These biscuits/ cookies are crunchy on the outside with a somewhat bread-like texture on the inside. They’re not very sweet and pair very well with cold milk, hot chocolate, tea/ coffee or wine. They are delicious served warm and equally good cold, and keep very well if stored in airtight containers. Apparently, Queen Margaret, the wife of King Umberto I of Savoy loved these biscuits so much during her stay in Valle d'Aosta, that she gave her servants enough provisions to bake an abundant supply for her consumption.
Now I know some of you might wonder why anyone would like to make a cookie that has a “bready” interior. After all, cookies are meant to be cookies and bread should be bread. Why marry the two in one? Beats me too, but I’m not complaining in this case, because I like Torcettii. The fact that they’re not very sweet but have a caramelly crunch that gives way to a yeasted soft texture works for me.
I have adapted this recipe from the one in Nick Malgieri’s “”. Traditionally these biscuits/ cookies are shaped by rolling out bits of dough into “ropes” and then pinching the ends together to form a “teardrop” shape. These are shaped by crossing the rope of dough near the ends to pretty looking twists.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Adpated from )
Some tips that might make a difference to your Torcettini –
1. For a variation on these biscuits, you can make them chocolate flavoured. If making chocolate Torcettini, remove 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and add 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder. Also add 2 tbsp powdered sugar and replace the lemon zest with orange zest while making the dough.
2. Once your Torcettini have been shaped, don’t let them rise for longer than 20 minutes. If you do, your Torcettini will more bread-like on the inside due to the extra “rise”.
3. To make sure the Torcettini dough does not rise for more than 20 minutes, it’s a good idea to work on shaping the 2nd batch while the first batch is in the oven.
4. If you do not want to use parchment paper, you can grease you cookie sheets and place the shaped Torcettini dough on them directly. Just remember to take them off the sheets while they’re still hot. You will need a spatula to the dislodge them, and do so carefully so they don’t break. Once they’re cool, the caramelised sugar on the Torcettini make them stick to cookie sheets and they become difficult to dislodge without breaking them!