Macarongigli (Little Macaroni)

Macarongigli (Little Macaroni) | Bakewell Junction

Macarongigli (Little Macaroni) | Bakewell Junction

Macarongigli is a dish we ate every Saturday when I was a kid.  I don’t know if it was something that was specific to the town my family came from in Italy or something my Grandmother created but we loved it.  My Dad loved it too.  I’m sure of the spelling either, so I did the best I could with it.

I use Pennsylvania Dutch noodles for this recipe and my Mom and Grandmother used the same.  It’s a quick and easy side dish.  You can pair it with just about any main entrée.  The bonus is that the hubby loves it too.  I think you’ll enjoy Macarongigli as much as my family does.

 Macarongigli (Little Macaroni) 2 | Bakewell Junction

Macarongigli

Yield:  6 servings                  Cook Time:  3 to 4 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt (if not adding grated cheese, you can add another teaspoon of salt)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or a drizzle
  • 1 12 ounce package of fine egg noodles
  • grated cheese (I use pecorino romano), to taste
  • butter (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Heat water, salt and oil to boiling in a medium stock pot.  Add the noodles and stir with a wooden spoon.  Let water come to a boil again while stirring occasionally.  Let noodles cook for 3 minutes.

Step 2:  Crack an egg into the noodle mixture and immediately break the yolk and stir well to disperse the egg throughout.  Repeat with the second egg.  When you see the white flecks of egg throughout the noodles (about another minute), it’s done.  Remove from heat and serve while hot in small bowls topped with grated cheese.  If using, add a pat of butter per individual serving and stir in (hubby likes this; my family doesn’t add the butter).

Enjoy!!!

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Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats ~ Week 3 ~ Phil’s Grandmother’s Italian Cookies

It’s the third week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

Last week I wrote about the Pizzelle cookie which is a Christmas a tradition in my family.  This week I’m making a cookie that has been a tradition in my brother-in-law’s family.  My sister’s husband’s family makes this cookie during Christmas and other holidays all year long.  When my sister began making them and bringing them to family gatherings, we found that we loved them and then added them to our Christmas cookie list.  Once I began making these cookies regularly, I’ve developed a method for forming and baking the cookies.

These cookies have a melt-in-your-mouth quality.  They are light and slightly sweet which is a perfect foil for the sweet frosting.  Being small and bite-size makes them easy to pop in your mouth and, trust me, you won’t be able to stop at just one.  Small cookies don’t really have any calories do they?

One recipe makes a lot of cookies but since they’re small, I don’t see this as a problem.  I give these away to friends and family.  If I’m visiting, I bring along a variety of cookies and these are always included.

Enjoy.

The dough is pretty easy to mix but handling the dough is needs some show and tell.  After the dough is chilled, cut the dough into quarters.

Cut thin slices from the dough currently being used, similar to french fries.

Rounding the edges with your fingertips.

Cut the dough into three inch strips.

Begin creating the vertical cork screw.

Bring the dough around.

Finish the cork screw.

Ready for the oven.

Hot out of the oven.

Barely golden on the bottom.

Frosted deliciousness.

Phil’s Grandmother’s Italian Cookies

Yield:  190 – 200 cookies                  Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients

Cookie Dough:

  • 1/2 pound or 2 sticks butter (softened or melted – I melt the butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 cups flour plus some additional for dusting while forming the cookies

Icing:

  • 1/4 pound or 1 stick butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 2 pound box or 3 1/3 – 4 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (after adding 1 1/2 tablespoons, add remaining milk in small increments)
  • Red and green food coloring, optional

Directions:

Step 1:  For the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer cream butter, sugar and vanilla together.  Stir in the baking powder and 4 cups of flour until combined.  Place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for easier handling; at least 4 1/2 hours (I usually chill overnight).

Step 3:  Once the dough has chilled long enough, remove it from the refrigerator and cut it in quarters with three parallel cuts.  Remove a quarter of the dough out of the refrigerator at a time to form the cookies, so the dough doesn’t get too soft and sticky.  Place the remaining dough into the refrigerator until ready to shape the next quarter batch.

Step 4:  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Place the quarter of dough removed from the refrigerator on the work surface and cut a thin slice (about 1/4 inch thick); then cut the slice into french fry shapes.  Break the pieces of dough into about three inch lengths and round the edges longways with your fingertips so the three inch lengths look like they were rolled.  Twist the dough into a vertical corkscrew curl and place on the baking sheet.  Place each cookie about a half inch apart.  Repeat until all the dough is finished from the quarter batch removed from the refrigerator.

Step 5:  Repeat step 4 for the remaining three quarters of dough until all the dough has been shaped into cookies.  Bake cookies for 10 minutes, one cookie sheet at a time.  When done, the cookies should be set and the bottoms should show barely a hint of golden color.  Let cool completely.

Step 6:  For the frosting, mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk together in a medium bowl.  Add the remaining tablespoon of milk in small increments as necessary to reach a creamy but not runny consistency.

Step 7:  For festive colors divide frosting into batches.  Stir in drops of red food coloring into one batch until the desired shade is reached.  Place a dollop of frosting on each cookie.  Repeat with green food coloring.

Step 8:  Let frosting dry for several hours or overnight and then store in an airtight container.

Tips:  If the entire recipe yields too many cookies for you the recipe can easily be cut in half.  Handling the dough to much can make the cookies tough.  Cooking them too long can make them dry.  If some of the cookies are stuck together during baking, this will just make it easier to frost – they can be broken apart after the frosting dries.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.  The cookies are fine for several days when stored this way.

Variations:  After chilling, you can roll the dough and use cookie cutters to shape the cookies.

Enjoy!!!

Adapted from my brother-in-law’s family recipe.

Have a look at the other great cookies in the blog hop by clicking on the Linky Tools link below.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 3, October 11, 2012

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12 Weeks of Christmas Treats ~ Week 2 ~ Pizzelle

It’s the second week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

A staple of my Christmas cookies is the Pizzelle.  Pizzelle means small pizzas.  Although these cookies don’t resemble the savory pizzas we are accustomed to, they are flat and they usually have a diamond pattern.  You may have seen them shaped as circles and in different flavors.  Growing up we only had one shape (rectangular) and one flavor (vanilla), so for me this all I need.  You may also be more familiar with the electric Pizzelle irons which make the cooking part much quicker but they don’t always give me the taste and tradition that I grew up with.  We only had the iron that was heated on the stove.  It makes one cookie at a time, one side at a time.  I still use my grandmother’s iron which is probably about 70 years old by now and it makes the best cookies.

Pizzelle cookies are light, crisp and slightly sweet.  You don’t get overwhelmed with decadence, sweetness or richness – not that there’s anything wrong with those things, as many of my recipes are decadent, sweet and rich – but when you’re in the kitchen chatting with your family or friends and there’s a stack of Pizzelle nearby, you’ll find that you’ve eaten one, then two, then before you notice ten or twelve.

One recipe makes a ton of cookies and that’s definitely a good thing.  I give these away to friends and family.  One of my friend’s young adult sons have fought over these cookies.  Every year my sisters demand to get their fair share of the Pizzelle for Christmas.  Last year I brought Pizzelle to my cousin’s open house party and her father said that my Pizzelle tasted just like my grandmother’s did fifty years ago when she brought him some.

Our favorite way to eat Pizzelle is to nibble on the ends first before eating the rest.  As you can see from the cookies in the pictures we don’t fill the entire rectangle with dough for a couple of reasons.  First, you get more cookies when you use less dough and second, they’re more fun to eat when you’re able to nibble on the ends.

You can still purchase a Pizzelle iron similar to mine.  My youngest sister purchased one online from Fante’s at http://www.fantes.com/pizzelle.html.  The iron is made in the US and is inexpensive.  When I showed my sister how to make Pizzelle, I found that the iron was little different, in that, the handles were a little more lightweight than my iron but made no difference to the quality of the cookies made with it.

I realize this is a lot of discussion around one cookie but it’s just that this recipe has been such an integral part of our Christmas tradition for so long (since before I was born) that I felt it needed to be shared.

Enjoy – it’s worth it.

My sister’s brand new Pizzelle iron.

The dough for this recipe is different than most cookies.  The dough is much thicker and you’ll need to mix it as far as you can with your stand mixer.

A closer look.

The dough after additional manual mixing of additional flour.  Note that I use an Ice Cream Spade to mix in additional flour until the dough is about the consistency of Play Dough.

Shape the dough into finger-like portions to get ready for cooking.

After cooking the dough you have delicious Pizzelle cookies.

Pizzelle

Yield:  175 – 200 cookies                  Cook Time:  3 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen large eggs (only 11 eggs if using extra-large)
  • 1 1/4 cup oil (I use olive oil)
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla or to taste (I usually pour directly out of the bottle until I see the mixture change to the correct color)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 5 pounds flour, approximately
  • Cooking spray as needed

1/4 Recipe

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2.5 ounces oil (75 ml – just below 1/3 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla or to taste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, approximately

 Directions:

Step 1:  With a stand mixer beat eggs on medium until frothy.  Blend in oil, baking powder and vanilla.

Step 2:  Lower the mixer speed so the dry ingredients aren’t splashed out of the bowl.  Slowly add sugar, waiting for each cup to be blended before adding the next until all the sugar is incorporated.  Begin adding flour in small increments, about 1/2 cup at a time.  Wait for each addition to blend with the remaining ingredients.

Step 3:  Once the dough becomes too thick for the mixer to continue, divide the dough in half and transfer each half into ceramic or glass bowls.  The reason I separate the dough is to mix it to an even consistency throughout when the dough is halved.

Step 4:  Using a very heavy and very strong spoon like an Ice Cream Spade, continue blending the flour in small increments into one of the bowls of dough.  You will not be able stir the dough but you can fold it over itself and use the back of the spade to drag the flour across the dough (it’s easiest if your dragging motion starts from the point of the dough farthest from you and drag the spade towards you) and thereby incorporating it.  Be aware that you should not use your hands to mix the dough as it changes the flavor of the cookie.

Step 5:  When the dough no longer sticks to the spoon (very thick), turn it over in the bowl to ensure the consistency is equal throughout.  If there are parts of the dough that aren’t as thick or are sticky, then continue incorporating flour until it is the same consistency throughout.  Repeat from Step 4 with the second bowl of dough.

Step 6:  Begin forming the dough into finger-like portions about 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches long.  After forming many of the dough portions, spray both sides of the pizzelle iron with cooking spray.  On a gas stove turn the heat to medium.  Heat the iron for 10 minutes alternating sides every minute.  Have a large tray nearby to stack the finished cookies.

Step 7:  Open the iron while it sits on the gas burner and place one dough portion in the center of the iron with the long portion of the dough matching the long portion of the iron.  Close the iron so the dough will squeeze into the crevices of the iron.  Cook on one side for a count of 10 or 12 seconds and then turn over and cook the other side for 10 or 12 seconds.  Check the cookie it should barely have a golden blush.  The first cookie may be too dark or too raw.  If it’s too raw, cook it on the side(s) that need it a little longer.  Once the cookie is done, use a fork to lift one end and quickly pick it up and place it on the tray to cool.  You’ll need to adjust the heat setting so you can get into a groove with making the cookies.  Repeat cooking until all the dough has been cooked.  You may need to spray the Pizzelle Iron with cooking spray periodically as you cook (maybe after half the dough is cooked).  As the cookies are made you will be making stacks by creating a row of cookies across a tray and then repeating to make a second row, a third row and so on.  The cookies will crisp up as they cool.

Tips:  These cookies need to be made on cool dry days because warmth and humidity change the dough and you’ll use more flour than needed and the dough becomes difficult to work with.  If the entire recipe yields too many cookies for you the recipe can easily be cut in half or a quarter.  While cooking it’s helpful if you have someone else forming the cookies, so you constantly have dough portions ready to cook.

Storing:  Store cookies on a tray and cover the top so they don’t get dust on them.  The cookies are fine for quite a long time (several weeks).

Variations:  Sprinkle with powdered sugar (don’t breath in while eating or you’ll start coughing).  Drizzle with melted chocolate (my husband loves this).  Shape into a cone while still warm and fill with ice cream or make an ice cream sandwich.  Alternatively top with cannoli cream.

Enjoy!!!

My family recipe adapted about fifty years ago from a friends recipe.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 2, October 4, 2012

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Cucuzzelli (Little Zucchini)

Hopefully some of you still have some of your zucchini harvest.  This zucchini recipe has been in my family since before I was born.  It works just as well with store bought zucchini.  I haven’t had any luck with growing zucchini but that may be due to the fact that I grow my garden in pots and may not have enough nutrients.  It’s almost like a stew – hard to describe because there really isn’t anything similar except maybe Eggplant Caponata.

The gravy that’s needed in this recipe can be Marinara or a meat gravy.  A large fresh loaf of crusty Italian bread is delicious with this recipe.

My husband’s family recipe was called Ciambotta and included potatoes.  My family didn’t make this way and I don’t even know how or when to add the potatoes.  Does your family have a vegetable stew recipe?

Enjoy.

Cut zucchini and starting to heat.

Zucchini after the liquid is expelled during heating.

Add the gravy after the liquid has evaporated and the zucchini has become soft.

Mix the gravy in.  Note how the color changes.

Add an egg and mix well.  Notice the flecks of egg white in the mixture  Add the second egg and you’ll need to mix well.

Cook a few minutes to ensure the eggs are fully cooked and heated through.   Add the grated cheese.

Mix well and prepare to serve.  Notice the color of the mixture has become much lighter.

Cucuzzelli

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 medium zucchini
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons or to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup gravy or to taste
  • 1 to 2 eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cups grated cheese or to taste (I use Pecorino Romano)

Directions:

Step 1:  Cut the zucchini lengthwise into quarters and then into 1/4 inch width-wise (1/8 inch if you are using fewer larger zucchini).  Place 1/3 of cut zucchini into a small stock pot or large sauce pot and sprinkle with some of the salt.  Repeat with 1/3 more of the cut zucchini and salt and then with the remaining zucchini and salt.  Heat the pot on medium or a little lower with the cover on.  Stir often with a wooden spoon so the zucchini doesn’t stick.  If there’s condensation on the pot cover when you lift it, don’t let the liquid fall back into the pot as it will be that much more liquid that has to evaporate later on.

Step 2:  As the zucchini cooks for 20 to 25 minutes, liquid will be expelled from the squash.  When the zucchini has softened, most of the liquid has been expelled.  Turn the heat down to low or a little higher.  Continue stirring frequently with the cover removed until the liquid has mostly evaporated.  This could take another 20 to 30 minutes.  The squash should be very soft at this point.

Step 3:  Add the gravy and mix well.  Cook for an additional few minutes to ensure the addition is heated through.  Notice that the color of the mixture has changed to be rather red.

Step 4:  Add an egg and stir well to break the yolk and incorporate it well into the mixture.  You may see some small specks of egg white in the mixture.  If using the second egg, repeat with the second egg.  Cook for an additional few minutes to ensure the eggs are heated and cooked through.  The color of the mixture has lightened a bit with this addition.

Step 5:  Add the grated cheese and mix well.  Serve with fresh crusty Italian bread.

This recipe stores well in the refrigerator and tastes just as good as left-overs.

Enjoy!!!

My family recipe.

Basic Crepes

Basic Crepes for Manicotti

To prepare for a family get-together for my Mom’s and Niece’s birthday this past weekend, I started by planning to make their favorite entrees.  My Mom’s favorite entrée is Manicotti, so this was a must have on the menu.  The crepe recipe for the Manicotti was originally given to us by my Aunt Marion and my Mom used it every time she made Manicotti for as long as I can remember.

It takes a few steps to prepare the Manicotti, so I usually make the crepes a few days in advance.  If you store the crepes properly they can be made in advance and there is no change in texture or flavor.  There are tons of recipes that can be made with these crepes but my family had only ever used them for Manicotti.  I’ll have to find other filling recipes that would be wonderful with these crepes too.

Stay tuned for the remaining recipes to make the Manicotti.

Enjoy.

Beat the eggs.

Beating in the water and salt.

Start mixing in the flour.

After the flour is completely incorporated, the batter is ready for cooking.

A crepe ready to be turned over.

All finished and ready to be stored until it’s time to assemble the Manicotti.

Crepes

Yield:  20 – 25 5 inch crepes                Cook Time:  30 – 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 large eggs (extra large works too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste

Directions:

Step 1:  Beat the eggs in a large bowl with a whisk or fork.  Add the water and salt to the eggs and beat until incorporated.  Add flour in small increments to mixture and beat to incorporate.  Repeat until all the flour is combined.  Try to dissipate any lumps that may have formed (especially any larger ones) but it’s okay if a few small lumps remain.

Step 2:  To form the crepes, coat a heavy fry pan or cast iron fry pan with cooking spray.  Heat pan on medium until hot.

Step 3:  Pour about 1 ounce of mixture into the pan (I use a miniature ladle to make this easier) and immediately lift the pan off the heat and tilt pan to spread the mixture into a five inch circle.  Typically I pour the mixture onto one edge of the pan and then let the mixture spread into the rest of the pan.

Step 4:  Return the pan to the heat and cook until most of the batter becomes loses its shine and looks matte.  There will be little, if any, browning.  Using a fork or spatula, gently flip the crepe and cook for 30  seconds.

Step 5:  Remove the crepe from the pan and place on the edge of a plate.  Repeat until all the batter is finished.  After each crepe is finished, place it on the plate overlapping the previous crepe with a slight offset until all the crepes are finished and the plate is ringed with crepes.

To store the crepes:  Cover the plate with plastic wrap and ensure that all the crepes are covered completely, so they don’t dry out.  These can be stored this way for three or four days.  If the crepes get a little bit dry, they will be re-hydrated when they are made into Manicotti.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from my Aunt.