Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
These twisted and fried cookies, which look like wrapped pieces of candy, are a favorite Christmas giveaway. I developed it using leftover pieces of dough and a few teaspoons of ground walnuts that were on hand after making a sweet rotolo. Everyone loves these, and the dough is very easy to work with.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
In a bowl, mix the flour and butter together with your hands or a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add the water and mix until a ball of dough is formed. Do not over mix. (Alternatively, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a ball of dough is formed.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
In a small bowl, mix together the walnuts and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a square, and trim it to an even, 10-inch square, reserving the scraps. With a pastry wheel, cut the dough length-wise into 5 strips, and cut each strip into 5 squares.
Lightly brush each square with the melted butter. Place about 1 teaspoon of the walnut filling in the center of each square, and roll each one up like a small jelly roll. Pinch the seam closed and twist each end. Place the caramelle on a clean towel. Gather the
dough scraps together and reroll to make more caramelle.
In a deep-flyer or a deep heavy pan, heat the oil to 375° F. Fry the caramelle, a few at a time, until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to brown paper to drain.
While they are still warm, roll each caramella several times in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.