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Caragnoli di Santa Croce di Magliano
Originated from: Santa Croce di Magliano, Campobasso, Molise
Occasion: Christmas
Contributed by: Tony Alfieri (as told to his sister-in-law, Mary Melfi)

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For Caragnoli Dough

3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Flour as needed (about 2 cups to 2 1/4 cups)

For deep frying
About 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil

For glazing
about 2 cups honey


o Beat eggs, sugar, oil and baking powder together.

o Add flour slowly to the mixture and work into a soft dough.

o Shape the dough into a ball. Place in a container, cover, and then let the dough rest for about 4 hours.

o Cut a chunk of dough and roll it out into a thin taralli-like rope -- about 20 inches long and 1/4 inch thick.

o Lightly flour a wooden rod (like the end of a wooden ladle) wrap the rope around the rod for about 7 inches than make a loop on both sides of the rod (See photo). Pinch the various ends together.

o Remove the shaped rope from the wooden rod, making make sure the shape is not damaged.

o Repeat the steps until all the caragnoli are made.

o When all the caragnoli have been made, heat up the oil.

o Fry one caragnole at a time until golden. Place them on kitchen paper to usurp excess oil.

o Heat up the honey. Dip one caragnole at a time in the honey and remove.

o Place the honeyed-glazed caragnole onto a tray.

o Serve at room temperature.


Tony Alfieri notes that in his home town of Santa Croce di Magliano what was known as a "caragnole" in Casacalenda and in some other parts of Molise was there known as a "scarulelle" (For the recipe see Italy Revisited/Fritters -- "Scarulelle."). In Santa Croce di Magliano the word, "caragnole," also referred to a fritter, but the shape of that fritter was very different from the "rose-shaped wheels" or "rosettes" that were made in Casacalenda. In Santa Corce di Magliano a "caragnole" looked a bit like a pretzel, but as the fritter was made by twisting the dough around a wooden stick, the end result was much more complicated than a pretzel. Possibly, this style of fritter was more similar to Calabria's "scaliddre" than they were to Casacalenda's "caragnole." In any case when those from Santa Croce di Magliano arrived in Canada in the late 1950s they soon learned that those from other areas of Molise referred to "scarulelle" as "caragnole" and so quite a few individuals adopted the use of the word (Those from Casacalenda out-numbered those from Santa Croce by a long shot, at least, in the Montreal area). Because Santa Croce's original "caragnole" were difficult to make, few second generation Italians from this town bothered to make them. Nowadays Molise's tourist brochure generally refer to the fritters made in this region as "caragnoli" and all the other names that were once used in the very small mountain villages are more or less forgotten.... The "caragnoli" shown in the photo attempt to capture the design of the fritters as they were done in Santa Croce di Magliano in the early 1950s.

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