I joined the group WE KNEAD TO BAKE by Aparna thinking I will be friends with yeast and so far this being my second bake I am good.
This is WE KNEAD TO BAKE #4 and Aparna has chosen Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta)
In case you are wondering like me what on earth this is when you see the name then Aparna, who is very through has provided the answer to that they are yeasted cookies!
I quote the Aparna here word to word
“Torcettini are smaller versions of Torcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/ teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butter which are shaped and then rolled in sugar before being baked. These biscuits are synonymous with the town of Saint Vincent in Valle d’Aosta, a small mountainous region in North-Western Italy, even though they’re well known throughout the Piedmont region as well.
The origin of these biscuits is believed to be from Grissini (breadsticks) which were made from the leftover scraps of bread dough. According to one story, a Grissini baker had some leftover butter which he needed to use up. Inspiration struck and he decided to add the butter to the last batch of his Grissini dough for the day. To be able to differentiate this lot of “breadsticks”, he rolled them in sugar and shaped them into loops, and the Torcetti was born. Torcetti/ Torchettinitaste even better when they’re flavoured with lime/ lemon zest or anise.
These biscuits are crunchy, not very sweet and pair very well with cold milk, hot chocolate, tea/ coffee or wine. They are delicious served warm and equally good cold, and keep very well if stored in airtight containers. Apparently, Queen Margaret, the wife of King Umberto I of Savoy loved these biscuits so much during her stay in Valle d’Aosta, that she gave her servants enough provisions to bake an abundant supply for her consumption.
Here’s a video if you want a to see how these biscuits are shaped. (The recipe is a different one) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufOniWuKflA”
I have copied the recipe that Aprana has provided with the challenge verbatim. The only change I will make next time is not add the chocolate and use some essence as the girls were not too keen and kept wrinkling their noses at the yeasty smell that the biscuits had.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent
(Adpated from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri)
This recipe makes 24 biscuits.
- 1/2 cup warm water, about 110F
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast 1 tsp instant yeast)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (if making chocolate torcettini)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp lime/ lemon zest (replace with orange zest for the chocolate version)
- 40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- About 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.
- Put the flour and the salt in the food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) and pulse a couple of times to mix.
- Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.
- If making chocolate Torcetti, remove 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and add the 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder mentioned in the recipe. Don’t add the lemon zest/ anise. Use orange zest and maybe add 1/ 2 tsp instant coffee powder with the flour.
- Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead.
- Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit.
- This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb.
- Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it.
- Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized bits of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.
- Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.
- Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2″ between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. Don’t worry, they will not “puff up” much.
- Bake them at 160C (325F) for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown.
- Cool the cookies completely, on a rack.
- Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Hi! First time here? Well then you are Most Welcome! I hope you keep coming back for more here. If you are my regular visitor then Thanks, for you encourage me to experiment more!! I would like you to please click on my link below and like my Face Book page. I will be happy if you can follow me onTwitter too!