ZipperFrutles. That's Cookie #6.
From that name, you might assume them to be a long-ish type cookie with jam or fruit compote inside, that oozes out while baking. Kind of an éclair-ish type shape with a more cookie type dough. Well, you couldn't be more wrong.
You won't find them by the name ZipperFrutle in any cookbook so don't even try. You might find them as Ribbon Cookies, or Schneeballen, or Bugnes, or Merveilles, all depending on what country your ancestors hail from, according to Dorie Greenspan. Also according to that talented lady, you WILL find them as Mrs. Vogel's Scherben in her Baking book. HER own story as to how they were named is just as interesting and the credit for this recipe goes to a 90+ mom-cook who passed it on to her son for Dorie.
However, my story for the name ZipperFrutles is all due to the silliness that Aly and I often find ourselves enjoying. She had been flipping through my new book by Dorie Greenspan, saw the recipe and the wonderful accompanying photo and remembered the cookies we made one year with a friend of ours (that story is a couple of paragraphs down). A couple of days later, I was in a quandary as to what cookie to feature and she said, in all earnestness, "What about those zipper things, you know, those vogel frutles … achh… the ribbon fritles …." You can imagine the frivolity that ensued and after we stopped giggling in our hilarious etymology-based humor, we finally sifted it all down to the newly coined cookie… ZipperFrutles.
So there you go.
(If you can make it through all this talking … there are some photos toward the end.)
This cookie marks the half-way point in our Christmas Cookies series. I sure hope you've tried some of them. I'm beginning to wish that I had waited until December 12th to start this because at this rate, ALL of our cookies will be gone by the time my family arrives and I'll have to make more!! Especially since we had Lattes, Steamers, and Cookies for breakfast! (Shh! Don't tell anyone—we just wanted to have fun this morning!) Besides, those Thumbprint Cookies with the jam in them? well… they are kind of like eating toast and jam, right?
We made these cookies last night and they are definitely all gone … it's just the nature of the cookie! It's more of a fried dough, really, reminiscent of frybread or funnel cakes (only not as doughy), so it is not a cookie that stores very well. I would suggest that they would be great for a tree-trimming party, an after-sledding snack, a Sunday evening Movie Night treat … You could even get these ready to fry as the kids come in from the school bus! They would love you to death and you would be declared "Mommy o' the Year" right on the spot!!
The cookie that we made one year when our friend was living with us was from the "Old Country" (can't remember which one, but I think it was Czechovslovakia) and had been handed down through the grandmothers and mothers of her first husband's family. They called them Ribbon Cookies, but we renamed them Whiskey Ribbons because their recipe calls for 8 oz. of whiskey! They have a great flavor and that recipe also makes tons of cookies –what with 12 cups of flour, a pound of butter, and 5 eggs – you could expect tons of cookies. I didn't really want to make that many of these cookies this year so when Aly spotted this similar recipe in Dorie's book (albeit very scaled-down!), I decided that we'd try it and last night was a great night to do it since we'd planned on having a soup for dinner, then finishing our tree-trimming. The cookies just fit with the evening.
Mrs. Vogel's Scherben (or Circeo's ZipperFrutles—try saying that three times fast!)
(I paraphrase the instructions that Ms. Greenspan gives in her book. If you want the 'real' version, you simply must buy her book! You won't regret it anyway!)
- 1 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Big pinch of sugar (I'm not real sure what a big pinch is!)
- Little pinch of salt (the 'little' pinch, I can handle)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- ¼ t. baking powder
- 3-4 T. hot water
- Cinnamon-sugar and confectioner's sugar, for dusting
- Flavorless oil, such as canola or sunflower, for deep frying
This is not a cookie for the KitchenAid. Simply use a medium mixing bowl and work the butter, sugar and salt together with a wooden spoon or spatula till they are smooth. Add the egg and beat it in (the mixture will look odd at this point!) Mix the flour and the baking powder together, then mix them into the liquid ingredients, stirring it till most of it is moistened. Add three tablespoons of hot water and continue to stir it till the dough comes together. Keep stirring … Dorie says, "You'll have a moist dough that might be a bit shaggy." I think she means that it won't all be holding together, and that some of the dough will look like shaggy sheepdog's face. Or maybe she doesn't mean that at all!
Use your hand to knead the dough in the bowl just until it smooths and stays together. Make a ball of the dough, (you'll wonder if you've made enough because it is a very small ball of dough!), wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it for at least an hour. It's not the end of the world if it stays there overnight. J
When you are ready to roll them out, line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap. Cut the dough in half and work with each half separately. On a floured surface, roll out one of the halves into a very thin rectangle –the thinner the better, in my opinion. Use a pizza slicer or pastry wheel to cut 1-inch strips, then cut those in half as well. Lay them on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Cover the whole cookie sheet with plastic wrap and chill another hour or overnight.
I used my deep-fat fryer that my mom bought me for Christmas a few years ago. I think the last time I used it was … oh, maybe 3 years ago! I just don't deep-fry that much stuff, but it sure is handy to have a fryer when you want one. If you don't have a deep-fat fryer, you can heat about 4 inches worth of oil in a deep saucepan to about 350˚F. You MUST have a deep-fat-frying thermometer to ensure this temperature or you will end up with grease-laden cookies, or burnt ones.
Aly took over the job of putting the strips into the oil (PLEASE!!! ONLY let older kids do this … the grease is way too hot for young ones to be safe enough!)
When they were ready, I would dump them out onto a platter lined with paper towels, and Ben would sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on them.
He would then transfer them to another platter and apply la pièce de resistance … ample confectioner's sugar …
I think Ben ate half the platter!! But then he can afford it … he's as solid as they come.
Dad went home from the hospital today! He was hoping to go home yesterday, but just wasn't quite ready. I'm praying for a good night's rest for him AND for my mom!
Pictures of our family tree-trimming will be on the December Daily pages … look for them later tonight or tomorrow.
Still 16 days till my brother and his family come!