Papassini are traditional Sardinian cookies made for All Saints’ Day or Ognisanti (Halloween time).
But there is no big holiday that goes by without them.
The size of the list of the ingredients might seem as it was re-written from the manuscript 🙂
But in reality, they’re really simple and easy to make.
The dough is kneaded all by hand and you only need a food processor for chopping nuts, which in fact can also be done by hand.
Classic recipe from the Sardinian Cookbook doesn’t call for dry figs or dates but this is how my nonna-in-law (not sure if such term exists LOL) tought to make them.
Plus she uses half whole wheat flour, half all purpose flour. You can use just all purpose flour, but I find it really adds so much flavor when you use a part of whole wheat instead.
Oranges and lemons, as always I highly recommend you get nice quality, non-treated organic citrus fruit. So much more flavor and nutrition.
As for the raisins, you can choose any type you like, but sultana raisins is what goes in the traditional recipe.
By the way, the name of these cookies derives from word “papassa” which means in Sardinian language “uva sultanina” or sultana raisins.
Papassini - Sardinian Anise Cookies
For the dough:
- 2 cups (12 oz) all purpose flour
- 2 cups (12 oz) whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 oz walnuts chopped
- 4 oz almonds chopped
- 3 tbsp ground star anise
- 3-4 tbsp anise seeds
- 3-4 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 oz dates diced (optional)
- 1 oz dried figs diced (optional)
- 4 oz raisins
- 1 lemon zest only
- 1 orange zest only
- 4 oz butter
- 5 eggs
For the glaze:
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- Color Sprinkles
Prepare the dough:
- Put raisins to soak in a warm water for 15-30 minutes. Drain,
- In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients (both flours, sugar, baking powder, chopped walnuts and almonds, ground star anise, aniseeds, fennel seeds, diced dated and figs, organic non-treated orange and lemon zest).
- Add eggs, softened butter, mix well with hands until crumbly dough.
Knead until the dough comes together and all ingredients spread evenly.If the dough is still too dry add a tbsp on milk or water.
- If the dough feels too sticky add some more flour.
- Cover the dough with a linen towel and let rest for 30 minutes or so.
Shape and bake cookies:
- You can shape these cookies in 2 ways:
- Cut off a piece of the dough and roll it into a thick approx. ½ inch in diameter rope. Dust with flour when needed.
- Press it with fingers giving it a flat form. Cut across the first diagonal, proceed with diagonal cuts forming diamond shapes. Place on a baking sheet leaving some space between the cookies. Cut off another piece of the dough and repeat the process.
- Cut off a lager piece of the dough, dust lightly with flour and roll it out to approx. ¼ of an inch thick. Cut cookies into diamond shape by first, cutting lengthwise strips approx 1 ½ - 2 inch, then making diagonal cuts to make diamonds.
- Bake in a preheated to 375F oven for 15-20 minutes. Time in the oven depends on the size of the cookies. They should be lightly brown, not too dark.
Prepare the glaze:
- While cookies bake in the oven prepare the glaze.
- Beat egg white with a pinch of salt and lemon juice. Once it’s foamy fold in confectioners sugar until you get a thick but still runny texture. Add a tsp of water if the glaze is too thick.
- Once cookies are baked brush them with the glaze using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with multi-color sprinkles.
Now prepare a hot cup of herbal tea and enjoy!!
Package them in a nice box and ship as a Holiday treat 🙂