Recipe courtesy of Laura Ciffone

Chiacchiere (Christmas Fries)

Christmas fries were all these light, airy bowtie-shaped cookies were ever called in my family. You may find them in other recipe books under the name angel wings, carnival fries, chiacchiere or crostoli. Many of them contain butter, but our recipe never did. My grandmother and mother covered them in a honey glaze. But when we started making them for my family, my husband and kids didn't like the honey and would only eat them without it. So now, that is how I make it all the time! These are not overly sweet pastries, which makes them even easier to overindulge!!!
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 5 to 6 dozen cookies
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Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

4 tablespoons granulated sugar 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 large egg plus 4 yolks 

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons) plus juice of 1/2 lemon 

1 shot glass (1 1/2 ounces) whiskey, rum, anise-flavored liqueur or white wine (see Cook's Note) 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Neutral oil, such as peanut or vegetable, for frying 

Confectioners' sugar, for serving 

Directions

Special equipment:
a pasta machine, optional; a fluted pastry cutter, optional; a deep-frying thermometer
  1. Add the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the whole egg and yolks, lemon zest and juice, whiskey and vanilla in a separate bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix together with the paddle attachment until smooth.
  2. Cut off one-quarter of the dough (cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out) and roll it out with a pasta machine or rolling pin into a 1/8-inch-thick sheet, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. With a pastry cutter (fluted if you have it), cut the dough into strips approximately 1 inch wide and 6 inches long. Cut a 2-inch lengthwise slit in the center of each strip. Pick up a strip, insert one end through the slit and pull it through. Repeat with the remaining dough. 
  3. Put 4 inches of oil in a heavy 6-quart pot and place over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 375 degrees F. (Or preheat an electric deep fryer.)  
  4. Working in small batches, place a few pieces of dough in the oil at one time. They will puff immediately. Fry the dough, stirring continually, until golden all over, 50 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes. 
  5. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain, then put them on a serving platter. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners' sugar while still warm. Cool completely, and keep up to 4 days in an airtight container. 

Cook’s Note

What alcohol used here is strictly a personal taste. I love Sambuca, but my mother always used whiskey.