After my struggles with the anarsa cookie from Nepal I was a bit wary of deep fried cookies. I have to say that I was surprised to find that this hvorost cookie is quite easy to bake. I felt the result -a nice pile of these crispy sticks – was worth the smell of a chippie in my hair, clothes and house. These crunchy little twigs are very popular in Russia and the countries of the former USSR. The name hovorst means kindling in Russian and a plate of these cookies do look (and crunch) suspiciously like a pile of sticks. The hvorost cookie is made with kefir (similar to yoghourt) and -it’s a Russian recipe- vodka. They say the vodka makes the cookie extra crunchy but I suspect that the Russians may use any excuse to tip the vodka bottle. The longer you fry this cookie, the crunchier it gets, but be careful that it does not burn. Hvorost aren’t overly sweet, so be sure to sprinkle loads of icing sugar on top. With a little imagination your cookies will look just like a snow covered Russian bundle of twigs.
Hvorost cookie from Russia
(for about 30 cookies)
275-300 grams of flour (or more when needed)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
30 grams of sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg yok
175 milliliters kefir or yoghourt
15 milliliters sunflower oil
15 millilliters wodka
oil for deep frying
icing sugar for sprinkling
In a large bowl mix 275 grams of flour with the baking powder, the sugar and the salt. In another bowl mix the egg yolk, the kefir, the oil and the vodka. Combine both mixtures and knead well. Add a tablespoon of flour it the dough is too sticky and repeat until the dough does not stick to your hands any more.
Make a nice ball from the dough and flatten into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for about 30 min.
Divide the dough in four pieces and roll out very thinly into a rectangle of about 16 cm x 20 cm. Use a pizza wheel to make little strips of dough of about 1 cm wide. Make a slit in the middle and cut off a little triangle from the top and the bottom to make a nice pointy tip.
Fold 1 of the short ends into the middle of the slit.
Pull the end through the slit.
Straighten the strip of dough. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Fill a wide pan with about 2 inches of oil and heat to about 160 °C/ 320° F. A piece of bread that is dropped in the oil should start bubbling immediately. Put a few strips of dough in the pan.
Bake them golden brown in a few minutes. Turn them to get a nice even colour.
Take the hvorost out of the pan with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on a plate with some kitchen paper. Serve them on a plate sprinkled with icing sugar.
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