Noni’s Torchet Cookies

I want to first say I am NOT a baker! I can cook but baking, well it leaves me all nervous, shaky, sweaty, cranky, you name it… So that is the first thing, second is that this is not your typical recipe.

Let us start with a little history lesson.

My Noni (aka Rosario ‘Brenca’ Mussano or Rosie to those you knew her)

Mussano_family_BW_86This is her back in the 1950’s (I think) I love this photo of her.

Nonie2This is her back in early 2000, in her garden, the tomato plants were 6 foot tall!

Anyway, my Noni was a fabulous baker, bread, cookies, pastry type things. You name it. But she did not use any measuring because she just knew how much. So when we all tried to get her to give us recipes for the things she made most often, we had to sit and watch her very carefully. The result is well, for a non-baker, very very scary.

So I will give you the recipe that my aunt wrote down (I will say this recipe is right on).

Oh, before I forget, I wanted to know what torchet meant in Italian. I called my aunt, she didn’t know, but did tell me it was a northern Italy cookie (Piemonte is where my grandfather was from the Mussano side; Noni was napoletano – from Naples) so I went online to figure out what it meant. Looks like it means to twist, or is from the verb torcere, which means to twist. As usual the English pronunciation changes things.


  • 5 cups of flour (or little more)
  • 1 lb. butter soft
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 small cake yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp active dry
  • 2 whole eggs


Cut the flour and butter as you would in making a pie dough. Add to warm milk the sugar and yeast, let sit for the yeast to activate, then add in vanilla and eggs (mix well).


Pour egg/milk mixture into flour/butter and mix well. It will resemble a bread dough. You are gonna have to get in there with your hands and knead it till is all incorporated. Then place in bowl, cover, and let set in warm place for hour.


Pinch off walnut sized pieces, roll, then make into snake. Then cross them (making them as big or little as you want really). Dredge both sides in sugar (Noni used white granulated, but I wanted to make the more festive).


Bake in 375 degree oven 12-16 minutes (should be golden).

Noni had a certain size she liked to make I will share what I think she would and would not have liked.

P1040489TOO BIG!

P1040490TOO SMALL!

P1040491That’s about right!

These are perfect with coffee or tea, they are crispy but airy.

Next up I will share the horror that has become biscotti making! I have sorta invented a new thing, but you will have to wait for it.




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 20:41:23

    I am so glad I found this recipe! My Grandma used to make these every Christmas and I managed to lose my recipe with our last move 😦 It looks like the only difference is my Grandma used lemon flavoring. Can’t wait to make these with my littles!!


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