Olive Oil Kichel

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  24 cookies
Prep Time:  40 minutes Resting and Cooling Time:  3 hours 30 minutes Cook Time:  25 minutes

Olive Oil Kichel

A kichel is a bowtie cookie. Fresh from the bakery, it was a staple in my house growing up, sitting on the avocado-toned formica counter next to the friselle and sesame breadsticks from the Italian bakery. But this version is no 1970s redux. This olive oil version is shockingly easy to make (for a pastry) and looks as good as it tastes, but be warned: it does take one very special ingredient to work—patience. No kidding. The dough is kneaded for 20 minutes, so get out the big mixer. Trust me on this one: it’s totally worth the time.

Ingredients

Dough:

3½ cups (455 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (43 grams) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt

4 large eggs, beaten

9 large egg yolks, beaten

¾ cup olive oil

2½ teaspoons (14 grams) vanilla bean paste

 

Sugar Coating:

3 cups (612 grams) granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix to combine. Add the eggs, egg yolks, olive oil,  and vanilla bean paste and mix at low speed for about 20 minutes (yes, you really do need to knead for 20 minutes) to form a smooth dough (see Kitchen Tips). Lightly flour a work surface, turn the dough out onto it, and knead for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is no longer sticky. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread half  the granulated sugar to be used for coating evenly on your work surface and roll the dough out on it to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Sprinkle the remaining granulated sugar on evenly over the dough. Using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 2- by  4-inch rectangles (you will have between 24 and 30). Give each strip a half twist to form a bowtie shape and arrange on the prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. It’s important that the cookies be fully baked; otherwise they’ll collapse when they cool. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 3 to 4 hours, until cooled and thoroughly dried. Serve—or if you are not serving these right away, cover in plastic immediately to retain freshness.

Kitchen Tips

  1. The long kneading develops the gluten in the dough which gives it its unique texture.
  2. This recipe was adapted from the Eier Kichelach in Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg (Camino Books, 2011).

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