A handbook for anyone embarking on domestic independence
Favorite Cookie

90 Year Old Aunt's Favorite Cookie
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Dear Lucia: My 90 year old Aunt is trying to remember how to make a cookie we used to call “straci”. We are from the Liguirian Region of Italy and her mom (my grandmother) used to make this cookie for us. It was a lightly fried thin light slice of dough with powdered sugar sprinkled on the top. Do you know what this cookie is and do you know where I could find the recipe? Thank you for your help. Love your cooking.   ~ Sally 

Dear Sally: My mother used to make these cookies too. They were called Bugie and of course, she never wrote any of her recipes down. Here is one I ran across which should get you close to what your grandmother made. Many recipes call for about 2 jiggers of some liqueur or cooking wine (like grappa, whiskey, marsala, etc.) Maybe that is one thing your aunt might be able to recall. Best of luck!

Bugie (5 to 5 1/2 doz.)

5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of one large lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla (not necessary if you choose a liqueur or wine)
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
peanut oil for frying
confectioner's sugar

Beat eggs and sugar with a whisk until well-blended. Add in lemon zest and vanilla (or liqueur). Sift 4 cups of the flour and the baking powder together and add them to the egg mixture. Mix with your hands to form a ball of dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until it is soft, but not sticky: you may need to add more flour.

Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece out on a floured surface using a rolling pin to a thickness of 1/4 inch. With a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut into strips 5 1/2 inches long and about 2 1/2 inches wide. Make two 2-inch-long slits side by side in the center of each strip. Place the strips on a kitchen towel, roll out and cut the remaining pieces of dough. If so inclined, you could use a pasta machine on the finest setting to thin out the dough.

Heat the peanut oil and fry the strips a few at a time until they are golden brown. Drain on brown paper and let them cool. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and serve. Should be delicious.

Mangia Bene!