Cookies, Dessert

Torcetti al Burro (Italian Twisted Butter Cookies)

Nicoletta March 2, 2018

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Torcetti al Burro (Italian Twisted Butter Cookies) are typical yeast cookies from Piedmont, in the North of Italy, with a twisted look and a “drop” shape. They have butter in the dough that makes them light and flaky, and are rolled in sugar before being baked for an unforgettable sugary crunch.

Song of the day: One Last Song – Sam Smith.

Torcetti Italian Twisted Butter Cookies-feature

Have you noticed how we Italians, in the end, are always thinking about food? We talk about it, we cook it for ourselves and for others, we love it and hate it, but it is always on our mouths.

 

 

Some more than others, true, and my parents, most of all. It’s a loop talk, at breakfast we talk about what we will prepare for lunch, at lunch we talk about what we’ll make for dinner, at dinner, when we do not think about breakfast, it’s all about planning the meals for the next day. In this period of my Roman stay, food is on top of the list of the discourses between me and my parents, our actions and our pleasures. If we are not cooking, we are surely eating, or we are doing some shopping among grocery stores, specialized organic shops, and farmers’ markets, our true passion. Usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning, sometimes both, with a few recycled bags in our hands, we head to indoor or outdoor farmers markets, where our love for anything local, organic, and seasonal gets satisfied. We fill the bags mostly with vegetables and fruits, but also cheese, milk, yogurt, eggs, bread, legumes, flours and flowers, and the occasional local pizza or traditional sweets. Happy that the weight of those bags will turn into great food. A stop at the bakery stand, that showcases bread of all kinds, pizza and pizzette, artisanal biscuits, cakes, croissants, and so on, is a must. As a lover of sweets, to eat but also to make, I always pay special attention to the baked goods, observing the ones I know, the ones I can do, those I would like to know how to make, and those that I will definitely remake.

Torcetti Italian Twisted Butter Cookies-prep

Torcetti Italian Twisted Butter Cookies-before and after the oven

These Torcetti al Burro (Italian Twisted Butter Cookies) are typical yeast cookies from Piedmont, in the North of Italy, with a “drop” shape and a “twisted” look (hence the name torcetti, torcere=to twist, and remember, for pronunciation, ce=tch). They were on my “to do” list for quite some time since they have always been among the cookies that I like the most. Light and crumbly, with the right amount of sugar and butter, I thought they were almost impossible to make at home, and for this I had always stayed away, relying instead on boxes of store-bought Torcetti. Until one day, in a multi-pack of “Mastro Fornaio” active dry yeast (the one I use also for pizza and bread), I found 3 recipe cards, one of them of Torcetti al Burro. One look at the ingredients and the procedure dispelled any doubt of being able to make them with my very own hands.

So, easy breezy, here you have my Torcetti al Burro.

Not bad, I would say, and my parents would approve, given that they were the first beneficiaries, in a dozy afternoon made of tea, cookies, and chats.

Torcetti Italian Twisted Butter Cookies

Don’t be intimidated by yeast dough, what you need is just a little more time – and patience – between making the cookies and eating them. I started them on a Saturday after lunch, and by mid-afternoon snack, we were enjoying Torcetti and a cup of tea. There is a very small amount of sugar in the dough because then you have to “dip” the Torcetti in the sugar before baking them. I used granulated white sugar because we had finished the raw cane sugar, but if you have it, use that, the larger grains will provide a nicer crunch. The only addition I made to the recipe, was the brushing of melted butter on top of the cookies before dipping them into the sugar, having tried some without and since the sugar was struggling to stick to the dough. With the butter, the sugar stuck to the cookies smoothly, so once they came out of the oven they were perfectly golden, “rugged”, and sugary.

Torcetti Italian Twisted Butter Cookies

You will need a lot of willpower to stop crunching on them since they are irresistible, so light and flaky, buttery, crunchy, and just sweet enough.

Torcetti Italian Twisted Butter Cookies-tea time

Song of the day: One Last Song – Sam Smith.

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Torcetti al Burro (Italian Twisted Butter Cookies)

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  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 35 torcetti
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Torcetti al Burro (Italian Twisted Butter Cookies) are typical yeast cookies from Piedmont, in the North of Italy, with a twisted look and a “drop” shape. They have butter in the dough that makes them light, flaky, and are rolled in sugar before being baked for an unforgettable sugary crunch.


Ingredients

  • 250 g unbleached all purpose flour (I used type 1, less refined)
  • 3.5 g dried active yeast
  • 5 g (1 heaping tsp) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75-80 ml lukewarm water

For decorating:

  • 1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter, for brushing
  • raw cane sugar (or granulated sugar) for coating

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl sift the flour and add the dry yeast.
  2. In the center, make a well and add sugar, salt, vanilla, and the softened butter cut into small pieces.
  3. Mix well with a fork, or with your hands, adding the warm water a little at a time.
  4. Turn over a lightly floured work surface and work for a few minutes until the liquid is completely absorbed.
  5. Place the dough back in the floured bowl, cover it with a damp cloth and place it in a warm place (the oven, turned off and with the light on, is perfect) until the volume is doubled (about 90 minutes).
  6. In the meantime, turn on the oven at 200° C (400° F) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Set aside.
  7. Take pieces of dough and make small rolls 15-20 cm long and 1 cm wide. Twist each roll on itself and join the ends, pinching them a little to make them stick.
  8. Brush the surface of each cookie with the melted butter and dip it in the brown sugar.
  9. Place on the baking sheet, then put in the preheated oven, and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until golden. (I usually bake one baking sheet at a time).
  10. Take out of the oven, let cool for a couple of minutes before placing on a rack to cool completely.
  11. Torcetti cookies stay fresh and crunchy for 2-3 days kept in a tin box with a lid.

Notes

The total time includes the 90-minute rising time.

The cooking time is for one baking sheet at a time.

Post e Ricetta in Italiano

Avete notato come noi Italiani, alla fine stiamo sempre a pensare al cibo? Ne parliamo, lo cuciniamo per noi e per gli altri, ne siamo attirati, o cerchiamo di starne lontani, lo amiamo e lo odiamo, ma è sempre sulle nostre bocche. Alcuni più di altri, vero, e i miei genitori, più di tutti. E’ un continuo, a colazione si pensa a cosa si preparerà per pranzo, a pranzo si parla di cosa ci sarà per cena, a cena, quando non si pensa alla colazione, è tutto un pianificare i pasti del giorno dopo.

In questo mio periodo di soggiorno “Romano”, il cibo è in cima alla lista dei discorsi tra me ed i miei genitori, alle nostre azioni e ai nostri piaceri. Se non stiamo cucinando, stiamo sicurando mangiando, o siamo in giro a fare la spesa, tra supermercati, negozi biologici specializzati, e mercati contadini, la nostra vera passione. Di solito il sabato o la domenica mattina, a volte entrambi, con alcune borse riciclate nelle nostre mani, ci dirigiamo verso il mercato contadino, al coperto o all’aperto, dove il nostro amore per tutto ciò che è locale, organico, e stagionale, viene soddisfatto. Riempiamo i sacchetti soprattutto di verdura e frutta, ma anche di formaggi, latte, yogurt, uova, pane, biscotti, legumi, farine e fiori, e occasionalmente pizze locali o dolci tradizionali. Felici che il peso di quelle borse si trasformerà in ottimo cibo. Il banco del forno, tra pane di ogni tipo, pizze e pizzette, biscotti e fette biscottate artigianali, torte, brioches, e quant’altro, è una tappa d’obbligo. Da amante dei dolci, da mangiare ma anche da fare, mi soffermo sempre con particolare attenzione sui prodotti da forno, osservando quelli che conosco, quelli che so fare, quelli che vorrei saper fare e quelli che rifarò sicuramente.

Questi Torcetti al Burro, erano nella mia lista “da fare” già da parecchio tempo, visto che sono da sempre in cima alla lista dei biscotti che più mi piacciono. Leggeri e friabili, zuccherosi e burrosi al punto giusto, pensavo fossero quasi impossibili da rifare, e per questo me ne ero sempre tenuta alla larga, acquistando scatole piuttosto abbondanti di Torcetti industriali quando li trovavo. Finché un giorno, in una confezione multipla del lievito Mastro Fornaio ho trovato stampate 3 ricettine, tra cui quella dei Torcetti al Burro. Una letta agli ingredienti e al procedimento ha dissipato ogni dubbio di poterli realizzare con le mie manine e detto fatto, ecco a voi i miei Torcetti. Niente male, direi, ed i miei approverebbero, visto che ne sono stati i primi beneficiari, in un pomeriggio sonnacchioso di tè, biscotti, e chiacchiere.

Non vi lasciate spaventare dalla pasta lievitata, quello di cui avete bisogno è solo un po’ più di tempo –e di pazienza- tra il farli e il mangiarli. Io li ho cominciati un Sabato dopo pranzo, e per merenda stavamo già gustandoci i Torcetti ed il tè. L’impasto prevede una piccolissima dose di zucchero, perché poi li dovrete “tuffare” nello zucchero prima di infornarli. Io ho usato zucchero bianco granulare, perché avevamo finito quello grezzo di canna, ma se lo avete, usate quello, i granelli più grandi conferiranno una maggiore croccantezza. Unica modifica, direi aggiunta, che ho fatto alla ricetta del Mastro Fornaio, è stata la spennellata di burro fuso prima di passarli nello zucchero, avendone provati alcuni senza, e visto che lo zucchero faceva fatica ad attaccarsi all’impasto. Con il burro, lo zucchero si è fissato sui biscotti e questo ha fatto si che una volta usciti dal forno erano perfettamente dorati, “ruvidi” e zuccherosi.

Avrete bisogno di tanta forza di volontà per smettere di sgranocchiarne uno dopo l’altro, dal momento che sono irresistibili, così leggeri e friabili, croccanti e burrosi, e zuccherosi al punto giusto.

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Torcetti Italian Twisted Butter Cookies-feature

Torcetti al Burro

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  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 105 minuti
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 35 torcetti
  • Category: Dolci
  • Cuisine: Italiana

Description

I Torcetti sono biscotti di pasta lievitata, tipici del Piemonte, dall’aspetto ritorto e una forma a “goccia”. Hanno burro nell’impasto che li rende leggeri, friabili, e vengono arrotolati nello zucchero prima di essere cotti al forno per un indimenticabile croccantezza.


Ingredients

  • 250 g farina (io ho usato tipo 1)
  • 1/2 bustina (3.5 g) lievito Mastro Fornaio
  • 1 cucchiaino (5 g) zucchero
  • 1/2 bustina Vanillina (o 1/2 cucchiaino estratto vaniglia)
  • 1/2 cucchiaino raso sale
  • 100 g burro a temperatura ambiente
  • 75-80 ml acqua tiepida

Per decorare:

  • burro fuso
  • zucchero di canna

Instructions

  1. In una ciotola grande setacciare la farina e aggiungere il lievito.
  2. Al centro praticare un pozzetto e versarvi zucchero, vanillina, sale, burro a pezzetti.
  3. Amalgamare bene con una forchetta, o con le mani, aggiungendo poco per volta l’acqua tiepida.
  4. Rovesciare su di un piano di lavoro leggermente infarinato e lavorare per una decina di minuti fino al completo assorbimento del liquido.
  5. Rimettere l’impasto nella ciotola infarinata, coprirlo con un canavaccio umido e riporlo in luogo tiepido (tipo il forno spento) fino a quando il volume sarà raddoppiato (90 minuti circa).
  6. Accendere il forno a 200° C e foderare almeno 2 teglie rettangolari con la carta forno. Mettere da parte.
  7. Prelavare dall’impasto dei pezzetti e farne dei rotolini lunghi tra i 15 e i 20 cm e di 1 cm di diametro. Attorcigliare il rotolino su se stesso e poi unire le estremità, schiacciandole un pochino per farle aderire.
  8. Spennellare la superficie con il burro fuso e passare nello zucchero di canna.
  9. Adagiare sulla placca forno e cuocere in forno preriscaldato per circa 8-10 minuti o fino a che siano dorati.

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18 Comments

  • Reply Lisa March 2, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Yes, Italians always talk about food. 🙂 It is one of my favourite parts about Italy — just listening to everyone’s conversations about how to make the best this or that, where to find the best ingredients, etc.
    I have never heard of torcetti! They look like ciambelline al vino, but I guess not the same at all!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 2, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Yes! Everybody always make the best of this or that 😉 . No, they are not like ciambelline al vino, they have yeast and butter in the dough, but they are just as addictive 😉 .

  • Reply diversivore March 2, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    I’ve never made a leavened cookie dough, but everything about the idea sounds wonderful. I can picture myself lazily wiling away an afternoon with a few of these and a pot of tea (presumably my children are mysteriously absent during this peaceful cookie-munching break – if not, picture more chaos and fewer cookies for me). I can imagine the coarse cane sugar granules being particularly nice, as you mention. Oh, and thanks for the Italian pronunciation reminders – always good to have those handy. Reminds me of our conversation about ‘pistachio’ and ‘maraschino’ in Edmonton! Cheers!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 2, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      Ah, ah, I remember our conversation about the pronunciation of pistachio 🙂 . I thought I would help, because if people were to pronounce them with the K it would be a different cookie 😉 . The leavened dough is wonderful, Sean. Thank you so much!

  • Reply Marisa March 2, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    These remind me of ciambellini cookies I absolutely have to buy when I visit my favourite Italian grocery store. They look delicious and simply begging to be baked! Hopping to try them soon.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 2, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      Hi Marisa! Thank you, hope you give them a try! They might look similar but these instead are twisted, have a drop shape with the ends overlapping, and have yeast and butter in the dough. But just as good! 🙂

  • Reply Nicole | Culinary Cool March 3, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I’m quite intrigued by a yeasted cookie recipe! I love yeasted doughs, so I can only imagine how much I would love these – especially since they’re brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Thank you! They are awesome. I love yeasted dough, too! So much!

  • Reply Milena Perrine March 3, 2018 at 11:48 am

    What a charmed life you describe! What is better than having food in the center of family life? These torcettu al burro intrigue me. I love cookies that pack a crunch and do not look like cookies:) So perfect for tea or with coffee.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 4, 2018 at 12:28 am

      It may be overwhelming to always talk about food, plus, you have to eat it, and I have already put on some weight 😉 . Thank you, Milena, I love these cookies!!

  • Reply Kim March 4, 2018 at 8:20 am

    These are beautiful cookies! You are living the dream for me right now. I so want to go live in Italy for a little while to really soak in the food and culture and architecture.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 4, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you, Kim! Yes, lots of food and architecture, here 😉 . Hope your dream comes true!

  • Reply miakouppa March 4, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    These look wonderful, will have to give them a try 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 5, 2018 at 9:05 am

      Thank you! The buttery yeast dough is wonderful, and that sugar crunch, addictive 😉 . Hope you try them!

  • Reply chef mimi March 5, 2018 at 8:30 am

    These are just gorgeous and so unique! Love the raw sugar.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 5, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Thank you so much! They are so good, not as sweet as one could imagine, just lovely!

  • Reply Laura March 8, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    In the ingredients you list live yeast but in the instructions you have baking powder. Can you confirm which one it is and if I should just use the live yeast instead of the baking powder?
    The reason I ask is that in the past when I’ve used yeast, I first mix it with water and a bit of sugar and let it sit for a while…

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 8, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Sorry, I am so used to using baking powder that I wrote that. It’s dry yeast, no baking powder here. I know, I do like that too, but here I’ve followed the instructions at the back of the dry yeast recipe card and they turned out amazing. Let me know! Thank you!

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