Sweet Tooth Friday (From Nonna's Kitchen Edition): Nonna Mary's Wine cookies
This recipe comes to me from my lovely friend Claudia. She is a true Italian girl with both of her parent’s families hailing from the old country, northern Italy and Sicily. Even though Claudia always jokes she isn’t much of a cook, I tend to doubt it because she definitely has some incredible cooking genes. Her father was generous to share a few of his specialties and Claudia has saved many of the wonderful recipes her mother used to make.
Most of Claudia’s mom’s recipes come from her mother, Claudia’s grandmother Mary Zeppieri. Mary came to the US at the age of 25 from Veroli, Italy and raised five children in upstate New York. She was a dedicated wife and mother and always cooked homemade Italian food. Claudia has dear memories of walking to her Nonna’s house every Sunday after church for these wonderful cookies. The pasta for the night’s dinner would be hanging to dry and the Rizzo’s would spend the day with their loving grandparents. When Claudia talks about her nonna, you can see their bond was special. Cooking her grandmother’s food is very important to her and I was honored to help her make this family favorite. I really felt like Mary was in the kitchen coaching us as we tried to fit the recipe together. We got it on the first go!
Mary must have been an incredible lady. She never got a license to drive and spoke in broken English, but that didn’t deter her from helping others. She worked as a foster grandparent for special needs children until she was ninety years of age. So, she was a Nonna to a number of children over her 102 years. I’m so grateful to now have these divine Italian cookies in my repertoire from a very, giving nonna.
This Sunday, make these wine cookies, place them on your best cake dish and have them with a nice cup a coffee. That’s how Nonna Mary would have served them to you. In her honor, I know I will.
Nonna Mary’s Wine Cookies
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup red wine (Mary used Chianti)
1 teaspoon clove
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon if you are using table salt)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup honey
Warm wine and oil over medium heat for 3 to five minutes, until simmering. Remove from heat.
In the mixing bowl of your KitchenAid, add flour, clove and salt. Turn on paddle attachment on slow and add heated wine and oil. Add ½ cup of water until dough comes together in a soft ball. Roll into two inch logs and create a wreath. Press both ends together.
Heat oil to 350 degrees. Drop dough pieces and fry until golden brown (about 3 minutes). Dry on a paper towel.
Warm honey and cinnamon in a small sauce pan and roll cookies in them. Place on parchment lined baking sheet to dry.