The World's Best, Time Saving, Cookie Making Kitchen Utensils

My Tools: Cutter, Pastry Brush, Bowl Scraper and Rolling Pin

Making cookies requires special tools. The zig-zag wheel cutter, pastry brush and bowl scraper are essentials.
Making cookies requires special tools. The zig-zag wheel cutter, pastry brush and bowl scraper are essentials. | Source
Here you can see the delicate presentation of the CVITI cookies.  Without these tools, they would be very hard to make.
Here you can see the delicate presentation of the CVITI cookies. Without these tools, they would be very hard to make. | Source

The Finishing Touch - A Powdered Sugar Strainer

Baking is an Art

A little background

When my grandmother came to America from Croatia, she brought back a boatload of recipes with her from "The Old Country". As time went on, those recipes got distorted somehow. A little of this was replaced for a little of that. A new technique was replaced for an old technique. Before we knew it, the old family recipe was looking more and more like the new fangled recipe!

When I came to Croatia "for a visit", I decided to learn once and for all how to make those recipes in the traditional sense of the word. It hardly seemed fair that in 500 years' time, a recipe could stay true to itself until the turn of the 20th century when it began taking a completely different shape and form.

Two Essential Dalmatian Desserts

Because of the warm climate, coffee and dry cookies agree with the people as a light dessert after lunch or dinner. In fact, people shun dessert but like something sweet on the weekends or for special occasions. The two links below are for two Dalmatian Desserts, CVITI and HRUSTULE which are served pretty much "automatically" for every important event, be it Wedding, Baptism, Funeral, Graduation party, even Birthday. When in doubt - CVITI and Hrustule.

They are actually quite different. Cviti (which means flowers) are baked in the oven. With the strange addition of ammonia, it adds tiny bubbles to the batter and rises up while baking - something like a ghost on Halloween. Pale colored, if prepared correctly, they are not too sweet and practically dissolve in your mouth. These are cookies for grown ups or children with eclectic taste buds.

Hrustule, on the other hand look like tiny ribbony strips that are practically see through when you throw them into the hot oil. They fry up quickly, crinkling up. Made with lemon and egg, they are very fragile. Powdered sugar is sprinkled on top. They are delicious and also dissolve in your mouth.

Baking Tools

What Baking Tools Can't YOU live Without?

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Using the Zig Zag Wheel Cutter for CVITI

The rolling pin behind the dough was used to make a thin, consistent dough base.  The cookie sheet on the left shows how the pieces are slightly opened when baked.
The rolling pin behind the dough was used to make a thin, consistent dough base. The cookie sheet on the left shows how the pieces are slightly opened when baked. | Source
Using the zig zag (or pizza) wheel, triangular shapes are cut.  All edges should be zig zagged, even on the outer edges.  No cookie dough is wasted.
Using the zig zag (or pizza) wheel, triangular shapes are cut. All edges should be zig zagged, even on the outer edges. No cookie dough is wasted. | Source

Freshly Prepared Dalmatian Hrustule

The zig zag edging looks nicer on these traditional Croatian cookies made with butter, lemon rind and very little flour.
The zig zag edging looks nicer on these traditional Croatian cookies made with butter, lemon rind and very little flour. | Source

How to Use these Utensils

When the cookie dough is rolled out - evenly of course to ensure uniform cooking time, the zig-zag wheel is used to make the shapes of the cookies.

I end up making a circle. The cvita look like a peace sign, two fingers upwards, or if you wish, a V shape. I make a slim triangular shape with the wheel of fortune, as I like to call it, one after the other in a circular pattern so that none of the dough is wasted.

The zig zag edging is much more attractive than a straight edge. It shows the cookie's depth and makes it look finished, not raw. Like a lacy edged doily, it seems tastier to eat when it looks so nice and refined.

For the Hrustule, the wheel is also used. Rolling out the dough very thinly (and again before frying, I roll it once more), the dough is cut into long strips about 1-1/4" wide. A man's thumb is a good rule of thumb (LOL) when estimating the width. Once the pastry dough is "sliced up", it will be sectioned off, on the diagonal. The center of each ribbon piece needs to be pierced in the center. Through this hole, the ribbon will be pulled through. This makes a bow tie effect. The entire bow tie is fried quickly to prevent burning and left to drain.

Quality Tools for Long Term Use

  1. Easy to hold in the hand
  2. Not get jammed (like the cutting wheel). Bad quality tools stick and don't turn easily
  3. I prefer wooden tools but this is a matter of taste and preference
  4. The plastic scraper is a kitchen staple, but when I use expensive ingredients like liqueur, extracts and natural flavorings, every spoonful is important.
  5. For the pastry brush, a wooden handled brush with horsehair is for me the best choice. It washes easily and the (otherwise black nylon) brush strips don't fall out. (YUCK!)
  6. Most of these tools cost a bit more but have been good investments, because I have been using them consistently for the past five or more years. Reliability is important.

Using the Pastry Brush

After the Cvita are properly baked, they will need to be cooled down on a rack for an hour or so.

When the kids are in bed, I prepare a plate of regular sugar and powdered sugar. Dipping the pastry brush into a small bowl of Liqueur, each cookie needs to be "painted" and face down inserted into the powdered sugar mixture. The topping dries on nicely and the cookies are a sweet treat. They last a long time - up to a month - because they are dry. I keep them in a sealed tin container.

Dalmatian Lifestyle

People who live along the coastline don't like rich creamy desserts. First of all, there aren't any meadows, just mountain and sea, so cows don't fare all that well here. Goats are more rugged and know how to survive with whatever bush they can chew on.

Dalmatian women are known for being tall, exotic looking (light skin, dark eyes, many blondes but also many Greek - looking features). They are also famous for being good women, good cooks, being feminine but also lionesses, knowing how to keep the family under control. In other words, who is the boss? The WOMAN!

Joke - where do the Dalmatian women keep the money? On the table - so grab it - if you dare! The are said to control 3/4ths of the home - the kitchen, the money, and the children leaving the fourth section - the bedroom - for the men. But I tend to think they control that section as well!

Wood and marble rolling pins

And now for a song....

The Song - A Tentative Translation

He met her on the beach on vacation. She is a Dalmatian, of course, and he is a city boy. With the Dalmatian (or Dalmatinka as the grammar goes) - she is the boss! He is mesmerized - but - what she says, goes! And there you have it!

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Comments 13 comments

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

This is great! I love foreign recipes.


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Thanks, aviannovice. The utensils can be used for all kinds of things - like pizza, brushing butter on croissants, and so on. I use them mainly for cookies though :) Thanks for visiting and commenting, Rgds, ECAL


Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

This could be an adventure for me, EuroCafeAuLait! I make chocolate chip cookies, then slap them on a cookie sheet. I think I'm ready for the next level because I have not seen any of these utensils. My cookie making is pretty basic! UP+++


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

My favorite cookie maker is my mixer. I don't know what I would do without my kitchenaid mixer. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Hi Arlene :)

I was a basic cookie baking gal too until I realized if I didn't learn how to make them I sure wasn't going to be eating them anytime soon. So - I did. It goes in baby steps. Thanks for your up votes and glad to have you back around. Your salsa is one of my favorite recipe hubs.


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Thanks moonlake! Mixers are great, our arms would ache without them. Glad you stopped by and commented. Say hi to America for me!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

I love the shape of your bowl scraper- I've never seen one like that before! It must be really great for clearing out remaining strips of batter. Thanks for the cool Hub!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

That bowl scraper is really, really cute! Thank you for the recipes. These cookies sound so delightful.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Fascinating hub-I'm not sure which I was more amazed by-the recipe that includes ammonia (???) or the history of the recipe and the culture. I was not familiar with the term, 'Dalmation' in describing a group of people...only from the Disney movie, 'The 101 Dalmations'. Your description made me LOL Thank you for sharing all of this wonderful info. Rated up and U/I

As for what other tools I use: I'll have to think about that one and get back to you. Great job, EuroCafeAuLait!


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Hi Denise :)

Dalmatia is an area on the Eastern Adriatic, basically across the street from Italy. It's an old civilization dating back to 50,000 b.c. but don't get me started on all that. There are over 1000 Dalmatian islands. Dalmatia is in Croatia now and it's a beautiful spot, because it is located between the mountains and the warm Adriatic sea with a climate similar to California's. Because of its central location, most Europeans (Germans, Czech, Dutch, plenty of English, French and even Russians) come here for vacation. The Dalmatian dog came from this area, too. Thanks for the votes and compliments, looking forward to reading your Hub too. Regards, Anastasia


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Yes, the bowl scraper is a kick! I had to buy it when I saw it. Thanks for stopping by, MarleneB! :)


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Great for cleaning batter and great for licking too! Thanks Simone, I appreciate your comment. Great topic. Happy Hubbing! :D


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi EuroCafeAuLait, What a lovely informative hub! Your Croatian cookies sound divine! Loving the lemon idea in both and both sound delicious! Now that I have a bigger kitchen I can't wait to build my utensils and get baking! Thanks for doing this interesting and helpful hub, voted and sharing :-)

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