My absolute favorite Polish treat growing up was chrusciki (pronounced khroost-CHEE-kee). Also known as chrust or faworki. In English, they are known as angel wings. Maybe because they resemble them or maybe it’s because they taste heavenly!
These Polish cookies are a non-yeast dough pastry shaped into a knot and fried then dusted in powdered sugar. They are light as air, delicious and to me, very sentimental.
Food Memories Are Incredibly Strong
My Babci made these at Christmas when I was very little and we rarely made them after she passed away. As I grew up and became more interested in cooking, I asked my great aunt (Cioci) if she was willing to spend some time teaching me this recipe. She was thrilled to pass it on and I spent a wonderful day with her in her tiny kitchen being taught, not only how to make, roll, shape and fry the dough, but how to do it just like my Babci did.
When I arrived, the ingredients had already been gathered, as you should always bake with room temperature ingredients, and she pulled out her well-used recipe book with stained pages and notes penciled in the margins. Then she dragged out her “special” electric skillet (circa 1940) that she had received as a wedding gift. I thought it was a fire hazard, but she insisted this was the only pan they could be fried in and insisted I take it home with me so I could continue to make these.
I didn’t have the heart to say no and took it home but ended up grabbing a new electric skillet that I use just for these cookies. It’s a lot safer.
When you read this recipe, you’ll notice it calls for a tablespoon of brandy, plus one jigger. The tablespoon is to be added to the dough. The jigger is for the baker. Babci’s rule was that you have to take a shot when you add the brandy to the dough. Who am I to argue?
What food memory brings you back?
These desserts are usually reserved for special events, feasts, weddings, and holidays as they are a bit labor intensive. But they are so totally worth it. They are delicious, beautiful and perfect for your holiday table.
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbls sugar
- 5 Tbls sour cream
- 1 Tbls Brandy (plus 1 jigger)
- 2 1/2-3 cups flour
- powdered sugar for presentation
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add salt to egg yolks and beat until well blended and lemon colored
- Add sugar, brandy and sour cream and continue to beat on medium-high until mixture is pale, approximately 3 minutes (Time to take that shot!)
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour gradually 1/2 cup at a time until a fairly stiff dough forms.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough becomes soft, smooth and elastic. Dust with flour if dough feels sticky. Continue to knead approximately 10 minutes until you see little blisters in the dough. Don't stress too much if you don't see them. They will most like appear during frying.
- Cut dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap. Let rest for 20-30 minutes
- On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time, roll dough until very thin (about 1/16" thick)
- Using a straightedge cut into 5 x 1 inch strips
- With strips vertically in front of you, cut a 1" slit in each stripWorking with one strip at a time, push one end through the slit and pull through forming a bow tie.
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a damp towel until all are formed
- Heat oil in a large pot until oil reached 375 on a deep-fry thermometer
- Working in small batches, fry, turning once until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel or brown paper lined tray to drain. Adjust heat in between batches to maintain the proper temp.
- Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
Maybe this year you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands and looking for a special new recipe to try. I hope you try these. You won’t regret the effort you give them and I know you will find them as magical as I do.
Check out some of my other favorite Polish recipes