Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wine Cookies from Tuscany--Otherwise Ciambelle

It is easy to fall in love with Italian food. But even among the dishes I tried I found some that I liked more than others. One of them were ciambelle--the Italian wine cookies.

Italian cookies are different than American. Not only because of different ingredients they are made of but also because they are barely sweet. I could eat many of them enjoying their taste without worrying about their sugar content.

I am not a breakfast person and eat hardly anything with my morning coffee but a cup of espresso and a couple of delicate sandy cookies will always be my sweet breakfast memories from Rome.

My favorite ciambelle came from Tuscany. They are made just with flour, olive oil, wine, and a bit of sugar. Wine, and in that particular recipe red wine, gives them the taste and acts as a rising agent. They are finished on top with whole hazelnuts. The brand I liked most also used whole wheat flour which made them even healthier, especially as a morning snack.

I got many different recipes on how to make ciambelle. The one I tried was exactly the same as the ciambelle I ate in Rome. I made a large batch of them, which I stored in a jar and enjoy every morning.

Ciambelle--Wine Cookies

3 cups all purpose flour plus extra for dusting,
1 cup whole wheat flour,
1 cup olive oil,
1 cup red wine,
1/2 cup sugar plus extra 1/4 cup for the top,
1 cup whole, roasted hazelnuts,
a pinch of salt.

1. Sift both flours into a large bowl. Add sugar and salt and mix well. Pour in wine and olive oil and knee a dough.

2. Preheat oven to 400F.
3. To make cookies take out a pieces of dough and roll out into a long about 1/2 inch thick snake. Cut it into 10-inch long pieces and close to make a circle. Dust with sugar and place on a baking sheet. Put on top 4-6 hazelnuts.

4. Bake the cookies for about 30 minutes.
5. Let them cool down and put them in an airtight container for future consumption.

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