You may recall the original recipe Raffaela gave me, or you can look back in this blog to find the post. I followed with two partial translations and my friend’s friendly suggestion to make the cookies with Raffaela.
Raffaela understands some English and speaks a little, but her languages are Italian and French. Mine is English. It’s a good thing she brought the ingredients because some of the items I could not translate and find in my cabinet, much less anticipate and purchase.
The assembly of the recipe included bi-lingual chatter, lots of smiles and laughing, much pointing, and me scribbling notes as I transcribed the complete recipe. At one point, I tapped the can of baking powder on my counter and learned Piccoli de Maggie is baking powder. I also confirmed that there are no “cats” in the cookies (see the second Little Italian Lady cookies post).
Typical of baking-grandmothers of all cultures, the recipe amounts are approximations. “Add a little bit more.” “Let’s put another egg.” “Oh, we need more flour. We added an extra egg.” “Do you have brandy. Let’s put in more.”
Hey, I’m good now. Half of that conversation was in Italian, and I followed right along.
Little Italian Lady Cookies
Date and Nut Cookies
Nonna Raffaela Cutone’s recipe
1 cup sugar
1 cup Mazola oil
8 oz (weight) chopped walnuts
8 oz (weight) toasted almonds, crushed
4 oz (weight) chopped dates
3 oz (liquid) brandy or whiskey
4 cups flour (more as needed to make batter stiff and sticky)
1 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a stand mixer set on low running constantly: (Don’t rush the next addition.)
Mix eggs for a couple of minutes
Add sugar and mix
Add oil and brandy
Add walnuts, dates, and crushed almonds
Add flour a little at a time
Mix baking soda and baking powder with a bit of flour, then add to batter
Batter needs to be quite stiff, but should still be sticky. Add extra flour if necessary. (Perhaps you didn’t measure the brandy. 🙂 )
If you’re not using a heavy-duty mixer, it will be necessary to transfer the batter to a larger bowl and mix in the last of the flour.
Prepare baking sheets with non-stick spray
Drop batter by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Leaving about 1 ½ inches between cookies. (A 1½-inch melon-baller with a release lever works perfectly). You’ll need a spoon to help drop the cookie.
Hint: Transfer batter to a plastic food storage box and the batter won’t stick to the side and will be easier to handle.
Next week I’ll post the Pizzelle recipe.