This past Sunday was my granddaughter's christening. What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than to make some special cookies for the event. A cookie I haven't made in over twenty years or so are my mother's wands.
In doing a bit of research you can compare wands to the Polish chrusciki bow tie cookies. Other Italian names for this cookie are chiacchiere (to chatter), Cenci (rags) or Wandi.
It was interesting to compare my mother's recipe to that of Lidia Bastianich for fried ribbon cookies (crostoli) and Martha Stewart's mother's recipe for chrusciki, which are similar types of cookies. My mother's recipe used baking powder for a leavening agent and some vanilla.
Lidia Bastianich's recipe had no leavening agent, both orange and lemon juice and the zest of both. Martha Stewart's mother's recipe for Chrusciki had orange, lemon and vanilla extract, rum and white vinegar and the zest of both an orange and lemon.
I spent over four hours on Saturday making these cookies. I had forgotten how stiff this dough was. The dough seemed rather dry, so I added an extra egg and also added water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough came together. While recipes I read on line had you use a rolling pin to roll the dough out, my mother had a hand cranked pasta machine. It took about six passes through decreasing degrees of thickness to get the dough to come together and to roll out paper thin.
Once the dough was rolled out, into long strips, I then used a zigzag pasta/pastry cutter to cut long, slender strips. You then take one end and loop it as if you doing to tie a bow. I was able to fit four cookies in my frying pan at a time. Doing what my mother did, I cut open a brown food shopping bag and placed it on a cookie sheet. As the cookies came out of the frying pan, I placed the cookies on the bag to drain them of any excess oil. Once the cookies cooled, I removed them to a platter and generously dusted them with powdered sugar.
The cookies were a big hit at the christening. My siblings and my aunt were surprised by this dessert on Sunday. Other guests at the christening reminisced about growing up having Polish friends that made chrusciki and my daughter's mother-in-law, who is of Polish descent, remembered them from her youth.
I didn't use all the dough on Saturday, but have two nice size discs in my freezer that I will defrost and make in the near future.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.