Although Christmas has past I’m not ready to move on from posting my sweet treats. This recipe is my husband’s family recipe that I’ve modified to formalize the measurements and find the right wine to use. The recipe called for muscatella wine – it was an Italian wine made with moscato grapes that couldn’t be found any longer. The first time I tried making these, I used a red wine and it didn’t work out very well but I’ve been successful several times since then. I hope to give you all the necessary information for you to be successful too.
The original recipe read something like the following.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 cups flour
- baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 glasses muscatella wine
- 1 glass oil
Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.
Bring wine and oil to a boil and add to mixture.
Roll dough into pieces and roll on cheese grater.
Deep fry pieces.
Pour honey over fried cookies.
My husband’s family (along with anyone else who has tasted them) is thrilled with the results of my changes to the recipe and I hope you are too. I wasn’t able to find the original muscatella wine that was originally used in the recipe but I have a large liquor store locally and they suggested using Orange Grove Moscatel wine which was more expensive than I would have liked but it was worth it. This is a very sweet wine that is quite tasty. It’s worked well for the past few years even though it’s from Spain (the Valencia region) instead of Italy. Last week I went to purchase some more and found out that they no longer work with the distributer that used to sell them the wine. Luckily I still had enough to make this recipe. The liquor store suggested another wine made from moscato grapes from Portugal but it’s sold in bottles that are half of a 750 ml bottle for $11 each and I would need to buy two to have enough for one recipe. Instead I purchased another wine made from the same moscato grapes but it isn’t as sweet as the Orange Grove wine and it’s a little bubbly. I’ll have to see how that works with my recipe the next time I make it if I can’t find the Orange Grove Moscatel.
Since this recipe is a little finicky, here are a few detailed tips.
Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and set aside.
Add the wine and oil in a sauce pan to heat; stir occasionally.
Add the wine mixture to the flour mixture and mix together until combined. Then let cool overnight.
My husband usually helps with the forming of the cookies, so first he pinches off pieces of dough and rolls them between his hands.
Then he places the rolled dough pieces onto a cheese grater at the top – the side with the largest holes.
Then he places the heel of his hand on the dough and prepares to roll the dough to the bottom of the cheese grater.
After the dough is rolled to the bottom of the cheese grater, there a little divots and nubbies on the dough piece. So it’s ready to fry.
While the cookies are being formed, the oil should be heating to 375 degrees.
To ensure the cookies cook evenly on all sides, I shake the basket to turn them.
After all the cookies are fried, heat the honey in a medium sauce pan.
Add the cookies to a rubbermaid container and pour the warm honey over the cookies and turn them to coat.
Serve and enjoy with Strufoli or your favorite treat.
Italian Wine Cookies
Yield: too many to count Cook Time: 90 minutes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 pinches of salt
- 2 cups muscatella/moscadella wine (I used Orange Grove Moscatel. You could try Moscato di Pantelleria, Sutter Home Moscato, Marco Negri Moscato, Robert Mondavi Winery Moscato d’Oro, Muscat Canelli or Woodbridge Moscato – I found these other wines on the internet.)
- 3/4 cup oil (I use olive oil)
- 20 ounces honey or more to taste, slightly warmed
- White candy coated almonds (Jordan Almonds)
Step 1: Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Bring wine and oil to a boil (I let it boil for a bit for the alcohol to cook off) in a medium sauce pan, stirring occasionally. Add to dry mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
Step 2: Cool dough completely (I let cool covered with plastic overnight in the refrigerator).
Step 3: Roll dough into pieces about the thickness of a pencil (they will puff up a bit as they fry) by 2 inches and roll on floured cheese grater to create divots. While the dough pieces are being formed, heat oil to 375 degrees in a sauce pan or a deep fryer. I use a cast iron deep fryer with a basket. Deep fry dough pieces about 1 to 2 dozen at a time depending on space until dark golden brown and cooked through (this works best if one person rolls the dough and another fries them). Ensure the cookies are cooked on all sides evenly by shaking the basket to turn them or use a fork. Place fried cookies in a large bowl lined with paper towels to drain.
Step 4: Once all the cookies are fried and there is no more dough, transfer them to a large Rubbermaid container. Heat honey in a sauce pan for at least 5 minutes on medium to high heat until it thins out and is quite warm. Pour warm honey over fried cookies while they are still warm. Stir cookies to ensure they are all covered with honey.
Step 5: Place the cover on the container and flip the container upside down. Repeat flipping the container every 30 minutes or so to ensure the cookies are well coated. The cookies will soak up most of the honey as they are coated and recoated by flipping the container over and over. Before serving sprinkle the cookies with hard candy colored balls (nonpareils) for decoration and add the candy coated almonds also. Try not to eat them all.
Storing: Store cookies in a sealed plastic container. The cookies are fine for many days when stored this way.