By: Rossella Rago, Cooking with Nonna
For 3 Dozen
For the Taralli:
- 4 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine
For the Icing:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups water
- To make the Taralli:
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, beat together the eggs, olive oil, and wine on low speed. Add the flour mixture and increase the speed to medium. Mix until a dough forms, about 10 minutes.
- Attach the pasta roller attachment to the mixer and set it to the largest setting possible. With the mixer running at the highest speed, take a tennis ball-sized amount of dough and flatten it with your hands as much as possible. Feed it through the pasta roller, holding the dough taut. The dough will have holes for the first passing. Pass the dough through the machine 20 more times. The dough is ready once it feels smooth, supple, and almost velvety in your hands.
- Take the piece of dough to a clean work surface and roll it into a rope about ½ inch (13 mm) thick. Cut pieces from the rope about 8 inches (20 cm) long (the length of a dinner knife is the perfect measurement). Join the ends of the taralli to form a round shape. Place one end on top of the other and push down hard with your index finger to seal them together. Set the taralli aside, not touching each other, on a clean kitchen towel or tablecloth.
- Repeat passing the rest of the dough through the pasta roller and rolling it out until you have made all your taralli. (You will be able to make 2 or 3 taralli at a time. You must work in small batches passing the dough through the machine; it must be rolled out immediately or it will dry out.)
- Once you have made all your taralli, let them rest for 15 minutes before boiling them.
- Bring 3 quarts (2.8 L) of water to boil in a 5-quart (4.7 L) pot. Drop the taralli in 4 or 5 at a time, beginning with the first ones made. Stir the pot with a wooden spoon to prevent the taralli from sticking to the bottom. As soon as the taralli rise to the surface, scoop them out with a slotted spoon or spider and lay them back on the towel. Boil all the remaining taralli.
- Preheat the oven to 475ºF (240ºC).
- Hold the boiled taralli in your hand and with a sharp knife make an incision three-fourths of the way through all around the taralli, rotating as you cut.
- Place 10 to 12 taralli at a time directly on the wire rack of the oven. These will puff up in the oven and require more space.
- Bake for 7 minutes and then lower the temperature to 400ºF (200ºC). Bake for an additional 10 minutes, turning the taralli with tongs halfway through. Cool on a wire rack.
- To make the icing:
- Add the water and sugar to a 2-quart (1.9 L) saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- In a large metal mixing bowl, add about ½ cup (120 ml) of the sugar mixture and 7 or 8 taralli. Tumble them with a wooden spoon so the taralli become coated with the icing. As soon as they’re nicely coated, turn them out onto a wire rack with aluminum foil underneath. You must do this quickly because the sugar will begin to dry and harden. Repeat with the remaining taralli. If the sugar in the pot hardens, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water and melt it over medium heat until the mixture becomes liquid again.
- Allow the taralli to dry completely, 30 to 40 minutes.