Chrusciki: Polish Bowtie Cookie Recipe
My Mother and Me 1945
Polish Chrusciki Are a New Year's and Easter Favorite
Chrusciki is one of those delightful Polish foods that brings back memories of my mother’s kitchen when I was a child. Chrusciki, or Polish bow tie cookies, are made from an egg-based dough that is rolled thin and deep fried, then sprinkled with confectioner's sugar. For me, the smell of any cookies baking reminds me of my mother’s kitchen. She loved sweets and always had cookies in the cookie jar, but there was definitely a cookie class system in our house. Everyday cookies might be oatmeal raisin or butterscotch cookies. More special occasions called for chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies. Christmas had it’s own selection of favorite cookies , but on New Year’s and Easter we could always count on her to make the delicate Polish chrusciki, sometimes called angel wings or Polish bowties.
Chrusciki for Christmas, Easter, Special Occasions
In Poland, chrusciki are traditionally served on New Year’s and at Easter time and often at weddings. But they are a vey special treat at any time of the year, and my mother would sometimes make them for special dinner guests or other family celebrations. Mom never made them too far in advance or they would be gone by the time the special occasion rolled around. They were likely to be hidden in bowls in the linen closet or another out of the way place to keep them safe from the resident cookie thieves.
Making Chrusciki is a Family Activity
Making chrusciki works better if two or more people do it as the bow ties fry up very quickly and need constant attention. Several helpers make for a fun project, but be prepared for a flour dusted kitchen if the kids get in on the fun. While one or two people can roll the dough and form the bowties, another can tend to the frying which requires very close attention.
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Ingredients for Chrusciki
- 8 egg yolks
- 3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoons vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 2 cups flour, or enough to make a soft dough
- oil or shortening for frying
Instructions for Making Chrusciki
- Mix all ingredients together. Add flour to make a soft dough.
- Chill, then roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/8" thick. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1 1/2 x 3" rectangles with a slit lengthwise down the middle. Carefully put one end of the dough through the slit and pull gently to make bow.
- Heat about 3 inches of oil in a pot. Spread several layers of brown paper or paper towels on a counter for draining. Test the fat by dropping a small piece of dough into it. If the dough immediately pops up and becomes lightly browned in about 30 seconds, the fat it the right temperature. If the dough pops up very browned, it's too hot. Turn down heat a little and drop a piece of bread in it to cool it.
- When the fat is the right temperature, drop a chrusciki into the hot fat five or six at a time. They should pop to surface in less than a minute. Turn with a long fork until lightly browned on both sides.
- Be careful that fat doesn't get too hot as you cook or cookies will burn easily.
- When cool, sift confectioner's sugar over top. Store in a bowl lightly covered with a dish towel. These cookies will get soggy if stored in a tightly covered container.
- To freshen the chrusciki before serving, sift a little more powdered sugar on top.
Read More About Polish Food Traditions
If you like Polish food, you will also enjoy this article by WriteAngled on Polish Food: the Art of Hearty Eating.
Chrusciki: Try These Polish Bow Tie Cookies
Each family has traditions associated with food, and, for most of us, certain foods bring back memories of family traditions and special times. Making chrusciki is one of those foods that reminds me of the Polish traditions that my mother kept alive in our family. I know you will love these delectable Polish cookies. Maybe you’ll start a new food tradition in your family!
©2010 Stephanie Henkel
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