Carnevale Cookies

Do Not Start your Diet as Yet… 

The “Crostoli” are typical “Carnevale only Cookies”, they appear on pasticcerie at the beginning of February until Carnevale, and then that’s it until next year.

These crunchy and delicate cookies are called with different names depending on the regions of origin: Chiacchiere and Lattughe (lettuce) in Lombardy, Cenci (rags) and Donzelle (damsels) in Tuscany, Frappe and Sfrappole in Emilia, Crostoli in Trentino and Veneto, Galani and Gale in Veneto, Bugie (lies) in Piedmont, as well as Rosette, Lasagne, Pampuglie, and maybe something else again in other regions. 

Crostoli (to simplify…)

They are a very crumbly dessert, obtained by thinly pulling a simple dough then fried and sprinkled with confectionary sugar for the final touch. Their rectangular shape, with two sharp central cuts, makes the Crostoli unmistakable and immediately appeal of adults and children from long time. Their presence in the windows makes the air immediately sparkling and cheerful, together with the sweet dumplings—simple or stuffed they also have many names; Castagnole, Zeppole, Frittelle, or “Frittoe” as they are called in Venice.

Ingredients for about 40 small Crostoli

  • Flour Type 00 500 gr
  • Butter 20 gr
  • Sugar 30 g 
  • Eggs 3 
  • Salt 1 pinch 
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zested
  • Frying Vegetable oil as needed  

TO Sprinkle

Powdered sugar

Follow These Easy Steps

Place the flour on a bowl, add the sugar, the softened butter, the grated lemon zest, and the eggs. The original recipe demands grappa, but it is optional, especially if served to children.

Knead with your hands until you get a homogeneous and elastic dough. Divide the dough into three pieces and roll out each with the help of a rolling pin making layers of about 3mm thick. [I use my KitchenAid for this, I get a wonderful result]

Then get the rectangles from the pastry, using a wheel pastry cutter, and make a central cut on each rectangle.

Heat the oil in a pan and, as soon as it is boiling, place the crostoli in—a few at a time. I use a small pan to fry, and dip only a couple at a time. It is more manageable in my view.

Cook them, turning them from time to time, until they are golden. 

Once ready, drain them with a skimmer and place them on the kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Let them cool and sprinkle with plenty of sugar.  Your Carnival crostoli are ready to be served. 

To obtain friable Crostoli, the frying oil must not exceed 170-180 °

Do not forget to make the central incision to your Crostoli: this way they won’t form a large air bubble in the middle. They should be light and crisp.

There are several variations to the recipe of Crostoli, such replacing grappa with other liquors such as rum, marsala, brandy, etc. Many people love to add the grated lemon zest to the dough (suggested as they are cookies mainly for children), and they can have different shapes from the classic: rhomboidal, square, the knotted strip, or other particular shapes. It is generally used to sprinkle these sweets with confectionary sugar or with granulated sugar.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

2 thoughts on “Carnevale Cookies

  1. ….sigh. Not wanting to use the ‘good’ grappas on the liquor stand, instead I used a homemade Hungarian plumb liquor given me by a friend, in the ‘chiacchiere’ dough. Heavens… the cookies looked marvelous, light crunch, rightly golden and crisp, lovely and still warm on the tongue at onset then… with increasing vigor… a soapish, cheap perfume- fragrance emanating from somewhere near the back of your throat like some sort of toxic red-hued algal tide foaming up onto your favorite beach, or maybe the scent of a squalid, curtain-dark bordello room in a poor immigrant quarter of Budapest, like soviet tanks invading, a thick flavor of long since too-offended prunes, like a cheep spray, the contrast with sugar-sweet fried dough so… hard to accept, the whole batch down the drain, as it were. Always use the good stuff….


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