Cenci Toscani

Cenci Toscani are traditional Tuscan cookies made for Carnevale.

Cenci Toscani


1½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons powdered sugar

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

Zest of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon Vin Santo or Rum

Canola oil for frying (4+ cups, depending on the size of your pan)

Additional powdered sugar


Combine flour, baking powder, salt and the powdered sugar in a bowl and combine thoroughly.  Place mixture on the counter in a pile and make a well in the middle (like you do to make fresh pasta).  Break eggs into the well.  With a fork, beat the eggs and then add the other ingredients to the eggs and whisk in. Start pulling the flour mixture into the egg mixture and combine.

Knead until a nice dough forms, adding a little more flour if you need it.  (You can also do this in a food processor, but the old-fashioned way was fun and not that hard.) Dust the dough ball with flour and wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll out one half at a time until it is very thin.  With a serrated pastry wheel, slice 1” strips out of the sheets.  Cut these strips into 4” lengths.  Place your unfried dough strips on parchment paper until they are all cut and ready to fry.

Heat the canola oil until it is between 325° and 350° F.  If you don’t have a thermometer, put the end of a wooded spoon at the bottom of the pan and when small bubbles form, it is ready.  Place a few dough strips at a time in the oil and fry until golden brown, turning over to brown both sides – this will be a matter of seconds. Remove with tongs and place on paper towels to drain and cool.  Dust with powdered sugar.

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