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Italian Crostoli recipe

Italian Crostoli recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Biscuits and cookies

These are deliciously light biscuits. They are lightly sweet, crisp and perfect to serve after dinner or with a cup of tea or coffee.

6 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 72

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 150ml evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 450g plain flour
  • 500ml vegetable oil for frying
  • 60g icing sugar

MethodPrep:40min ›Cook:20min ›Extra time:20min resting › Ready in:1hr20min

  1. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat together salt, sugar and eggs until very fluffy. Stir in evaporated milk, vanilla extract and rum.
  2. Gradually mix in flour; knead well with dough hook until dough begins to blister, about 10 minutes. (If dough is still sticking to bowl after 5 minutes, mix in 2 tablespoons of additional flour, 1/2 tablespoon at a time.) Remove dough and cover with cling film; set aside 20 minutes.
  3. Pour oil into a deep fat fryer or deep frying pan to a depth of 5cm and heat over medium heat to 180 degrees C.
  4. Separate dough into small portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough portions until very thin. Cut into long, narrow strips (about 15 x 2.5cm). With a sharp knife, make a slit in the centre of each strip and draw one end through the slit.
  5. Fry in hot oil until puffy, blistered and very light golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to kitchen towels to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(4)

Reviews in English (4)

by Selena Bruni-Eprile

In my family we have this type of pastry as well,I thought I would try this one for a change. It was easy to put together even though I kneaded the dough by hand , I added annisette flavour instead of rum and only used 1tsp.Make sure that the oil is hot enough for frying and that they are all ready to go into the pan in small bathches, it goes quite quickly once you start frying them. The only thing I found different from our family recipe was these turned out softer like a funnel cake and not crisp like what I am used to.-21 Jan 2006

by D

This is a decent recipe. At my house, there were some additions to the recipe that strengthen the success of this fabulous cookie. A teaspoon of vanilla or orange extract will liven it up. Besdies the already noted input that the oil needs to be HOT, as hot as you can go without burning the oil, the cookies themselves should be thin. The thinnner you can get them, the better they will fry and the crisper, and less oily they will appear. While shopping at a local Italian market in San Diego, I came across a cute little cookie company, Cookies con Amore, that actually makes these in a variety of flavors. They did not have the honey, but they were REALLY close to what my Nonna used to make!-30 Sep 2009

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Recipe Summary

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Cooking oil for deep-fat frying
  • Powdered sugar

In a food processor, combine butter, granulated sugar, and salt. Cover and process until smooth. Add milk, egg, egg yolk, rum, lemon peel, lemon juice, and orange peel. Cover and process until smooth. Scrape bowl. Add flour. Cover and pulse with several on/off turns until dough is smooth and thoroughly combined. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead, adding additional flour as needed until dough is soft but not sticky. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes or until dough is easy to handle. Or chill overnight and let dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling.

Divide dough into two portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough into a 16-inch square, turning dough and adding flour to the work surface as needed. With a fluted cutter, cut the dough into 10 strips, about 1-1/2 inches wide. Cut strips in half crosswise to make 20 strips. Tie each strip with a knot in the center. Transfer dough knots to a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Repeat with other dough portion.

In a large saucepan or deep-fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees F. Fry eight dough knots at a time in the hot oil for 4 minutes or until crostoli are golden brown, turning halfway through cooking time. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough knots. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Makes 40 servings.

Freeze cooled crostoli the same day they are fried. Place in a resealable plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.


Recipe Summary

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rum (Optional)
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • confectioners' sugar

With an electric mixer on high speed, beat together salt, sugar, and eggs until very fluffy. Stir in evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and rum. Gradually mix in flour knead well with dough hook until dough begins to blister, about 10 minutes. (If dough is still sticking to bowl after 5 minutes, mix in 2 tablespoons of additional flour, 1/2 tablespoon at a time.) Remove dough, and cover with plastic wrap set aside 20 minutes.

Pour oil into a deep fryer or Dutch oven to a depth of 2 inches, and heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Separate dough into small portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough portions until very thin. Cut into long, narrow strips (about 6 inches by 1 inch). With a sharp knife, make a slit in the center of each strip, and draw one end through the slit.

Fry in hot oil until puffy, blistered, and very light golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to paper towels to cool. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Store in an airtight container.


Crostoli (Italian Fried Pastries)

That doesn’t mean we didn’t have our own version of fried dough.

Unlike crostoli, which are thin and crispy and leavened with baking powder, I grew up eating ovals of fried yeasted bread dough sprinkled with granulated sugar.

Frying bread dough and sprinkling it with granulated sugar is a common among Southern Italians. My mother had a name for it that I’ve never heard anywhere, it sounded something like “pitla.” I started doing some research. The word “pitta” is still used in Calabria, where my mother’s family originated, for various types of dough-based foods, including some that are quite flat. The word “pitta,” which I believe derives from the Greek word “pita,” became the word “pizza” in standard Italian. I’m guessing that “pitla” is a dialectical variation of “pitta.”

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One of the positive outcomes of doing research on Italian fried dough products is that I came across a wonderful Wikipedia page on fried dough from around the world. Check it out here.

Crostoli (or crostui in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of Italy where my mother-in-law was born) are traditionally served at Christmastime. My mother-in-law says that they would sometimes have them at other times of the year when they “wanted something sweet” that was simple to make.

My mother-in-law’s zig-zag pastry cutter

Not growing up eating crostoli, I asked my husband to tell me what he remembered.

I got two sentences:
“We always had them at Christmas.”
“They’re not my favorite.”

There you have it, the entirety of the crostoli story in 10 words.

I even waited a couple of days and asked him again if he remembered anything else about crostoli. “Nope” was the answer.

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That might have been the end had it not been for Christmas Eve. The morning of Christmas Eve, after I mixed dough for panettone, my mother-in-law and I made up a batch of crostoli to take to Christmas Eve dinner at the home of our friends Rich DePippo and Doug Howe.

Rich’s grandfather was from Domegge di Cadore in the Veneto region of Italy, just next door to Friuli-Venezia-Giulia where my mother-in-law was born. In fact, Domegge is about 100 kilometers from Treppo Grande, my mother-in-law’s home town.

As it turns out, Rich and his mother, visiting for Christmas, also made crostoli the morning of Christmas Eve.

Using a Microplane grater makes fast work of zesting lemons

There were dueling crostoli served for dessert (along with pizzelle, nut roll, and biscochitos).

Rich’s were long and thin, with a slit cut in the middle through which one end of the dough was twisted before frying. This seems to be the most traditional shape that I’ve seen in my research, though Lidia Bastianich, who is also from very near where my mother-in-law was born, ties hers in a knot.

Having seen pictures of crostoli twisted and tied before embarking on making them with my mother-in-law, I asked her why hers were just left as irregular squares (well, quadrilaterals, really) of dough. That’s the way her mother made them was, of course, the first response. After which she added that she liked them to puff up, which they don’t do if they’re twisted or tied.

The other difference in the crostoli is that Rich used anisette to flavor his whereas my mother-in-law used lemon zest and vanilla.

The anisette was definitely a new twist. In researching crostoli, I’ve seen citrus, usually lemon or orange, as the most common flavoring. Often vanilla is added sometimes brandy or rum. Never have I run into a recipe with anisette. Hopefully Rich will weigh in on his family’s recipe for crostoli and how they came to use anisette for flavoring.

If you have a favorite family recipe and a bit of a story to tell, please email me at santafecook@vilۊsentieri.com and we can discuss including it in the blog. I am expanding the scope of my blog to include traditional recipes from around the country and around the world. If you haven’t seen Bertha’s Flan, it will give you an idea of what I’m looking for.


Reviews (1852)

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1/8 c.) of some sweet and hot peppers, and sliced peppers and onions and serve it on warm Italian bread with mozzarella cheese (with the peppers and onions). The best thing to do is to have it cook in the slow cooker until it is cooked through, then slice it thinly and return it to the juice for about an hour (just like they do at the beef restaurants). It was a hit at my daughter&aposs family birthday party, and took hardly any effort. THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE RECIPE! Read More


Livia’s crostoli

Mamma’s crostoli are quite unlike those made by anyone else. They are lighter and crispier than others I have eaten and retain that freshness for weeks. I made crostoli for the first time last week for the celebration of the life of my father, who passed away on 4 March 2012.

Crostoli are known by many other names (galani, sfrappole, bugie) in Italy, depending on what region of Italy you are in. They are also called angel’s wings and a version is cooked in other countries such as Hungary, Poland and the Ukraine. In Italy, they are a speciality of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which is where my family is from. They are essentially sweet fried pastries twisted into ribbons or bows, hence they look like the wings of angels. Mamma remembers making them with her aunt during the the 1940s and she has perfected her recipe over the years. The major difference between my mother’s recipe and other recipes is that she adds no butter or lard to the dough. Every other recipe I have seen has one or the other or both. They also have a good slosh of grappa added and citrus zest. This results in a pastry that is light, crispy and not as rich as others (often resulting in greater quantities being eaten in one sitting!). My father used to say “uno tira l’altro” in dialect (meaning…one pulls another one in).

Mamma said that making them the way her zia ‘Rica did takes time. She would stretch the pastry by hand next to the fogoler (stove), the heat making it easier to get the pastry to be so thin that you could almost see through it. A far simpler way is to use a pasta making machine to stretch the pastry. It is a bit like making sweet fried pasta. Here is the recipe my mamma Livia gave me. Crostoli are perfect with a glass of sweet wine such as a Moscato but are also lovely with a bubbly such as Prosecco, which we had on the day of the celebration of my father’s life.

Livia's Crostoli

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a ball of dough forms (or you can mix this by hand). Empty onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes to ensure it is homogeneous and smooth. It should be like a rather hard pasta dough. Add more flour or water if needed to get the right consistency whilst you are kneading the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Cut off a quarter of the pastry ball, leaving the remainder in plastic wrap. Roll it flat with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape that will pass through the widest setting of a pasta machine. Roll through the machine, making it thinner at each roll, adding a bit more flour if it is sticks to the bench. It should be rolled through to the thinnest setting of your pasta machine three times. Cut each long strip with a fluted pastry cutter so you have 3 long thin strips. Cut each of the long strips into 8 to 10 cm (3 inch) pieces. Make an incision in the centre of each piece of dough and thread one end through the incision to make a bow (you don’t have to make the bow but it looks prettier). Repeat with the remaining dough. If you have someone helping you, one person can start cooking the crostoli whilst the other continues rolling and cutting.

To cook, heat vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. As crostoli are deep fried, you need the oil to be 5 to 7 cm high in the saucepan. Once the oil is hot, drop in 3 or 4 crostoli (or more depending on the diameter of the saucepan). They take about 30 seconds to cook on each side so you need to work quickly and turn them as soon as the edges start to colour. They should be a sandy colour when cooked. If they are brown, you have burnt them. Once cooked on both sides, remove them with tongs and drain them on absorbent paper. If they take longer than 30 seconds on each side to cook, your oil is not hot enough and they will absorb too much oil. The secret of light crostoli is in the short time they take to cook.

You can eat them warm but I like them at room temperature. Before eating, sprinkle icing sugar over them. I don’t put the icing sugar on until I am ready to serve. I find that this ensures they remain crisp and last in an airtight container for weeks (though you will eat them sooner than that!) .


Mamma Rosa’s Crostoli

One Sunday morning I say to Mamma Rosa, “let’s make some crostoli”. I think she can make these in her sleep. In our particular neck of the Italian-Australian community, my mother is very well known for her biscuits and sweets – her amaretti, almond bread, and crostoli rival any pasticceria. You can see her hands kneeding the dough – hands well worn from years of loving toil spent on her family. There are lots of different versions of crostoli, and lots of stories about what part of Italy they originated from. This is the version my mother has been making for as long as I can remember. Some people also add lemon zest different types of alcohol can be used – instead of whisky, you can use brandy, white wine, Marsala or a liquor called Millefiori some versions use butter instead of oil. So there are a lot of possible variations. Extra hands make light work for this, the two of us had it all done in about an hour. For frying, you can use olive oil, canola oil, or rice bran oil.

Ingredients
3 eggs
1/3 cup caster sugar
½ tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup whisky
40ml olive oil
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup self raising flour, sifted
Oil for frying (about 750ml)
Icing sugar for dusting

Making them
1. In a bowl, add eggs, caster sugar, vanilla, whisky and oil. Beat with an electric mixture until sugar is dissolved and the mixture pales
2. Fold in flour until a dough forms. If it still seems too sticky, add a little more flour but make sure the ratio of plain to self raising is 2:1
3. Gently knead the dough until smooth. Divide dough into eight equal portions, and flour each portion lightly
4. Using a pasta roller on the widest setting, roll each portion into strips. You may need to fold and roll a couple of times until smooth
5. Set the machine to a narrower setting (on our machine we set it to number 2) and roll the sheets through
6. Using a pastry wheel, cut the dough into strips, with a small slit through the middle, then fold through the hole to form a little twist
7. Head the oil in a deep pan (a wok works well) and gently fry in batches until golden. They will fry very quickly so don’t stray from the cooktop! Place on a paper towel to cool.
8. Dust liberally with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container. You can re-dust them with icing sugar before serving.


Crostoli (Chiacchiere) di Carnevale

Place the flour and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and use your fingertips to rub the butter into flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Note: 00 is a powder-fine Italian type of flour. It is made from soft wheat varieties, and is frequently used in Italian desserts and pastas. 00 flour is available in most supermarkets, Italian food stores and gourmet delicatessens.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Place the eggs, grappa (or other liquor), vanillina (optional), and lemon zest into the well. Use a fork to lightly whisk the eggs with the other ingredients in the well. Use the fork to gradually blend a little of the flour into the egg mixture until a dough starts to form. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few minutes until a smooth, soft dough forms. Place the Crostoli (Chiacchiere) dough into a bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside for minimum 30 minutes to rest at room temperature.

To achieve a consistent thickness, I recommend the use of a pasta machine to roll the Crostoli (Chiacchiere) dough – alternatively use a rolling pin. Attach the pasta machine to the side of a clean workbench.

Divide the Crostoli (Chiacchiere) dough into 3 portions. Remove 1 portion of the dough, then cover the remaining portions. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into a rough rectangle shape and sprinkle over flour. Dust the rollers with flour. Feed the dough through the pasta machine rollers on the widest setting. Feed through the pasta machine several times, folding each time to laminate. Reduce the setting on the pasta machine by 1 and feed the dough through the pasta machine. Repeat, adjusting the setting on the pasta machine each time you feed the dough through the machine until it reaches the second thinnest setting. Lay out the sheet of Crostoli dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.

To make the Crostoli (Chiacchiere) di Carnevale, use a pastry wheel (or knife) to cut the sheets of dough into 4cm wise strips. Use the pastry wheel (or knife) to cut a slit lengthways along the centre of each strip. Loop one end of the strip through the slit. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat the sunflower oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat to reach a temperature of 175°C (when the oil is ready, a pinch of breadcrumbs sizzle when dropped in the saucepan). Cook the Crostoli (Chiacchiere), in batches, turning occasionally for 1-2 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a baking tray lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Allow to cool completely. Add the finishing touch by lightly coating the Crostoli (Chiacchiere) di Carnevale in icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar) before serving with coffee – buon appetito


Italian Crostoli recipe - Recipes

For a long time I have been wanting to make Crostoli. Fried ribbons of crisp pastry. Liberally dusted with icing sugar. Eaten all over Italy on celebration days. Easter, Christmas, Christenings and family get togethers. This long weekend we travelled to Canberra and caught up with family. The weather was cold and brisk. The perfect excuse to stay indoors. And make crostoli. From scratch. With my mother and daughter.

Crostoli are made from a sweet pasta dough. Flavoured with lemon zest and brandy. There are many regional variations on the recipe. This is the one I know and love, and grew up with. It is easiest to bring the dough together in a food processor. Once kneaded and rested, it is then rolled through a pasta machine. Thin strips of pastry are quickly fried in very hot oil and generously dusted with icing sugar. Piled high on a platter. So light and airy they should dissolve into nothingness upon first bite. Some say they are the food of angels. Others maintain the fried crostoli resemble angel’s wings.

Incredibly delicious, these are well worth trying at home. We spent a wonderful Sunday morning making these. Three generations in the kitchen. Cooking, chatting and catching up on family news. Served with a very short espresso after Sunday lunch. One last pointer. These do keep well stored in an airtight container. If they last that long.

Italian Crostoli

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
30g butter, melted
1 egg
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon brandy
oil for deep-frying
a generous amount of icing sugar, to serve

PLACE sifted flours and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
ADD melted butter. Pulse briefly then add egg, lemon zest, milk and brandy. Continue to pulse until the dough comes together into a ball.
REMOVE dough from the food processor and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest for a minimum 30 minutes.
ATTACH a pasta machine to the side of a bench top and set the rollers on the widest setting.

DIVIDE the rested dough into 6 equal portions. For each portion of dough:

  1. FLATTEN slightly with the palm of your hand.
  2. DUST the rollers of the pasta machine with flour. Feed the dough through the pasta machine 2-3 times, folding the dough until you get an even rectangle.
  3. REDUCE setting by 1 and roll the dough through. Repeat, reducing the setting each time, until the dough is approximately 1.5mm thick.
  4. PLACE the length of pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Using a sharp knife or fluted ravioli cutter, slice each pastry length into 3 – 5 cm wide strips. Cut a slit lengthways along the centre of each pastry strip.
  5. THREAD one end of each strip through the slit to resemble a bow, as illustrated below:

HEAT oil to a depth of 5cm in a wok or wide shallow saucepan over medium-high. When the oil is ready a scrap of crostoli pastry dropped into the oil will turn golden brown in 15 seconds.
DEEP FRY crostoli in batches (3 or 4 crostoli at a time) for 1 to 2 minutes each side until the pastry bubbles and the crostoli are lightly golden and crisp.
REMOVE fried crostoli from the oil with tongs and drain well on kitchen paper. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking tray to cool completely.
DUST generously with icing sugar to serve.


Venetian frìtole

A true symbol of the Venice Carnival, Valeria's frìtole recipe will help you perfect these delicious sweet snacks, laced with grappa-soaked raisins and pine nuts. If you're heading to Venice carnival this year, check out Valeria's guide to where to eat the best frìtole in Venice, so you can stock up on snacks while you're there.

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Every year this time of year, the windows of all bakeries and pastry shops in Venice are filled to the ceiling with piles of dark-brown, sugary globes – the Venetian Carnival sweet par excellence – the celebrated, delightful frìtola.

The first notes of the presence of the frìtola in Venice date back to the 14th century (Marco Polo was known to be worshipper). During carnevale, the alleys of Venice used to be dotted by the fritolèri, itinerant masters of the fried dough, who would lure the passers-by into buying one of their piping hot doughnuts. The fritolèri were crucial figures in Renaissance Venice so much so that they had their own union rules, which dictated, among other things, the areas in which each vendor would be trading. Their popularity within the city grew exponentially until, in the 18th century, the frìtola was elevated to the rank of official sweet of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.

The original recipe for frìtole venessiane consists of a sweetened dough made with flour, eggs, milk, raisins and pine nuts, deep-fried by the spoonful in hot lard. These were sold on the street (they were most definitely considered street food), pierced onto skewers so people could eat them right away without soiling their hands. They were small, pillowy, rolled in sugar while still hot, often giving a subtle scent of anise liqueur or eau de vie.

Although no fritolèro remains in Venice, this old-school version of the frìtola survives in local bakeries as much as in people’s kitchens. Alongside these, which are called sensa gnente (without filling), one can now find larger, ever-indulgent fritòle stuffed with all sorts of creamy fillings – from custard to zabaglione, from chocolate to chantilly cream. These are, however, often reserved to pastry shops, while most home cooks stick to the easier-to-make, plain classic.

The recipe for frìtole venessiane sensa gnente we use in my family, which includes grappa-scented raisins and crunchy pine nuts, is very straightforward. It makes quite a large batch – so it’s definitely good for sharing. Here I suggest dusting the frìtole with icing sugar, but you can also roll them in caster sugar if you like the idea of a crunchy coating.


Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian

In a food processor, blend the butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Add the milk, egg and yolk, orange juice, and zest, and process everything together until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and ¼ cup of the cocoa, and pulse until the dough comes together. Clean the bowl again, and pulse a few more times to mix thoroughly. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead briefly into a soft, smooth ball. (If it is sticky, knead in more flour in small amounts.) Wrap the dough tightly in plastic, and chill 1 hour (or up to 1 day).

Cut the chilled dough in half, and work with one piece at a time. Flatten the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it out into a rough square approximately 16 by 16 inches. With a fluted cutter, trim the edges and divide it into fourteen strips about 1¼ inches wide. Cut all the strips in half to form twenty-eight ribbons, each about 7 inches long (they will shrink after you cut them).

One at a time, tie each ribbon into a simple overhand knot. Place the knotted crostoli on a baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving room between them so they don’t stick to each other. Roll out the second piece of dough cut and tie the same way.

Meanwhile, pour vegetable oil in a deep-frying pan and heat to 360 degrees. Fry the crostoli in two or three batches until crisp and cooked all the way through, about 4 minutes per batch, turning occasionally. Drain on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batches. To serve, combine the confectioners’ sugar and remaining ¼ cup cocoa in a fine strainer, and dust the crostoli through the strainer, turning them to coat both sides.