I like traditional, regional recipes. I try to reproduce them as much as I can, because I think it would be a shame if we lost some of the oldest, most simple recipes. That's one of the reasons why before saying goodbye to my city and going back to my husband in Edmonton, I am sharing with you some Ciambelline al vino bianco, White wine ciambelline (wine being one of their main ingredients). The other reason being that I reeaally like them a lot.
They are traditional cookies, in the shape of a little donut, from my Region (Lazio). They are so popular around here, and there is not a chance they're going to be forgotten: you can find them in every small town bakery and grocery store, at country fairs, at farmers’ markets, at Sunday’s tables, accompanied by the same enthusiasm.
They're light, crunchy and rustic. Made to be dipped in wine, at the end of a meal. But they're also good with tea, or at snack time.
Just few ingredients: Wine, Oil, Sugar and Flour. The secret is in the quality of the ingredients. As we say: “few but good”.
You can use either white or red wine, as you most please, the only difference will be in the final color, lighter or darker according to the wine you used.
I used a white wine, from the same region as the ciambelline: Bianco DOC Castelli Romani.
Anyway, try to use a dry wine, not too strong, that will evaporate and will leave a less intense flavour.
For the oil, I used peanut oil, because that's the vegetable oil that I usually use, but you can use any light vegetable oil, or a delicate extra virgin olive oil, with a less distinct flavour.
As for the flour, the quantity is indicative, just add a little bit at a time, so that the dough will stay pliable and not too floury. For me, the 500 g worked perfectly.
The anice seeds, optional if you don’t like the taste of black liquorice or fennel (like me), give them a unique and fragrant flavour.
Just a sprinkle of granulated sugar on top and they're ready for the oven.
The smell is incredible: the sweet aroma of baked good combined with the lingering fragrance of the wine.
- 200 ml white wine
- 180 g white sugar
- 125 ml extra vergin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds optional
- 500 g flour (or as it takes)
- more white sugar for the topping before baking
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a large bowl, pour the sugar, baking powder, white wine, olive oil (and the anise seeds if you’re using them).
- Mix lightly and start adding the flour a little at a time, working it with a wooden spoon. You'll have to add flour until you obtain a workable, pliable dough. A consistency similar to the pizza dough, so to speak.
- Transfer the dough onto a work surface and knead for a few minutes so that it becomes smooth and soft.
- Divide the dough into pieces and form thick cords approximately 10 cm long and at least 1 cm wide.
- Unite the two ends forming a small donut (bun).
- Sprinkle each one with granulated sugar and place them, quite apart from one another, directly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Cook for about 15 minutes in the pre-heated oven, checking so not to over bake them. The color has to be a light golden brown.
- Allow to cool before devouring them.
Store in an airtight container to keep them fresh and crunchy for a few days.
If you don’t have anise seeds and you want to obtain the same flavour, you can use a shot glass of sambuca (anisette) liquor.
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