Recipe: Wandi, Guanti, Farfatelle, Etc…

2 09 2009

I decided a little more research was necessary on Wandi. My Google search, it turns out, yielded very little in the way of information, but I did learn that Wandi is an Americanized Italian form of the word Guanti (there is no “w” in the Italian language), which translates to gloves. According to this helpful description/recipe, the cookies were popular at celebrations, from marriages to random festivals. Indeed, another search uncovered this article, about 100 dozen (that’s right 100 dozen) Wandi being made as part of a Sicilian festival in Iowa (if for nothing else, check out the article for the photo).

That, believe it or not, was nearly the extent of what I managed to dig up on these elusive cookies. I did find this: scroll about halfway down and there is a rather poignant (and coincidental) note from a granddaughter who cannot get the recipe from her grandmother, who happens to have Alzheimer’s. The answer here, however, is that the cookies are something altogether different, called Farfallette, though also referred to as Lovers’ Knots and “Bow Ties” and the recipe is relatively similar.

A hunt for Farfallette then unearthed the tradition of St. Joseph’s Table, the same St. Joseph’s Day (March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. In America it’s overshadowed by the beloved patron saint of green beer, but Sicilians feast and recreate the Holy Family) tradition described in the above Iowa article, meaning that bow ties or Farfatelle or Wandi or gloves or whatever else is all one in the same. And, it seems it’s a tradition that needs to little umph from the next generation. And so, in that spirit, The Russo Wandi recipe, as passed down from my father, and from his mother:

Bow Cookies

1-1/2 Cups sifted flour

1-1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tblsp sugar

3 tblsp Crisco

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 Cup powdered sugar

Oil for deep frying

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. Cut in Crisco until well blended. Stir in eggs and mix thoroughly. Knead on floured board until pliable. Let dough rest for at least one hour.

Divide dough and roll out to an 8×10 rectangle, 1/8″ thick. Cut into strips, 8″ long x 3/4″ wide. Tie into loose knots and drop into hot oil until golden brown.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar. (This last, incidentally, was always my favorite part, perhaps because Grandma Russo never re-sprinkled.)

***I add, at this time, that while this blog is usually about the ties of females, and while this recipe was handed down from my grandmother, the bulk of my nostalgia for it should be credited to my father, who spent countless patient hours teaching me this and other recipes. And who never once refolded my bow ties.


These aren't Wandi, but another Italian cookie, so the sentiment is there...



19 responses

2 09 2009

Suz,I loved your latest blogs.It sure brings back memories of good & treasured times.

Love you,Dad

23 09 2009
William MacPherson

I have to disagree with your thoughts that the “farfallette” are the same as the Wandi. My family makes a cookie that we refer to as wandi, however, my mother spells it wane. I’m not sure exactly why though. However, the “bow tie” cookies that you refer to seem more like the what my Grandma calls “biscotti” but the recipe from her is cuccidati. From the cookies that I’ve gotten at italian pastry shops they are closer to the cuccidati than biscotti except that they have no filling. I’m off track though. My point is that the wandi are a deep friep lemon cookie and I have yet to come across a cookie or recipe that resembles them either on the internet or in various pastry shops.

24 09 2009
Suzanne Russo

Thanks for the comment William. I by no means claim to be an expert on Wandi, or any other Italian cookie for that matter. All the information in my posts about Wandi come from what little there is on the internet and what I learned from my grandmother, who, unfortunately, is no longer around to enlighten me any further. I will say that I have seen recipes for Wandi that include lemon, and also those that, like my recipe, do not. I imagine that it varies by region and that all these names and recipes changed even further as our ancestors moved to the U.S. As for cuccidati, the quick search I did for them turned up a fig-stuffed cookie, which is not the wandi I know. Your comment definitely underlines my whole reason for blogging about Wandi in the first place: that it’s a shame that these traditions have gotten so confusing for us later generations. Thanks again for sharing your family’s traditions.

24 09 2009
William MacPherson

I completely agree with you. It seems like the names of these cookies has changed so much from passing them down over the years that its hard to actually figure out what it what. For example what my family calls cuccidati or biscotti is just the pastry part of the fig cookies that you mention. We do actually have fig filled cuccidati that we call orcuccidati. I was just under the impression that the “or” at the beginning signified that they were filled with fig. Not to mention I was in the North End of Boston not too long ago and bought some raspberry filled cuccidati. Its interesting to see all of the different views on what form these cookies have taken from different Italian families.

5 05 2010
Alexandra Pellegrino

Hi, thought I would but in ,my Mother has been making Wandi’s all my life,and her Mother, Vincenza Pellegrino brought that recipe with her from Naples 80 years ago. Most of what I have read here is close but not like my grandmother Vincenza’a recipe.THe key to her recipe is to roll the pasty so thin as to see thru the counter, then cut , tie and shallow fry. drain and dust with 10x sugar. NO cinnamon, she would come back from the grave if anyone did that, but to each their own. The cookies are tied like a bow , then fried, light, flaky and delicate. Traditionally they are made for weddings, christmas and celebrations. You make a bushel or more so you can send your guest home with a plate. She made it a festive occaision when she cooked them as did my mother, we, her daughters, made them with her the day prior ot christmas eve. We would drink and sing along in the kitchen with her. It was and is a tradition with my daughter and I. Only now I invite friends to join us as it takes anywhere from 5 to 8 hours, depending on how much help you have to make these delicacies.
My grandmother’s detailed recipe ison my blog. I am a chef so thought you might want to hear my grandmother’s recipe.

There is no lemon, in this recipe, and yes this makes a bushel basket.

8C Flour
1/2 pound flour
4 t baking powder
1 dozen eggs( beaten)
2 t van
1 gallon veg oil ( to shallow fry them in)

Lay ( never used, clean )sheets over dining room table,
After you make the pastry, cut it in 8 rounds, and roll to paper thin, so you can see thru to the counter, cut with a serrated cookie cutter, tie in bows, lay on sheets, after you do all of them, then get your fry station ready and your 10x sugar dusting station ready,
Be prepared to change the oil frequently , when foam appears it is over the time to change the oil. If you do not the cookies will taste burnt. So no skimping change the oil after a few batches. drain on brown paper bags, paper towels sometimes the fiber sticks so use old fashioned paper bags, when the cookies are at room temp, sprinkle them with 10x sugar, layer in bushel, I usually sprinkle them after I put them in the bushel basket which I line with brown paper.

My two cents…hope you all enjoy my grandmother’s recipe as much as we do.!

Alexandra Pellegrino

4 06 2010
Suzanne Russo

Thanks so much for the tips Alexandra. Funny that you mention the key to rolling. I remember one specific time as a child making Wandi with my father and grandmother, when my dad got increasingly angry with her for re-tying every bow I did. We never used cinnamon, only confectioners sugar, so next time I’m at home with my dad we’ll have to try that!

27 11 2010

I was reading your recipe on Wandi’s and on the second ingredient should it say butter or is it more flour? I have made these a few times but always give the recipe card away so I thought I would check for the recipe again and here I am. Also I remember my grandmother making pans and pans of these and wedding cookies…. Thanks….

27 11 2010

I now understand the flour situation. Geeeez butter! How could I even think that!!!!

28 11 2010
Suzanne Russo

Ha! Butter might actually be good in them, though a whole different story ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for checking in. I think my grandmother would have appreciated all the love this post has gotten from sentimental Italians. Hope your wandi turn out great!

12 06 2010
Claire Borrelli

I just made some guanti for my future daughter-in-law’s bridal shower. my recipe is:
12 eggs
8 oz granulated sugar
6 oz veg or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
beat well together
then add flour approx. 6 cups with 2 tsp baking powder.
gather the dough and place on floured board to knead until not sticking .
cover and let rest for 10 – 15 min
cut into 6 sections and roll each one similar to lasagne sheets. place on a table covered with clean cloth until the are all done.
then one at a time cut into strips with a ravioli cutter. Fold each stip into a bow and drop into a deep fryer at about 350 F. Place on paper towels when golden . When all done and coolled, dust with icing sugar.

8 01 2012
Joyce Fanelli

I have made these cookie since I was 5 years old. Yes they are called
A’wonda which means gloves, they are named gloves because they pop up and fill out like gloves. they use to make then in three strips and braided them,and made a circle. As time went buy it was easy to make them in to bow ties. We cover then in honey and xxx sugar. So every Christmas eve we make the bow ties. I make one in the shape of the ones we use to make.

20 01 2012
Suzanne Russo

Thanks for the comment Joyce. I didn’t know that history. I love that everyone has such fond memories of these cookies.

9 03 2016

Thank you for wonderful memories of my dear mother and I, often frying these wonderful cookies. I don’t recall exactly what she called them, although I’m now thinking it was something similar to: Zapelle? or Zapella? Anyway, I recall the ingredients being very, very similar, and maybe exactly the same. I remember helping her tie the bows, too! Those precious memories remain with me all of these years later. Wishing that all of today’s children will also have wonderful kitchen memories many, many years later.

16 03 2016
Suzanne Russo

Thanks for this lovely memory Rosella. Isn’t it amazing how food can bring us together and be so much about love?

16 03 2016

I believe my grammar wasn’t correct. Should have read “my mother and me”, right? Even though “I” sounds better to me, lol. Thank you for your reply. Enjoy Spring and Easter festivities with your loved ones. R.

16 03 2016
Suzanne Russo

Ha ha – I love a good grammar question (as much as I love a girl bonding story). This one, it could go either way, depending on what you meant. If you were talking strictly about the memory, then it would be “my mother and me” (meaning you are remembering the two of you together — I remember me or I remember us). However, “my mother and I” could work if you are remembering the act of frying (if you drop “mother,” it would be “I fried”). Then you’d have to take out the comma, but that is actually the way that I’d do it ๐Ÿ™‚

16 03 2016

Thank you for your prompt reply! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

28 07 2016
Teresa C

My mum was from Caserta, southern Italy. She emigrated to Britain in 1954. She made these treats on Christmas Eve. I make them whenever I can! In her southern Italian dialect she called them Gwand, which in “proper” Italian is Guanti which in English means gloves. They are called gloves because the fine strips were folded over, resembling a pair of gloves. My shame is that I never wrote down the recipes for any of the amazing Italian food she cooked. I’ve had to trawl the internet looking for recipes until I hit the jackpot. Sorry mum, I preferred eating them instead of watching what you did.

31 07 2016
Suzanne Russo

Thanks Teresa for this memory. I am always so touched by how much response this post gets, even now. There is truly something to cooking equalling love, especially in big Italian families ๐Ÿ™‚

On another interesting note, my grandfather’s family (and I think possibly my grandmother’s as well) was from Caserta! My grandmother was born in the US, but my grandfather was born in Caserta, and moved to the US arounf 1900.

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