Sunday, December 21, 2014

Swiss Schenkeli - Deep Fried Cookies

It's summertime in New Zealand and Christmas is just around the corner. So like most years I've headed back to my hometown to spend this time with my parents. And a visit with them would not be complete without stealing one of their recipes. Not only is my mum an awesome cook, but my dad is a pretty keen baker too. Though I think it's more because he's a pretty keen eater! So today's recipe is actually one from my dad's repertoire.

Schenkeli are a traditional Swiss treat. I'm not sure how I should describe them as calling them a cookie feels wrong as they are soft and cake-like in the middle, but not doughy like a doughnut. I guess they have the taste and texture of a deep-fried cake. With their hint of lemon they are very reminiscent of a lemon cake...just deep fried. They look pretty unassuming but be warned they are completely moreish. Traditionally they would not be made at Christmas, they are made for other festivals. However,  having come from Switzerland to NZ, traditions are bound to be merged or altered. It's all good.

My dad was kind enough to translate his recipe and let me document how he makes them. So here it is. Oh by the way Schenkeli translates to 'Little Thighs' (Swiss baking often has weird names, these being another weird one).



125 g butter, softened
250 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 lemon, grated zest only
500 g flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon. kirsch
2 tablespoons cream
Oil for deep-frying


Beat  butter until soft and creamy.
Add sugar, salt and eggs alternately and beat thoroughly.
Add the lemon zest.
Mix flour with the baking powder and then add to mixture along with kirsch and cream.
Mix and add more flour if needed. The dough should be relatively firm.
Wrap in foil and refrigerate for about 1-2 hours.
Divide the dough into portions, shape them into rolls with a diameter of 2 cm and cut them into pieces about 5 cm long. Roll the ends.

Deep fry in vegetable oil at 170 Celsius. Temperature control is important; if the oil is too hot, the inside will not be cooked; if the oil is too cool, a lot of oil will soak into the dough. So just test it out with your first batch. We find 7 minutes is ideal, but this will vary so just use your discretion. Just make sure to fry until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Makes approx 40.