. Create a pool in the center of the flour. Crack the eggs into the pool and beat them until they begin to absorb the flour. Incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour, slowly folding them together. Kneed with your hands until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste. Cover the bowl with a towel and let stand.
Filling (for Chinudille):
Heat 1 cup of the honey in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the Raisins, Crushed Walnuts and Jelly. Keep warm.
Assembling the Chinudille:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Dust the counter with flour and add a large handful of dough. Using the rolling pin, roll the dough evenly until it is fairly thin. Cut 3-4″ circles out of the dough. Add 1 T of filling to each circle, fold in half and crimp closed with a fork. Bake on a greased cookie sheet (or Silpat) for 20 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove cookies and let cool.
Creating the Turdilli:
Dust the counter with flour and add a large handful of dough. Roll the dough into a pipe, about 1/2″ in diameter. Cut on a slight angle into 1 1/2 inch long, diagonal segments. Using the tines of a fork, push backwards on the dough to shape “gnocchi” with fairly deep grooves. Bake on a greased cookie sheet (or Silpat) for 20 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove cookies and let cool.
After the cookies have cooled, add about 1″ of honey to a medium sized saucepan over high heat. When the honey begins to boil, remove it from the burner and add a couple handfuls of cookies. Using a slotted spoon, stir and coat the cookies. Drain the excess honey and allow cookies to cool. Add more honey, reheat and repeat as necessary.
Allow the cookies to cool for at least an hour before serving.
Big Flavors Rating: 5 Stars