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TORCETTI COOKIES
Show 05.07 Watch Community Cooking Daily at 9:30 A.M., 10:00 A.M., 3:30 P.M. and 6:30 P.M. only on CitiCABLE 3

This recipe was from Valborg Gravander, known for years as  "Mama" Gravander.  A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, she was honored by Swedish King Gustav VI for keeping Swedish traditions alive through spinning and weaving classes, and culinary events.

The recipe itself is very old, indicated by the use of yeast, not baking powder, for leavining.  These cookies are from the Piedmont region of northern Italy.  Turin, Piedmont's capital, was also Italy's first capital.  The city preserves remarkable architectural and cultural treasures.

The following recipe has been cut to one quarter of its original size.  The yield is still impressive, some 80-90 cookies if they are delicately formed.  The full recipe, just multiply this one by 4, provides employment for many hands, so get everyone involved.

Dough Ingredients:
½ tbsp yeast, regular or quick acting
¼ cup warm milk
½ lb. sweet (unsalted) butter, chilled
2 ½ cups regular flour
¼ cup sugar, finely granulated
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 egg, at room temperature
1 box, powdered sugar

Dough Method:
Dissolve yeast into milk.  Stir to prevent lumps.
Cut butter into flour with a pastry cutter.  The mixture should look like cornmeal.  Do not over mix.
Dissolve sugar into yeast-milk mixture.
Add the egg to the liquids.
Make a well in the center of the flour and add the egg-sugar-yeast-milk mixture. If possible, mix by hand, or use a very strong wooden or steel spoon.  If not used carefully, mixers and food processors can work the gluten in the dough, and make the cookies tough.

When mixing has incorporated all of the flour into a rough ball, spread more flour on your work area and knead the dough just slightly to produce an even mix.  Place dough into a large bowl and cover with a damp towel.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, a little over an hour.

Forming & Baking Dough:
When dough has doubled, preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Heavily dust work area with powdered sugar.
Use non stick insulated baking sheets or butter standard cookie sheets.  If using standard non-insulated baking sheets, watch the cookies carefully to prevent over browning.
Break off small pieces of dough, and using your fingers, roll out into a thin rod, about 4-5" long and a little thinner than a pencil.
I have warm hands, so I find it easiest to roll out the dough in a little powdered sugar, keeping most of the sugar to the rear of my work area.  Then I roll the rod into powdered sugar at the rear of my work area, pick the snake up and twist it into a ribbon shape like those used to promote various causes and drop the twist into the baking sheet.  The powdered sugar on the dough becomes a light, flaky, crust that gives the cookies their charm.  Do not skimp!
Bake for 10-12 minutes in a standard oven.
Store cookies in air-tight boxes if any are left (very unlikely).

Gregg Hubbard
Community Cook