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Taralli Dolci
biscotti dolci
Biscotti di Guardialfiera (sweet taralli, made without yeast, using eggs, sugar and olive oil; boiled and baked)
Originated from: Guardialfiera, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Weddings and other special events
Contributed by: Rita Palazzo

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Biscotti Dolci*

3 cups of flour
6 large eggs
6 tablespoons of olive oil
6 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of Magic baking powder

*Makes 12 biscotti dolci (P.S. Nowadays most people refer to these biscotti as "taralli dolci," "sweet taralli," rather than by their original name, "biscotti dolci.")


o Mix eggs, oil and sugar.

o Make a well in the flour. Work into a fine dough (knead 10 to 15 minutes). If using a Kitchen Aid one can mix the liquid ingredients and then slowly add the flour. When it becomes the mixture becomes too hard for regular beaters, one can change to dough hooks. The kneading will take 10 to 15 minutes with the dough hooks. If one has a pasta maker attachment that comes with the Kitchen add, one can first knead the dough with the dough hooks and then switch to the pasta maker attachment. One uses the pasta maker attachment to further knead the dough (One does Not use it to thin it out). By folding and re-folding the dough and passing it through the first number of the pasta maker, one makes the dough more malleable. The more malleable the dough is, the better the biscotti will be (If the dough is kneaded the way it should be, the biscotti will expand when they are being baked, so that they will crack in the center, having the look of having been scored even though they will not have been scored. Also, if the dough has been properly kneaded the texture of the cooked biscotti will look a bit like chalk and the taste of the eggs will Not dominate.). When the dough is malleable, shiny and light colored (as white as possible), then the dough can be shaped into a log.

o Cut the log into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece out with your hand (about 12 inches in length and 1 inch thick). [N.B. Prior to World War II "biscotti dolci" were made longer and thicker than the suggested measurements; however, the longer and thicker they are, the harder it is to cook them properly.]

o Stick the two ends together to form an elongated circle (sort of a half bow).

o Boil some water and drop each biscotti for 30 seconds or less until it rises on the water. Remove from water immediately and let it dry on a cloth.

o Bake in a 425 F oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.

o Lower the oven to 350 F and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

o The biscotti are ready when the color is golden.


In other parts of Molise and/or Italy this recipe is often known "taralli dolci" -- sweet taralli. However, prior to World War II "biscotti dolci" and "taralli dolci" were not one and the same recipe in Molise, well, not at least in and around Casacalenda. Apparently, "taralli dolci" were low end "biscotti dolci" as they did not require much kneading, while "biscotti dolci" took a lot of time and effort to make and so were the treat one would serve when visitors came a-calling (For more information on this see Italy Revisited/Taralli "Biscotti con Sale, Version I." The superb tasting "biscotti dolci" shown in this entry were made by Rita Palazzo; the photo was taken by Mary Melfi.

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