Have I got a treat for you today!

Celebrate! Today will mark the day that I posted my first recipe on the blog!

I know some of you want to guess what it is for so I will give you one clue: It is my favourite food group in the whole world!!!

If you guessed hotdogs you are right!


I hate hotdogs. Hate is a strong word, and I choose to direct that towards hotdogs. Also, hotdogs is not a food group. Mentioning hotdogs has actually deflated me a bit…

It’s forrrrrrrrr COOKIES! (There we go… reflated… reinflated? Nope, reflated.)

These are not just any cookies.  You cannot give up on making this recipe and think you will be able to walk into the grocery store and purchase a lesser equivalent. These cookies contain all the qualities you would want in a cookie.  Sweet, chewy, light, fluffy, containing a hint of childhood, dare I say it… moist.

Where did I find this cookie  recipe you ask? I read it in a diary…

This is Nonna Red’s recipe book.  The Holy Grail of recipe books.  I did not even know this existed until 1 week ago and my life has been changed.  This only contains recipes for “tha pastry and tha pasta”, the meats and dinners are in another that I have yet to see…

The best part about this book is all of the recipes are written in Italian and if you followed the recipe directions without ever watching someone make it it’s doubtful you would get the desired final product.  Luckily I have been able to decode one very special recipe for you.

These cookies, called Cuzzupelle in Italian, are more commonly known as Lemon Twist Cookies. These are my favourite cookies.  Since I was a little girl, Nonna Red would make sure she had a house stocked full of them with an extra batch waiting to come home with me.  I lose all self control when these cookies are in front of me.

When Nonna Red told me that Cuzzupelle translates to ‘Little Doll’ in English all the pieces started to fall together.  Momma Red’s nickname for me is Doll. These cookies translate into Little Doll.  I am little.  That means that the cookies and I are one, and when I see them sitting all the way over on the counter we are not one.  And so, I make my way over to the counter, and make sure that the Cuzzupelle and I are one again…in ma belly.

These cookies are not difficult to make so long as you have three things:

1. A stand mixer. {A hand mixer will work too, if you have seven arms to rotate between.}

2. A little bit of hand-coordination

3. A half-decent Italian accent

I would steer clear of making these without the three components listed above.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

For the cookies:

4 eggs

1/2 lb. Crisco All Vegetable Shortening, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

1 1/4 cup milk

6 tsp baking powder

4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

For the Glaze:

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

2-3 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pull out your trusty, 25 year-old, vintage stand mixer.

Add eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until fluffy (~approx. 5-8 minutes).

Slice shortening into small pieces and gradually add to sugar/egg mixture (while beating).  Mix until incorporated into batter.

Slowly add milk into mixture, and continue to mix until incorporated into batter.

Remove from mixer and stir in lemon zest and baking powder.

Mix in sifted flour one cup at a time.  The last cup should be added in 1/4 cup at a time.  The desired consistency is that of bread dough- sticky but mold-able.  Depending on the size of your eggs, you may need to add in more/less flour to the mixture. Remember, it is easier to add than to remove.

At this point, a 4’11 Nonno will walk into your home and pretend to sift flour for you.  Insist on posing for a photo with him.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out a large ball of dough and roll it in a pile of flour.  Starting in your hand and finishing on the table, roll out dough into a thin log.

Here is where your coordination is going to come in handy. To make the twist, lift the log at its center so the two ends hang down evenly.  Twist the ends together twice and set on a lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown like this:

Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and let them cool completely.

While waiting for the cookies to cool, make the glaze by adding water to the icing sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.  The glaze should be the same consistency as white glue:

Nonna Red was a little shady on her measurements for this so you are going to have to go with your gut and proceed with caution when mixing the glaze.  It is only icing sugar and water so be a little daring and go with the flow as far as measurements go!

To glaze the cookies, dip the tops of the cookies into the paste and scrape the excess off with your finger!  Once you have finished all of the cookies, leave them to set and stick your fingers in your mouth [required].

Then eat them.  Or eat none.  If you only want to eat one, eat none.  If you are okay with eating them all, eat one.  If you have self-control, freeze them for later.  The recipe yields about 75 cookies (which may be too many even for me) so we usually freeze them.  When you are ready to continue binging, remove them from the freezer and they will taste as fresh as they did coming out of the oven.

I will leave you off with a few more highlights from the day:




Boastin’ {That’s a fine lookin’ sausage!}

Hoardin’ (and/or preparin’ for December 2012)

And now, the greatest gift I can give you today…

Nonna Red on: Cuzzupelle

Nonna Red on: Baking bread for Red’s Grade 4 class

I was surprised they didn’t make a movie!

If you listen at  1:10-1:15, you can hear the classic guilt technique that Nonna Red has no shame using on children that belong to her and apparently those who don’t as well!

I had such an amazing day making Cuzzupelle.  Nonna Red is nothing short of kind, loving, and most importantly, one of the most entertaining women I have ever met.

Enjoy the fabulous recipe from the fabulous Nonna.




2 thoughts on “Cuzzupelle

  1. Pingback: When Life Needs A Face-Lift… | Little Red Delicious

  2. Pingback: 2012 | Little Red Delicious

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