Nonni’s Twists (cookies)

Nonni Clara:  Cir. 1950’s

Nonni's Twists

Yes, these are as proper and delicious as they look!  Doesn't the picture of these little twists look like proper ladies with their legs crossed?  I so remember these cookies from my childhood.  My Nonni was a northern Italian living in a quaint, neat cottage in Anaheim, California.  Her kitchen was perfectly retro, down to the cast iron apron front-sink & the wall-mounted faucet.  Her kitchen was bright and faced the east, so the daylight coming in to the kitchen was always light and soft.  She had the sweetest little nook where they ate their meals together.  Their kitchen table was also retro.  In hind sight, that was a totally cool kitchen, and the nook where we ate, gave a perfect little garden view.  I loved that little house and remember it fondly, as my sister and I would spend several summer's there visiting from Northern California.  Nonni's kitchen was always in full production.  Her table was always set for breakfast when we woke, lunch which was at 11:30, and dinner, which was somewhere between 4 and 5 p.m....not a second late.  She was the Nonni that always had a "sweetie" in the house, fresh from the oven, and these cookies were usually made upon request from my sister and I.  I inherited this recipe from my mom, and I've made them a few times telling my kids, "this is what I ate when I was a little girl".  As you'll notice from my pictures, sometimes they turn out really nice, and other times I've struggled with the dough.  I think the key element to these cookies, is taking the time, just like Nonni did.  Make them with love, and if you want to make them extra special, finish them with a sugar, lemon juice glaze...otherwise, just sprinkle some powder sugar on.  Think of my Nonni when you make these...

Enjoy!


Print
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 50 twists

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together

  2. hand mix butter until smooth crumbles

  3. beat eggs and add liquids

  4. mix together by hand

  5. preheat oven  to 350, form cookies by rolling a small piece in a rope, then cross them over and twist.  Cook for 25 min. or until light golden. 

    Let cool, then ice with a sugar/lemon juice glaze.

Recipe Notes

This recipe was taken direct from my Nonni's personal cookbook.  She did a lot of mixing by hand, since there wasn't a kitchen aid nearby!  Try going retro when you make these cookies.  It brings you back to the good old days! 

p.s. Living in Europe, I've yet to see evaporated milk.  I've just read online that you can make your own evaporated milk by simmering down 2 1/4 (cups/parts) down to 1 part. 

Swiss Bread: Aargauer Brot

trademark shape

The Aargauer bread is our next post.  It was not an easy bread to find however.  We searched all the neighboring bakeries in the Argau region with no avail.  This bread was no where to be found!  Upon special request from the local baker, he said he could make us the bread, no problem.  It seems that the Kanton of Aargau was known for it’s carrot cake, but no longer for it’s bread.  Typical in character, this bread has a longish form with pointed ends.  The dough is usually made from Ruch or Halbweiss flour, and has a slight “s” form sliced along the top, end to end.  Lastly, this bread is brushed with hot water, thus giving the bread the typical shine when finished and baked.

The results of this bread were quite pleasing.  I’m puzzled as to why it’s so hard to find.  The bread is airy, with a perfect amount of denseness to it.  It’s crunchy on the top, and soft on the bottom, and for being a ruchbrot, (bread made from wheat flour), you’d never know it!  My vote is to get this bread back into full production!  It’s a hit in my book.

  • trademark shape

A Turkey With Friends: 2017

Since we had two Thanksgiving celebration’s this year, I had 2 different menu options.  I’m not sure why so much fear has been instilled in us upon cooking a turkey, but I think it’s important for anyone facing Thanksgiving meal prep, that cooking a turkey is one of the easiest things to do in the kitchen.  I think the most difficult part of any holiday meal is the planning.  Looking for different, or more up-dated food options always keeps things fresh and exciting.  My menu for the friend gathering was more of a pot-luck style.  I cooked the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, buns and carrots,..while my friends brought the additions:  corn casserole, carrots, cranberry salad, and dessert (apple and pumpkin pie).

I’ll post the recipe for the stuffing, & the turkey.  Enjoy!

  • the set table

Holiday Turkey

So, one of the most important things I think for a successful meal, is a high-quality turkey.  We ordered ours, and picked it up 24 hours after slaughter.  It was extremely fresh, and ready to be seasoned, stuffed and baked.  I learned a few years back that once you put your turkey in, keep the oven door closed until the end.  When enough time has passed (based on weight, stuffed, etc), take it out, measure the temperature and when it's reached 165 degrees, then you're good.  It really is that simple.  The other turkey essential is a delicious stuffing.  I always go with an Italian undertone with herbs, turkey hearts and gizzards, Italian sausage, and a good bouillon base. 

Print
Course 2 Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 Turkey
  • 2 loaf french/italian bread diced about 10 cups
  • 2 onions diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 4-6 stocks celery diced
  • 1 celery root peeled and diced
  • 2-3 strips bacon
  • 1-2 boullon cubes for flavor
  • 1-2 pats butter for sautee
  • 2-4 TBS olive oil for sautee
  • 2-3 sprigs herbs sage, rosemary, oregano
  • 2-3 TBS butter smear for bird
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1-2 cups white wine for base of turkey tray

Instructions

  1. Like I said, find first a good-high quality turkey.  Let it sit, room temperature a few hours before your bake begins


  2. while the turkey acclimates to room temperature, gather your stuffing essentials.  As you can see, we have onion, garlic, apricots, celery and celery root, bouillon, herbs

  3. Get your bread, a chiabatta or french loaf

  4. dice it up to amount to 10 cups worth

  5. Begin to sautee the items for the stuffing.  Onion, bacon, and the rest of the raw ingredients.  When the meat, and other ingredients are cooked, mix well with the dry bread.  and combine well.

  6. Your cooked stuffing is now ready to be stuffed into the hollow cavity of the bird.

  7. In a deep roasting dish, add the wine and some bouillon stock to the base.  Put turkey in, smeared with butter, salt pepper, and herbs.  Now, stuff the bird.  Secure her in the dish, and begin her roast.

  8. Put her in a set oven @ 200 degrees Celsius, and keep the door closed until the calculated time (based on size and stuffing) has been determined.  Take her out when finished, measure temperature with thermometer, then cover with foil and let her sit for up to 30 minutes.  This encourages her juices to accumulate and will enhance moisture in the meat. 

  9. Take out stuffing, slice and serve.

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