Monday, December 19, 2011

A Taste of the Old Country: Khrustiki Cookies for Chanukah


Twig Cookies (Khrustiki) P Yield: 60 twigs
We went to Russia several years ago and I made a cocktail party before our trip for which I only made Russian dishes. As I am from partly Russian descent, it was a lot of fun to do. One of the books I bought to work with is called : Please To The Table by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman. 
Here is their recipe for Twig cookies which I thought would be a nice addition to the Chanukah table. I only changed it by increasing the brandy from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. They are crisp and light and “kichel” like.  The dough is easy to work with and can be twisted into as many shapes as your fingers will allow. I made twigs and knots.  Despite the brandy and rum in the cookies , the main taste is a sweet one-the perfect way to end a meal.
Prep: 30 min.   Frying time: 30 min.
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon rum
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for deep frying
½ cup confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
1.       Beat together the eggs, yolk, water, brandy, rum and sugar in a large bowl or electric mixer.
2.       Mix dry ingredients together (not confectioner’s sugar) and add slowly to the egg mixture.  When the dough starts to come together, scrape it onto a floured surface and knead it until smooth. Divide it in half. Dust each half in flour if you are going to wrap it up and roll it out later-otherwise sprinkle a surface with flour and roll out half the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut it into 6 x3/4 inch strips.
3.       Heat oil in electric deep fryer or deep frying pan until it reaches 375 F. Last time I did this I used a frying pan, this time I used an electric deep fryer. Much easier in the electric fryer!
4.       Shape strips: 1. Cut a slit 2-3 inches from one end and pull the other end through (twigs) 2. Tie strip in a loose knot 3. Let your nimble fingers create other shapes.
5.       Fry the dough about 12 at a time for about 3 minutes or until golden. Turn them carefully if they don’t turn themselves. Drain on paper towels and cool completely before sprinkling liberally with confectioners sugar. Another idea- You could also melt some apricot jam and dip them.) Delicious!

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