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Chiacchiere

MAKES 9 TO 10 DOZEN

Somewhere between a pastry and a cookie, these flaky, twisted strips of dough are usually made during Carnevale, the period just before Lent. Chiacchiere means "chit-chat" or "gossip," and like chatter that does not stop, you will not be able to stop eating these.

The dough has the consistency of pasta dough, and if you have a hand-crank pasta machine, you can turn these out in no time at all. Mound these on a pretty plate for a party presentation.

Ingredients

2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 extra-large egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons brandy or rum

Vegetable oil for deep-frying Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

Directions

To make the dough using a food processor, combine all the ingredients in the bowl and process until a ball of dough starts to form. Add a little water if the mixture seems dry. The dough should be soft but not sticky, with the consistency of pasta dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times.

To make the dough by hand, in a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your hands or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg, milk, lemon juice, and brandy or rum, and knead until a ball of dough forms.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Work with one piece at a time. Run each piece of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine to the thinnest setting. Alternatively, using a rolling pin, roll each piece out on a floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick.

With a pastry wheel, cut each piece into 5 by 1-inch strips. Twist each strip loosely and place on clean cloths.

In a deep fryer or deep heavy pan, heat the vegetable oil to 375ºF. Fry the strips about 12 at a time until golden brown. Drain on brown paper.

When cool, sprinkle the strips with confectioners' sugar.

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