Guanti, An Italian Sweet –

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A Carnevale Dessert –

Guandi Finished 2

Buon giorno!

Growing up Italian taught me many things – but none so true as that things can have many different names and still be the same. Italian dolci tend to fall into this area where the same sweet can be called by any number of names. I have had many conversations with Italian friends where it took 20 minutes to figure out that we were all talking about basically the same thing – but each of us gave it a different name.

GUANTI  are such an example. My mother, Loretta, called these little knotted cookies WANDI. The “GU” wants to be pronounced as a “W”. I have even heard them called “E Wands” . They are also referred to as “Chiacchiere” – which means chatter. My friend, Peggy, remembers them as “Noccatelle”. They are knotted strips of dough – cut with a pastry cutter making a jagged edge – then lightly fried, and sugared.

Guandi finished 1

GUANTI, Chiacchiere, Noccatelle – are usually made at special times – like Christmas but most often at Carnevale – the joy filled weeks prior to Ash Wednesday when Italians celebrate with parades in costume,  joyous festivals, and, of course, special foods. It is the time of Mardi Gras in some places around the world – but in Italy, Carnevale is a few weeks of joyous masked merriment and special rich foods, enjoyed in preparation for the Lenten period of abstinence. 

Mask

GUANTI  is one of those sweet treats that you may remember your Nonna making. When my mother made them, the aroma of the fried dough filled our little house, and I knew something wonderful was in store. I waited for the platter of little knots to appear. She sprinkled hers with powdered sugar, although many families may remember them with honey and nuts – like struffoli. They are best eaten warm, right out of the oil, and freshly made. When you have these, it is not an event you will likely soon forget.

Happy Carnevale!

GUANTI, AN ITALIAN SWEET

Makes: dozens depending on size

Prep: 15 mintues

Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

3 C. Sifted Flour

Dash of Salt

1 C. Sugar

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

3 Eggs

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/3 C. Dry White Wine

Vegetable Oil – enough to make about 1 1/2 inches deep in your pot.

Plenty of Powdered Sugar

Instructions

Place dry ingredients in the food processor or mixer & mix. ( OR place on a board and make a well in the center as in the old days!)

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Add eggs and vanilla – then  process until the dough begins to come together.

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Add the wine and mix until the dough becomes soft. ( You may need a few drops more wine– depending on the dryness.)

Turn the dough out on a board or slab to knead. Knead a few minutes until your dough is smooth.

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Cut strips about 5/8” wide and about 8 inches long with your dough cutter – or you can also use pinking shears to achieve the jagged edge.

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Take each strip and make a knot looping one end of strip over, under and through – like the beginning of a square knot – only you will only loop it through once.

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Drop the knots into hot oil in a pan or pot heated to about 375 degrees – a few at a time. Turn them gently and quickly in the oil .

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Remove them as they turn golden and let drain on paper towels.

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Quickly sift powdered sugar (or granulated sugar) over them on all sides. You may want to sugar them a couple more times.

(Some like to drizzle them with honey and sprinkle them with nuts – like struffoli.)

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The GUANTI are delicious dipped in hot chocolate, tea, coffee or enjoyed with espresso!

PARLA COME MANGI!

Comments are welcome in the “Speak Your Mind Area” beneath this post online.

LINDA’S ITALIAN TABLE

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Comments

  1. Ooh, Linda.. You know these ARE my favorite!
    My grandmother in “our” hometown made these.
    Thanks for the recipe.
    We usually only had them at Christmas ! Thanks to you, I will make them twice a year and celebrate Carnevale !

  2. Oh my, Linda, I am so happy to have found your blog, I am all signed up for your newsletter/emails, and I liked you on FB! Guanti! Wandi!! Not bows, guanti!!!! My favorite treat at Christmas. I have yet to make them myself, but I will thanks to your recipe! This post brought back such happy memories for me, with the correct name. I am one of those Eye-talian girls through and through 100% and I treasure family heirloom recipes. I hate when people put cottage cheese in lasagna, that is Notsagna to me!! Looking forward to more of your recipes.

    • Barbara – I am thrilled to hear that you enjoy the website so much. Those guanti are embedded in our minds and hearts from days past. I hope you will make them and that they will bring back some of those warm remembrances.Thank you!!

  3. First time on your site. Love your recipes.

  4. How do you store these? How long will they keep?

    • Carla – They are always best right out of the oil for optimum results and crispness. But the best way to keep them longer is in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.

  5. we call them wandi or la nocca/ le nocce. here in providence they’re not knotted but doubled back on themselves or done as circles.

  6. Nina Girolamo says:

    My mother taught me this recipe and we are from the Naples area of Italy. We called them i wand or Guanti which means gloves and I thought the reason we called them this is that my mother cut them in the shape of gloves…a flat piece of dough with 3 or 4 cuts through the middle so that when fried they kind of looked like gloves. This is one of our family’s Christmas favourites