Torcettini di Saint Vincent – Yeasted Cookie – We Knead to Bake #4

“Torcettini di Saint Vincent” – heard this name for the first time one when Aparna gave us the baking challenge for this month. These four months have been fun and have cooked different things till now and i am sure that the coming months will be full of baking surprises.

Same as i have done earlier i have followed Aparna’s recipe to the tee and so will be sharing her recipe here. Torcettini di Saint Vincent – these are cookies which have a crispy crust due to the caramelised sugar and has a chewy texture inside. It was a good experience baking these, not a favorite of mine but good for a try. So here goes a bit on the name of the cookie and the recipe as well.

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Torcettini are smaller versions ofTorcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/ teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butterwhich 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.

Torcettini di Saint Vincent

Recipe Source : My Diverse Kitchen

Ingredients

1/2 cup warm water

 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp  lemon zest

40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies

Method

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.

Put the flour and the salt in  large bowl  and mix. Add the butter pieces and  mix till the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.

Add the yeast-water mixture and mix till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over  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 2 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.
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 baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2″ between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly.
Bake them at 160C  for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown. Cool the cookies completely and store.
Pinks Notes :
You can make a chocolate version as well by adding 2tbsp cocoa and removing the same qty of maida.
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