Upon arrival, it became clear to me that my cookie habits were going to have to change. Simple ingredients such as brown sugar and chocolate chips were not always easy to find at the grocery stores. Maybe I would be doing less cookie baking, and more cookie buying. This was not going to be a huge problem as there is an abundance of bakeries in Italy; way more than I see in the U.S. Fresh baked bread, cookies and treats can be found around every corner in every neighborhood of Rome. Even in very tiny countryside villages, there is simply Always a bakery. It is after all, a necessity of life…..don’t you love the way Italians think?
But upon exploring these bakeries, I came to discover that most of the cookies were not of the ooey-gooey variety. To my dismay, they were mostly of the hard and crunchy type. Oh no. I was forced to eat something outside of my cookie comfort zone, and you know what? There are some pretty darn good hard and crispy cookies out there. Go figure. One of my favorites are Ciambelline al Vino. These crunchy gems are made with red wine (yes!), can be dipped in red wine (yes, again!) and have a lovely sparkly sugar topping.
When I left Italy, some of my goodbye tears were shed for Ciambelline al Vino cookies. So every time I went back to visit, my good buddy Holly made sure I returned home stocked with them from the bakery in her town of Sermoneta, where they make particularly good ones. But now, my friend Giovanna, (Remember her? She shared her zucchini lasagna recipe with us in a previous blog.) has given me her recipe and permission to share it with you here. Yay! We are all in luck as a result.
Here’s your list of ingredients:
500 grams of flour (about 4 cups)
1 cup of canola oil (Giovanna uses sunflower oil, but it’s harder to find here.)
100 grams of sugar (about ½ cup) (+ a little extra in a small bowl. For my extra sugar, I used a coarse sugar)
1 cup of red wine, dry; not sweet wine (+ a little extra in a small bowl)
1 T. of anise seeds (Sometimes Giovanna adds finely chopped hazelnuts. I did not.)
Let’s get started:
Preheat the oven to 400.
Line two cookie sheets with either parchment paper, or Silpat liners.
Thanks Giovanna, for another great recipe! Would you like to cook in Giovanna’s kitchen? Drop me a line and let’s see if we can work something out. She's waiting for us to come visit! Email me at:
And Holly….this does NOT mean you no longer need to bring me cookies from Sermoneta!