Friday, December 12, 2014

Just a Little Thing...A New Book and My Favorite Christmas Cookie Ever

A year of work has finally come to an end.....

After a lot of recipe collecting and bugging my Mom for her instructions for my favorite childhood treats, writing, editing, photographing and a few extra pounds from, ehem, taste testing.....this labor of love is finally finished.  It's just a little thing- 18 recipes that represent the collective kitchen wisdom of three generations of my family bound together into one sweet book.  My Mom and I worked together to make this book before some of these recipes disappeared forever without being written down.  My original intention was to give copies as gifts for my family, but I got so many requests for a copy from friends far and wide that I decided to self publish the book and offer it for sale.

So if you head on over to Blurb, you'll find My Mother's Kitchen for sale in a few different formats.  You can grab a hard or soft cover 7x7 inch book or download an ebook for your iphone or iPad.  I'd be honored if you were fond enough of me or my recipes to purchase yourself a copy.  Thrilled and humbled beyond belief as well.

I thought I'd give you a little taste of what's in the book today.  In keeping with the current theme of European cookies, here's my favorite Italian cookie.  We always called them dardeeds because that's how my Nana pronounced it, but I have since come to find out that the actual name for this cookie is turdilli.  I'm sticking with dardeeds, but you can call them whatever you like.  Maybe call them delicious.  Turdilli are definitely a regional secret from Calabria- most people have never seen or heard of them.  I aim to change that right now.

Turdilli {or Dardeeds}

Makes a mountain of cookies.  Divide the recipe by 3 for a more reasonable amount.
For the printable of this recipe, click here

3 cups neutral flavored oil           
2 cups dry red wine               
1 cup whiskey               
11 1/2 cups + 1 tbs all purpose flour       
8 1/2 cups semolina flour           
2 tsp sugar               
3 eggs                   
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs ground clove

Neutral flavored oil for frying
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves, divided
 2 lbs. honey
1/4 cup sugar

Place the oil, wine and whiskey in a large pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for just a couple of minutes to burn off the alcohol.  Remove from the stove and cool.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, semolina, sugar, ground cloves and ground cinnamon.  Pour in the cooled liquid ingredients and the 3 eggs.  Mix until you have a cohesive, sturdy dough. 

In a large pot, pour enough oil to fill the pot about three inches deep.  Place the cinnamon sticks and 7 cloves into the oil.  Insert a candy thermometer into the pot.  Heat over medium until the oil reaches 350 degrees.

In the meantime, cut small sections of dough (keep the rest of the dough in a covered bowl) and form ropes about the diameter of your thumb. Cut into ¾ to 1” pieces and roll them on a fork or a wooden board used to roll cavatelli/gnocchi. Fry the dardeeds in batches, turning gently once, until golden.  Let cool.

Rub the sides of a bowl large enough to hold all the finished dardeeds with half a lemon.  Place the honey in a pot large enough to hold all the dardeeds. Add the remain cloves to the honey. Mix the sugar and flour together and add it to the honey also. Warm the mixture to just above a simmer but not quite boiling.  Add the dardeeds and toss gently until they are all coated well. Remove from heat and turn out into the prepared bowl. Keep covered with foil.

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