For Carbone family members, Scalile making day is a major family event and the holiday season just wouldn't be complete without these wonderfully crisp cookies drenched in honey!
This year, I hosted Scalile making at my house. So Gary & Suzanne Carbone and Andrea & Mike Enos (Andrea is Gary & Suzanne's eldest grandchild and my niece) as well as my husband, Steven Johnson and I gathered to make these tasty treats.
I had everything laid out and ready to go so we were ready to hit the kitchen running when everyone finally arrived.
For anyone who has never had the opportunity to take part in this process, be sure to have plenty of extra hands as it would be a very daunting process to make these single-handedly. In our house Mom made the dough, Dad rolled them out and cut them, and the 3 of us kids (Cathy, Mike and Chris) would twist them. While we were busy cutting and twisting, mom would transition to heating the oil and doing all the frying. Very often they would get "honeyed" another day.
This was the first time I made the dough along with Andrea while Dad supervised. We made our batch using just 1 dozen eggs (the number of eggs you use determines the size of the batch and how much flour will be needed - this would be considered a half-batch) and we realized later than although we used only 12 eggs, we used the full amount of Bourbon, oil and salt - maybe that's why they came out so good!
Dad, Andrea, Mike & Steven did the rolling, cutting and twisting...
and we all took turns frying...
The bowl Mike has in his hand is filled with half of the batch of fried Scalile...
Andrea and I did most of the honeying and we completed our (half) batch in record time.
We estimated that each of these containers is holding about 5 dozen cookies:
To those of you who were invited to join us an unable to make it, we missed you! I hope you will all get to enjoy some Scalile this holiday season - Buon Natale!
Scalile (full batch)
2 dozen fresh eggs - room temperature
1 jigger whiskey (or bourbon, optional)
1 tsp salt
1 cup oil
14 cups flour, approx.
Beat eggs until creamy. Mix in whiskey, salt and oil. Add flour slowly, 1 cup at a time. If using a mixer, start with a paddle attachment, switching to the dough hook attachment when the dough gets too thick for the paddle. When the dough starts to climb the hook, remove from the mixer and add the remaining flour by hand, kneading in until the dough is a smooth, shiny consistency. If you are making Scalile on a particularly humid day you may have trouble getting the dough to the correct consistency, allow the dough to rest 5-10 minutes and see if it is still sticky.
Cover bowl with a damp towel to keep dough from drying out. Cut a small piece of dough (a ball sized portion that will fit in the palm of your hand) and roll it out on a lightly floured board until you can see the grain of the wood through the dough. Cut into strips about the size of your fingers and cut a slit in the center of each strip. Carefully work one end of the dough through the slit and then gently pull it straight - it should come out with a twist in the center section. Place on cookie sheets and cover with a damp towel.
Preheat cooking oil to 350 degrees. The oil is the right temperature when you can drop a cookie in and it sinks to the bottom of the pan, then immediately floats to the top. Fry until golden brown on all sides - turning as needed. Place cookies on a wire rack suspended over a rimmed cookie sheet to drain (or on paper towels) and set aside to cool.
Heat honey to 300 degrees, adding a bit of simmering water to thin it slightly. The honey will start to boil and foam, at that point, you are ready to start coating your cookies. Add several cookies to the hot honey and turn them to coat completely. Remove to another wire rack placed over a rimmed cookie sheet to drain any excess honey and to allow the honey to set.
Tools you will need:
- a large, wooden cutting board is ideal
- a sharp knife for cutting off pieces of dough
- Rolling Pin
- a pizza cutter works really well for cutting the strips
- a small paring knife for cutting slits
- Cookie Sheets
- Damp Towels (I dampened several when we were at that stage and kept them handy in a small bowl)
- Wire Racks
- Electric Skillet (our favorite for the honey process)
- Deep Fryer or Dutch Oven
- Candy Thermometer (for the frying and honeying)
- Spider or slotted spoon
- Containers to store/take home your cookies