Spiced cookies with vinu cuotto
Christmas is the one occasion when the Eoliani all come together to eat, pray and celebrate the birth of Jesus. The saying is ‘Natale con i tuoi e Pasqua con chi vuoi ma non ti dimenticare i spicchiteddi’, Christmas is with yours and Easter is with who you want but don’t forget the spicchitedi!
- ½ kg of plain flour
- ½ kg of self-raising flour
- 2 desert spoons of caster sugar
- 1 cup of olive oil
- zest of one orange
- ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- Vinu cuotto (as needed)
- Blanched, whole almonds (as needed)
In a large bowl, sift together flour and spices. Add sugar and the orange zest.
Add the oil and mix with your hands until all combined.
Start to pour in the Vinu cuotto slowly, continuing to mix together with your hands until the mixture comes together in a ball. It will be soft.
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently until thoroughly combined. Do not over work the dough.
Pinch a tablespoon of dough at a time and roll a rope about 20cm long. The easiest design is to coil the ends of the rope inward to meet at the centre, or twist them in opposite directions to form a coiled ‘S’ shape. However, get creative. Try cutting slits into a thicker rope of dough and coiling those back to creative decorative flourishes. Just don’t over work the dough or it risks splitting. Don’t worry about being precise, as long as all your designs are roughly the same size they will bake evenly.
Press a whole almond into the centre of each cookie and place them 7.5cm apart on a greased baking tray.
Bake the spicchiteddi in a moderate oven for ten to fifteen minutes, or until brown at the edges. They will be springy to touch but they will harden as they cool. Cool on a rack.