WINE TARALLI

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4 1 / 2 cups flour
1 / 3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 / 2 cup canola oil
1 / 2 cup olive oil
1 cup red or white wine

(Optional – For the white wine version add 2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds.)

1. Oven 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the middle and add canola and olive oils. Mix with a wooden spoon. Add wine 1 / 2 cup at a time, continue to mix. After all ingredients are added, with your hands knead dough to form a ball.
3. Divide dough in half and continue until you have 8 halves. Take one of the 8 halves and divide into 5 pieces. Take each piece and roll gently into a 5 – inch rope, shape rope into a ring and place onto un-greased cookie sheets.
4. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until golden.
5. Cool on a rack and store in an air tight container. Serve with wine or as an appetizer or snack.
6. ENJOY – Ring in the New Year with Tarallis!

If it’s not a cookie and it’s not a biscuit, it must be a Taralli! Tarallis stand out in a crowd. I can only describe them as an Italian union of tasty crackers and pretzels. My personal fave is the Taralli that exudes a fennel, white zinfandel aroma. My daughter prefers those with a Merlot undertone. Most people I know enjoy both; it all depends on one’s sensitive taste buds. Some Italian bakeries sell tarallis in different flavors, such as fennel, pepper and plain, with or without wine as an ingredient. They have just a hint of sweetness in them so you can eat them as a snack, not just as dessert. A friend of mine likes nothing better than tossing a little marinated eggplant on top; all it takes is a little imagination. Eating tarallis and drinking wine is a good combination too. I guess that goes without saying!

When visiting someone who is close to celebrating a birthday, I like to give them a little something extra. I’m big on trying to select just the right gift for people I care about. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, it just has to be something they like, not necessarily what I like. For example, if a friend likes cats, I will buy her socks with cats or a small photo frame for her cat. The new grandma will get a frame for her grandchild’s picture. My husband and nephew are bass guitarists, so I stood in line for two hours to get the famous Rolling Stones bass guitarist, Ron Wood’s autographed book. The gift should fit the person and, when they open that gift, it’s all about seeing that smile.

What can you buy someone who has everything? What can you bring to a party that no one has tried before? You guessed it –wine taralli! Just a few years ago I made these tarallis for two different people. I visited my husband’s Aunt Ellia and Uncle Mario, who were married over 60 years at the time, for lunch. Aunt Ellia was a phenomenal cook and baker, so I needed to bring something a little more exotic to the table. To my delight, she loved the tarallis, and it was something she had never made before. Then I went to a friend’s house for dinner; the husband and wife are wine connoisseurs and the wife is a great cook and baker to boot. They had even built a wine seller in their house. All this, and they too had never experienced taralli. It’s pure joy to introduce friends and family to new foods or baked goods.

Try the recipe and enjoy something new and refreshing!

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