Italian Bow Tie Cookie Recipe

A magical cookie that only comes out at Christmas time

Prep time: 1 hr. +
Cook time: Frying time between 1 – 2 minutes per batch
Deep fryer temp: 350 Degrees F

Italian Bow Tie Cookies Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbs. rum (I recommend Bacardi 151 Rum or Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum)
  • 1 tbs. of confectioners’ sugar for the pasta
  • 3/4 cup or so of confectioners’ sugar (For sprinkling on the top of the cookies after cooking)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Deep fryer (I recommend using an electric skillet like this one here, instead of a deep fryer or something like a Fry Daddy. You want something that is shallow and wide and with a thermometer so you can control the temperature of the oil.)
  • Pasta machine (I recommend a manual pasta machine like this one here.)

Note: I had some help from this wonderful old Italian cookbook to get the ingredients correct: The Cooking of Italy (Foods of The World Series Time Life – 1968 Original version). I have a review of this cookbook here.

See below for VERY detailed recipe instructions

Italian bowtie cookies

Quick note: This is a wonderful Italian cookie that would always used show up during Christmas, weddings and funerals when I was a kid. These were a magical cookies because they only showed up once or twice a year at best! This was also called Fried Italian Bow Tie Cookies, Italian Knot Cookies, Fried Pasta Bow Tie Cookies, and last but not least, Angel Wings! The Italian name is “Cenci alla Fiorentina”. These Italian cookies are a deep fried sweet pastry, well, a sweet pasta really. Pasta with powdered sugar and rum… YUM! These are also a Polish cookie. The Polish name is Chrusciki or CHRUSCHICI, spelled several different ways actually. Also called Polish Bow Tie Cookies. I am curious as to which country started making these delicious cookies first. I have to investigate this. If any of you readers know, please drop me a note. I would like to add some history about this fried sweet pasta Bow Tie Cookie on the site.


This really is a pretty simple recipe. It’s really just sweet pasta that you fry then sprinkle with powdered sugar. But very delicious!!!

Place 1-3/4 cups of flour into a bowl.
Make a well in the center of the flour, eggs, egg yolks, rum, confectioners’ sugar and salt as per ingredients listed above. Mix well at first with a fork and then continue to mix with your hands until all the flour is combined with the liquids. Mix until you are able to make a nice dough ball.

Now add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour onto a large chopping board. That is what I like to use for kneading dough.

Knead the dough mixing in the flour you just added. Knead the dough for a good 10 minutes or so until you get a nice elastic consistency. Use the standard kneading of fold, push, turn… fold, push, turn… Etc…

Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After the pasta dough has rested for 30 minutes, it’s time to work with the pasta machine. Cut the dough ball into fourths. Work with a quarter of the dough ball at a time.

First you will roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Cut the pasta into 3″ wide strips of dough to go through the pasta machine. Don’t make your strips too wide because you don’t want your pasta touching the sides of the pasta machine when you are running the pasta through the rollers. Set your pasta machine to the number 3 setting, run your pasta through slowly. No need to rush this. Then run it through again on the number 2 setting. This should give you an almost paper thin strip of pasta dough.

At this point you should pour vegetable oil into your fryer until you have about 2 – 4 inches of oil in the fryer. Heat the oil up to 350 degrees F. Make sure you wait until the oil is heated up to set temperature. This will take a little time for the oil to heat up to 350 degrees F. OK, now back to making more bow ties! 🙂

Cut the paper thin strips of dough into strips that are approximately 7″ long and 1/2″ wide. Tie them into a loose knot and set them aside. You have to be very careful when you are trying to tie this thin dough into knots. It’s fragile. Take a look at the step by step recipe photos to see how I do this. You don’t have to have knots. You really can have any shape you want. Make little puppy dogs if you can. Any shape will do, but the knot is the traditional shape. Try to tie a bunch before you start frying them.

After the oil has been heated up and you have a good amount of bowties ready to go, it’s time to start frying them up. Carefully place the bow ties into the hot oil with a spoon. Let them cook for about 1 or 2 minutes or until they are golden brown. Don’t let them cook too long or they will taste oily or greasy. They will float to the top pretty quickly. Flip them over a couple of times during the frying and then take them out and place them on a paper towel to drain. I use paper plates with paper towels on top and place the fried bowtie cookies on top of the paper towels to drain. As the bow tie cookies are draining sprinkle on some powdered sugar. It’s important to sprinkle the powdered sugar on shortly after you drain them because you want the powdered sugar to stick to the cookie.

You will work your way through frying all the cookies at the same time your are making more pasta bowties. It’s very helpful to have a few people doing this at the same time. Get the whole family involved with making the bow ties. It’s great fun! I guarantee you will be eating many of the Italian Bowtie cooking before you’re done cooking them!

I like to get a large serving platter and a layer, add powdered sugar, add another layer and more sugar and more bowties and more sugar until you have a nice mound of wonderful Fried Italian Bowtie cookies piled high for all to enjoy!

That’s it! You’re done….. Easy as Pie!


Italian Bowtie Cookie Recipe Photo Gallery

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24 thoughts on “Italian Bow Tie Cookie Recipe”

  1. remember these from when my own italian grandmother use to make them for special occ. would make so many and put them into buscel baskets lined with a clean sheet or two, do they still make buscell baskets anymore? haven’t seen one in so many years???.GABBIGAIL


  2. remember as a kid, my italian grandmothers would make these cookies for very special occ. and they were soooo good, here it is the middle of the night and i woke up thinking about them soooo good. will try making them in the morning CHRISTMAS EVE to bring to my sisters later that day=wish me well!! BAUN NATALE!! GABBI


    1. yay! These are so amazing. I like the best with honey poured on them and the powdered sugar sprinkled on top of that. Yummy stuff and yes, lots of memories tied in with them. Merry Christmas!


  3. We have made these cookies as long as I can remember. There are a couple of differences in our recipe. 6 egg yolks, 2 c flour, 1 t baking powder and 1 jigger of whiskey. The sweetness comes from the confectioners sugar added at the end. I make them early Dec and still have them after Christmas. I put them in a tall kitchen trash bag and store them in the coldest room in the house.


    1. Awesome, sounds delish!!! Jigger of whiskey sound good. Would a jigger = (1) shot? May have to give this a try! Merry Christmas cookie madness season you you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We make these every year, although our recipe is a bit different from yours. The biggest difference is that we use Almond extract (you could use Amaretto) instead of rum. First, we beat the egg yolks first until fluffy, then add the rest of the ingredients. I don’t have a pasta press so we roll them by hand and cut rectangles, make a slit in the center, and fold them into the bows (up and through for right side, down and through for left side) and then fry them. Then we make a layer of cookies on the platter, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then add another layer and repeat – usually three layers on a platter. Then cover loosely with cling-wrap – I like them to be a little chewy so I don’t roll the dough as thin as my mom did, and we store so air can get to them and they stay perfect! Our batch is probably quadruple the size of yours, as I know I start with 12 egg yolks and 4 whole eggs… so in the end I have two large platters (one to get us to Christmas, one to get us to New Year’s). These are my absolute favorite EVER!!!


    1. Wonderful! 12 eggs? Yeah, that a nice size batch! This is one amazing cookie with Christmas magical qualities! 🙂 Going to try the almond extract next time I make these. The last time I made them they were not as sweet as I would like them to be. Maybe is the honey I am missing. Need to add the honey. A comment below, a visitor mentioned adding honey and cinnamon. That sounds wonderful as well 🙂 YUM! Getting hungry talking about this. Yay Christmas!


  5. Thanks for the reply, but too late I asked that question in Feb! Glad to hear u can store them for a week!


  6. I store them for just over a week in tin cookie cans in a cool place and they stay crisp and fresh. Have been making them for over 40 years.


      1. Yes, if you are going to try and save some (which we have never been able to do, they all get eaten fast) I would definitely store them without honey.


  7. My mom made these for my daughter’s wedding. She froze them in a cardboard box wrapped in newspaper. Dusted them with sugar the day before the wedding!


  8. Thanks for reply! I bake Italian cookies, but I never made bow ties and all the Italian family are up north so I wanted to make for daughters wedding-might have to pass because would be too busy few days before! Thanks again for respond so quickly I love your site! Keep up the great job!
    P.S. I was named Cookie when I was 2 by my Aunt Rose who said I loved her Italian cookies!


  9. Want to make for a wedding how far in advance can I make them and how should I store them? Would really appreciate your advice!


    1. Hi Cookie, Well that is a very good question. We have never had these around long enough to even think about storing them. They are usually around for 1 or day days then GONE! People eat them like chips! They disappear fast! So i’m actually not sure how to properly store these or how long they would keep. I have only had them fresh. Usually gone day of making. i have seen this advice on baking sites: “Place soft cookies in a tightly covered airtight container and place crisp cookies (which these are) in a loosely covered container.”. if you store in a tight container they will get soft. * Also, I should note: I just noticed I don’t have this in the recipe. When you serve these amazing cookies on a platter, you should have some honey on the side for people who may like the cookies a bit sweeter. Drizzle a little honey of the powder sugar… YUM!


      1. My mother made these for Christmas every year. Should would put them in a large box lined with wax paper for the holiday season – beginning of December through New Year. Would drizzle them with warm honey and cinnamon sugar before serving.


        1. I have drizzled the honey but never have added the cinnamon sugar. That sounds wonderful. Going to try it! Thanks for the tip.


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