#HelloProKitchenReno: In The Kitchen with Nonna

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It’s been just over one week that my kitchen renovation has been complete — if you didn’t see it, check it out here –, and I’ve finally been able to enjoy the fruits — err, cookies — of my labour. This weekend, my Nonna came over to give her Italian seal of approval on my kitchen and my Frigidaire Professional® appliances, and, together, we prepared some celebratory crostoli! And as anyone who knows my Nonna can guess, it was a day not without plenty of laughs and Nonna’s infamous hilarious commentary (enjoy a snippet of it below).

Needless to say, she gave her own version of approval and was pleased with my Frigidaire Professional® appliances and how much easier preparing was thanks to them. We made great use of all four appliances, and their many special features came in handy for things like melting butter in the Microwave, chilling dough quickly in the cool drawer in the French Door Refrigerator, controlling the heat on the Gas Range, and the best part, not having to hand wash all of the messy dishes we used to put it all together in the Dishwasher.

I spent the rest of my Sunday munching away on the golden goodness, but I won’t keep it all to myself. The best part about baking, cooking and hosting is sharing what you have with others, so with the Holiday’s around the corner, I thought I’d share my Nonna’s recipe for Italian Crostoli.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons of orange juice
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup sugar for dusting, or as needed

Preparation:

Before I begin with the steps for making these cookies, I should mention that me Nonna doesn’t measure or use any gadgets; she cooks and bakes from the heart and doesn’t even touch a spoon in this process, so in staying true to my Nonna, my recipe follows her steps.

  1. Dump the flour onto a clean surface such as a counter-top. Make a mound with it and then use your fist to make a hole in the center of the mound.
  2. Pour the sugar, salt, milk, eggs, vanilla, orange juice and lemon zest into the center of the flour mound and mix with a clean hand or fork. (If you should have a nice mixer or food processor, you can easily mix these ingredients first, and then add the flour)
  3. Knead the mixture into a dough until it resembles a soft, smooth ball. If it’s too sticky, add in more flour. If it’s cracking and dry, add more milk or orange juice.
  4. Separate into two balls and place them in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten the chilled dough until it’s 1/4″ thick, or to your liking. The flatter, the crispier, and the thicker, the softer and doughier.
  6. Cut the dough into long strips (approximately 1″ x 10″). Tie each strip into a loose knot.
  7. Heat a shallow pot filled with vegetable to approximately 350° F.
  8. Drop 8-12 cookies in at a time using tongs or a slotted spoon. Turn them after 1-2 minutes or until you can see them getting golden in colour.
  9. In the meantime, line a large bowl with paper towel and have your sugar prepared for dusting.
  10. After 3-5 minutes, the cookies should be done. Take them out with a slotted spoon and place them into the lined bowl. Immediately, sprinkle sugar on top while they’re piping hot.
  11. Repeat steps 8-10 until all the cookies are made. Enjoy!

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