Last Updated on June 3, 2015 by Chef Mireille
These cookies are a traditional northern Italian treat from the Valle d’Aosta region of Italy. Somewhere between a breadstick and a cookie, it makes a wonderful nighttime treat with tea, as it is not too sweet. Although not traditional, I used a little colored sugar just to make them look a little more festive.
I joined We Knead to Bake back in January, but when the April recipe was announced, I had yet to complete any of the previous months so it was time to play catch up. Eventhough I now have posted the Pull Apart Bread and the Milk Bread will be posted later in the week, these were actually the first recipe I tried for the group.
I am not an especially artistic person and I usually tend to avoid recipes that have me shaping dough. I prefer to use muffin tins, loaf pans or cookie cutters to achieve the desired shape. However, I gave it my all in forming these loop shaped cookies.
However, there were other challenges like me forgetting to let it rise a second time before putting it in the oven. So after 5 minutes in the oven, I quickly pulled it out and let it rise for about 10 minutes before sticking it back in the oven for 20 minutes. I could have redone the recipe as it is rather a simple one, but they still came out delicious despite the unorthodox in and out of the oven procedure, so I decided to post it as is. However, the recipe below is the original Nick Malgieri recipe used without my unplanned deviation. This shows what I always believe – recipes should be used as a guide, but they are not the Holy Grail and it’s your job as a cook to adapt to circumstances and make it work for you!
Mine are a little less puffy than these cookies usually are, but no one I shared them with minded!
Yield: 18-24 cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup warm water (110 F)
1 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
zest of 1 lemon, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons colored sugar (optional)
Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let rest for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, yeast and butter. Mix until fluffy. Add the yeast mixture and knead for a few minutes until you have a soft and pliable dough.
Place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours until the dough is bubbly, however, it won’t be double in size as with most bread doughs.
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator 1-24 hours. Mine was in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.
On a cutting board dusted with a little of the sugar, Roll into as close to a 6″square as possible. With a pizza wheel, cut into evenly sized squares. Combine the smaller pieces at the edges to form one cookie.
Place the sugar on a plate.
Take each piece of cut dough and roll into a pencil sized rope, about 5″ long. Roll in the sugar and form a loop. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Bake for 25 minutes, until slightly golden and crispy.
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