Monday, December 16, 2013

Chocolate Orange Sugar Yeast Cookies - The Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to the December reveal of The Secret Recipe Club! My assignment this month was Cafe Lynnylu. I'm always intrigued by Lynne's recipes as they're unique and something that is usually outside of my comfort zone, which is something I love about the Secret Recipe Club. It forces me to pick a recipe that pushes the boundaries and expands my knowledge and expertise in the kitchen. As usual, I had a hard time narrowing down a recipe but settled on a recipe for Torcettini di St Vincent. I had never heard of these cookies before but thought it would be something that my ancestors would have made. I know very little about my great grandfather who immigrated to the US from a small town in southern Italy, Macchiagodena; even though these cookies originated in Northern Italy.

These little cookies are made with yeast! I loved that they were different than the cookies I have been making, plus I had all the ingredients in my pantry...perfect since I made them during this weekend's snowstorm. I love the hint orange and I would love to try the lemon ones Lynne made as well. Thank you Lynne for sharing these delicious cookies!



1/2 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups flour (remove 2 tablespoons)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp orange zest
40 grams  unsalted butter (a little more than 2 3/4 Tbsp butter), cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sugar

In a small bowl, combine the water and yeast and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, cocoa and salt together. Add in the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is mixed into the flour and it looks powdery.

Add in the orange zest and the yeast/water mixture. Pulse until the mixture comes together in ball. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for at least an hour. The dough doesn't rise like bread does, but if you pinch off a piece, the inside will look like a honey comb. Punch down the down. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerator for at least an hour, maximum of 24 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a small plate, spread out the the 1/3 cup of sugar.

When ready to make the cookies, roll the dough out to a 6 inch square. If it's tacky, sprinkle lightly with sugar. Cut the dough into 4 equal width strips. Cut each strip into 6 pieces, making a total of 24 squares. Roll each square into a rope (pencil thick) approximately 5 inches long. Continue rolling the squares into ropes. Roll the ropes into the sugar and then shape them into a loop crossing the ends over each other.

Bake for 25 minutes until they're golden brown. Cool completely on a rack before storing in an air-tight container.

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