Twisted Yeasted cookies/Biscuits/ Torcettini di Saint Vincent

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 Do you know who makes all the rules in my house, I think it’s both my kids, yes my son doesn’t like mom taking a nap or sleeping, he wants to be comforted all night and day. If mom just holds him and watches him without doing anything he is happy. I was sleepy all the morning, and thought I will take a nap in the afternoon, we all three, I, daughter and son were ready for. But then he doesn’t like mama sleeping in the afternoon, and he kept on crying for all most 30 minutes and even make me drop the idea of taking a nap. Finally I was able get him to get him to go to sleep, and then I was able to get my 1 hour nap to feel fresh.

I have baked breads, pancakes, coffee cake and puff pastry with yeast, however has never tried any cookies/biscuits with it. So when Aparana ‘s Challenge “ We Knead to Bake bread this month “ was to make Torcettini or twisted cookies from Val d’ Aosta,  north west Italy, I thought I should give it a try.  .It was a favorite of Italy’s Queen Margherita of Savoy, and in fact, she liked the version in one pastry shop so much that she knighted the owner on the spot.
Torcettini is mainly made in the of Saint Vincent in Valle d’Aosta, a small mountainous region in North-Western Italy, even though they’re well known throughout the Piedmont region as well. These delicious crunchy biscuits originated in bakeries that made breadsticks. The story goes that one day a grissini baker had some butter left over which he mixed into the last batch of his grissini dough. To distinguish it from the grissini dough he looped this dough and then sprinkled them with sugar before baking. The result was a delicious Torcettini biscuit which is usually dipped in tea, coffee or hot chocolate. These are a cross between a buttery bread stick and a caramelized puff pastry palmier.
These are delicious and at their prime when it taken out from the oven. Next day they are fine and but after that they will lose their charm. Since it has lot of history attached to it. I wanted to make traditional version (as Aparna even given a chocolate version). As it has its origins from bread dough it has no sugar in the dough only sugar is rolled and then twisted to make pear or tear drop shape. I love the fact that there is no sugar is in the dough; only it is rolled in sugar just before baking. I used Turbinado sugar, which is crunchy and looks beautiful in baked goods, and also used lime zest. I used my food processor (which I rarely use in my kitchen) for adding the components.
If you want these munchies for your evening tea, you can start the process in the morning. I like to let the yeast work in dough for overnight, so made the dough one day and baked the Torcettini on next day. I loved it, my hubby afraid of try them as it has sugar crusted. Still he tried a few. I didn’t force him. My daughter tried it and she liked it first day. Next day she didn’t want it. So the remaining cookies or biscuits became mine which I finished happily.
If you looking for something new to try then give it try it will be delicious with caramelized top and soft interior.  Here comes the recipe. 

Print Recipe from here

For making dough  and Torcettini like this

Twisted Yeasted Cookies/ Biscuits/ Torcettini di Saint Vincent
(Adapted from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri)
 Preparation time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: overnight
Baking time: 20 minutes
Yield: 24 no
1/2 cup/96g warm water, about 110 F
1 1/4 tsp/4g active dry yeast  ( I used Red Star Yest)
1 1/2 cups/229g all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lime/ lemon zest
40 gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
about 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies ( I used turbinado sugar)
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, set aside until it becomes frothy.
  • In a food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) add flour and salt and pulse few times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.
  • Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse until the dough comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead. Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit.
  • This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours. I kept the dough for about overnight in refrigerator.
  • When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, add little sugar on it. Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized bits of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.
  • Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.
  • Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2″ between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. Don’t worry, they will not “puff up” much.
  • Bake them at 160C (325F) for about 25 minutes until they’re a nice golden brown. Cool the cookies completely, on a rack. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. 

I am linking to We Knead bake #4
also  Yeast spotting.


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  1. says

    Wow Swathi, lovely lovely delicious cookies. You have explained it so nicely and very beautiful clicks. I have to surely make this, my kids will love it. Thank you very much Swathi for sharing it.

  2. says

    Delicious and perfectly made twisted cookies, looks like a sweeter version of pretzels but with a different color – Looks traditional, warm, crunchy and the texture is just right.
    You have lots of patience to painstakingly take snaps of each every process.
    Love it!

  3. says

    Hi Swathi, loved reading your cute story about your children and the ‘nap’…glad you finally get to take your 1hr nap in the afternoon which really does help with all the busy tasks you do every day and still bake amazing things like this well known Italian biscuit/cookie, and yeasted as well! Such a great history behind it, and the cookies look so perfect crunchy and delicious! Love the cute twisted shapes of it and of course your helpful step-by-step photo tutorial which is always so helpful!

  4. says

    I went to Aosta valley 13 years ago and it’s a beautiful place. They speak French and Italian. I didn’t know these cookies and they look perfect. I’ll copy the recipe tomorrow, here is very late.
    Take care with your son, even when they grow up, they want their mom all for them the whole time. Mine’s is 20 and he’s always telling me what I have to do or not. But despite of this, enjoy being with your children, they grow up very quickly.
    Cheer from Valencia

  5. says

    Very Yummy cookies! I love the hint of lemon zest. Hopefully you finally got at least a little catnap in once these cookies came out of the oven. :)

  6. says

    it has been ages since I have taken lil one foes to nursery in afternnon,so i get harldy 2 hrs in between,so not time for nap :( Enjoy ur naps..
    Seeing this cookie everywhere is tempting me a lot..