Honey Bow Tie Christmas Cookies

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(Click on PHOTO to enlarge and hit back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

How are you? I hope you are all fine and not too stressed from the holiday season. The shopping, wrapping and baking can be exhausting.

If you are like me and belong to some “food groups” on Facebook, you have seen daily photos of Holiday Cookies. Some bring back memories of baking with a family member; possibly a grandmother or mom who is no longer with us. Some bring back memories of a favorite bakery, a favorite restaurant or a favorite person.

Whatever it is, food is a hug from the past.

Which brings me to my Christmas cookie story.

Back in the day, my grandmother visited us every weekend when I was a child and we (as in my mother, sisters and aunt) would take one night in December to make Christmas cookies; preparing trays for guests who stopped by during the Christmas holidays.

There were the usual pignoli cookies, ricotta cookies, rainbow cookies, sesame seed cookies (Regina) and then there was my favorite, the “honey bow tie” cookies. A magical crispy piece of fried dough flavored with citrus and vanilla covered in honey and decorated with colored nonpareil sprinkles. A little rum and anisette was also incorporated into the dough. 

I don’t know the proper name for this cookies in Italian, but just one bite and you won’t care what they are called.

(If anyone recognizes this cookie and has the proper name please let me know.)

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Anyway, all the years we made these cookies, no one ever thought to write the recipe down. We just followed instructions for our part in the cookie making process from grandma and my mother. I was in charge of sprinkles. A job I took very seriously.

When my grandmother passed away, we were all older and had married and had moved out of the house by then. Our tradition was now over. Gone were the days of all of us gathered together in the kitchen making cookies with Italian Christmas songs playing in the background. Something I miss terribly.

Since grandma was gone, my mother would make these cookies by herself and bring them to us for Christmas. 

And even as adults no one thought to write the recipe down.

After my mother passed away, there were no more cookies; just the Atlas pasta machine that she made them with and her pastry cutter.

When my mother passed away, I took a box of her belongings and put them in the attic. A half empty bottle of Shalimar (her favorite perfume), some costume jewelry (she loved pearls), white elbow length gloves (she wore with many gowns to weddings) and a notebook where she jotted down grocery lists and phone numbers, just so I could have a copy of her handwriting.

One day I bought a decorative box from Homegoods and decided to give my mother’s belongings a better home so I took the box down from the attic and started to transfer the items and I dropped the notebook. A very worn out and ripped yellow piece of paper fell out and when I picked it up it said…

“Christmas Bow Tie Cookies”

I almost passed out. The handwriting was so faded but I had the recipe ! I copied the recipe to my computer and now I was in business. I bought all the ingredients and made a test batch. Okay, mine were not as pretty as my mothers and grandmothers (I needed practice), but the taste was there.

I received a gift from my mother in heaven!

And since then, my husband, son and I have made these cookies with Christmas music playing in the background. This brings back a great memory for me.

I have to say that there were years that we didn’t have any free time to make them, so we skipped a year here and there. I advanced from the manual Atlas Pasta machine to the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment that makes life much easier- no more hand cracking the old pasta maker.

This year my son is working in the hospital and his patients come first and he won’t be coming home for Christmas, so my husband and I made the cookies to send to him across the miles.

A labor of love.

So I wanted to share not only this story with all of you but my recipe as well. I consider this story my own “Christmas Miracle” that happened to me with my favorite Christmas cookie and a gift from my mom. 

Give them a try. Just a note, they are time consuming.

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(Below is the recipe with pictures and step by step directions.

(I posted the recipe a second time at the end of the post in case you wanted to print the recipe to make the cookies yourself.)

MOM’S CHRISTMAS BOW TIE COOKIES

Ingredients:

2016-12-19-09-47-13-ingredients

  • 2 ½ lb all purpose flour
  • 8 or 10 eggs (depending on size)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 oz vanilla extract *
  • 1/2 oz rum extract *
  • 1/2 oz lemon extract *
  • 1/2 oz orange extract *
  • 1/2 oz almond extract *
  • Honey (large jar) –approx 4 cups
  • Confetti sprinkles (non pareils)
  • Vegetable or Canola oil
  • Water – approx 1 cup
  • Sugar (optional)

COOKS NOTE: * ½ oz = 3 tsp

Make a well with the flour on a large pastry board.

I have been known to get some of the egg on the floor when my well collapses so I use a large bowl instead of the pastry board  for my flour.

Measure the flour

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Beat the eggs and place in the well.

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Next add the 1-½ tsp baking powder and ½ oz each of the 5 extracts (1/2 a small bottle each or 3 tsp) and some cinnamon and sugar.

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Work all this together and knead the dough. When the dough is ready for cutting and shaping, the dough should have bubbles in the center (cut the dough to see if it ready).

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When ready, cut into pieces and roll like a hot dog (I know, they really don’t look like hot dogs.)

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 run the dough through the pasta machine on the following settings:

First on # 1 then # 3 then # 4 then # 6

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Cut in strips with a pastry cutter and shape into bow ties.

COOKS NOTE: Keep the strips of dough you are not currently using covered with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out before you shape them.

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Pinch the center of the strips to shape the dough.

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After shaped, fry in vegetable /Canola oil until gold in color and drain (very quickly-be careful not to burn them and make them too dark. They will puff up once they hit the hot oil.

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Nice golden color- not too dark.

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Next, prepare the honey and water mixture (1 jar of honey to ½ jar of water) in a large pot on a low flame to thin out the honey a bit. Place 4 bows at a time in the honey and dip the cookie.

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Layer the dipped cookies on a platter and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture and sprinkles. Continue this process layer after layer.

Cooks note: I use a box lined with aluminum foil to sprinkle the cookies and then transfer to a platter. This gives you more room to work.

(Store covered in aluminum foil in a cool place).

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******************************************************************

MOM’S CHRISTMAS BOW TIE COOKIES

(for printing)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ lb all purpose flour
  • 8 or 10 eggs (depending on size)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 oz vanilla extract *
  • 1/2 oz rum extract *
  • 1/2 oz lemon extract *
  • 1/2 oz orange extract *
  • 1/2 oz almond extract *
  • Honey (large jar) –approx 4 cups
  • Confetti sprinkles (non pareils)
  • Vegetable or Canola oil
  • Water – approx 1 cup
  • Sugar (optional)

Cooks note: * ½ oz = 3 tsp

Make a well with the flour on a large pastry board. Beat the eggs and place in the well. Next add the 1-½ tsp baking powder and ½ oz each of the 5 extracts (1/2 a small bottle each or 3 tsp) and some cinnamon and sugar.

Work all this together and knead the dough. When the dough is ready for cutting and shaping the dough should have bubbles in the center (cut the dough to see if it ready).

When ready, cut into pieces and roll like a hot dog, and then run the dough through the manual pasta machine on the following settings:

First on # 1 then # 3 then # 4 then # 6

Cut in strips with a pastry cutter and shape into bow ties. (take the strip of dough and pinch in the middle).

Cooks Note: Keep the strips of dough you are not currently using covered with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out before you shape them.

After shaped, fry in vegetable /Canola oil until gold in color and drain (very quickly-be careful not to burn them and make them too dark). They will puff up once they hit the hot oil.

Next, prepare the honey and water mixture (1 jar of honey to ½ jar of water) in a large pot on a low flame to thin out the honey a bit. Place 4 bows at a time in the honey and dip the cookie. Layer the dipped cookies on a platter and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture and sprinkles. Continue this process layer after layer.

Cooks note: I use a box lined with aluminum foil to sprinkle the cookies and then transfer to a platter. This gives you more room to work.

(Store covered in aluminum foil in a cool place).

I hope you try these cookies and enjoy

Until my next post, make every day a celebration !

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And share this post with your family and friends.

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Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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