Wine Cookies (Turdilli)

Hot out of the oil. They are not greasy at all.

It is not Christmas without wine cookies!  Some people know them as Turdilli or maybe struffoli (but real struffoli is very different than turdilli). There are lots of recipes on the internet, and all of them seem to call for marsala wine.  In our community, wine cookies were traditionally made with a sweet red wine.  This is Mom’s recipe, and I present it here below.


2 cups of sweet red wine (sangria, paisano, etc.)

1 cup of oil

1 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of baking powder

2 large eggs (beaten well)

7-8 cups of flour

oil for frying (at 375 degrees)


Combine the wet ingredients (beaten eggs, oil, wine, and sugar).  Slowly add the 7 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well.  The trick here is the dough consistency.  It needs to be soft and a just a little tacky (but not actually sticky) to the touch.  I wish I could say exactly how much flour to use, but humidity, the flour, and the size of the eggs are going to determine if you need 7 or 8 cups of flour to get the dough the correct consistency.  Add it a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing well in between, until you get the right consistency.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least 20 minutes to relax.  Now would be a good time to heat up the oil if you have not already.

Take about a baseball sized piece of dough and roll it out about 3/4-inch thick.  Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces (Mom uses two fingers as her guide, my hands are bigger, I need to measure).

Roll the pieces across a cheese grater to give them some texture to help hold the honey.

Place several of them in the hot oil and fry for five to six minutes.  Do not overcrowd the batch.  Do not place them on top of each other.  They will stick and you will have a mess.  The secret is small batches.

Place them on a cooling rack to drain.  They do not soak up much oil so they are not greasy at all.

Once cooled, it is time to honey.  That will be covered on another page.



6 thoughts on “Wine Cookies (Turdilli)

  1. My mom made these cookies with marcella wine. They are one of my favorites. This is a close receipt. When they cooled off she drizzled them with honey. Will try them with the marcella wine and let u know.

    • Any sweet wine works. There is a site in italian on line that has different turdiddi (or turdilli) ricetta based upon the region. Some even use sweet red vermouth! I have friends who lived in New York who used to a very sweet jewish wine. Experiment and find the wine that best suites your taste. This year I used homemade port wine (red not tawny). I was really pleased with the outcome.

  2. Why are they so small? Ours are about the size of an egg. And we roll them against the back of either a big prong fork, or the cardboard backing (the corrugated side) of the packaging that used to be wrapped around Listerine bottles. Kind of like shell macaroni, only much larger (also kind of like making gnocchi).

  3. Doug! We ran into your folks in Wal-mart today. Your dad told us about this site and how you are cooking up a storm! Anthony has been having us try to make wine cookies that taste like Aunt Angies. We have her recipe and some of the extra instructions…much like you have here. Anthony is not yet convinced that we have gotten it just right so we have been getting everyone’s input…including your mom’s today. Your instructions are the most complete of anyone’s. Every person and every recipe has just a bit of a different twist. We need to try yours…or better yet…Mary Jean suggests we just have you send us a batch! Happy New Year from everyone here. We will have fun checking out more of your site. Your dad says that you have my mom’s biscotti recipe. Haven’t checked everything on the site yet.

    Debbie Carnevale