I saved the best for last you guys.
I know, they don’t really look or sound as Christmas-y as all the other cookies. However, I grew up eating these every single Christmas for the 23 years I have been on this planet.
So, I deem them fit for Christmas. I also deem them straight from Grandma’s kitchen. Selling point!
Sugar twists really aren’t a traditional cookie at all. In fact, they aren’t a cookie at all. They’re better. Much, much better. Like go-to-the-store-right-now-just-kidding-you-probably-have-all-the-ingredients-already-so-make-them-RIGHT-NOW kind of better. Like flaky-and-buttery-on-the-inside-and-sweet-and-caramelized-and-crunchy-on-the-outside kind of better.
You’ll forgive me for hurting your brain with two ridiculously long hyphenated sentences once you make these. And, if you don’t, at least you have sugar twists. I’m a big girl, I’ll get over it. Maybe.
Really though, making these for you guys is like making you a little piece of my <3. Isn’t that cute? I really did grow up eating these every Christmas and, since we just moved to Florida, this would have been the first year that I did not have them. Since these are my absolute favorite treats in the whole entire galaxy (other than cheesecake) I needed to make them happen.
Confession: It took me 4 tries to make these properly for you guys. For the first 3 batches my brain decided to do that thing that I hate when it does…and just not work. So, I was trying to make pastry with warm butter. Have you guys done that? Don’t.
The first batch of twists were not twists, they were…balls of dough. The second batch was also not a twist, just a flat stick of dough. The third batch was kind of twisty, but they just spread all over my pan and burned. Considering the recipe makes 50 something twists….I am not lying when I say that there is mountains of failed sugar twists in my freezer. I bet there are little Eskimos up in thur building a whole town of sugar twist igloos.
Where that came from, I will never know. Let’s move on.
Once I got it though, I realized these were about 4 kazillion times easier than I thought. I almost did throw in the towel and just give up…but, you guys need these in your life so, I didn’t. Just for you. They do require a leeeetle bit of time and effort, but I am guaranteeing you that they are worth it. You should know this just because I actually put effort into food. Ya’ll know my stance on easy recipes with short ingredient lists. (<3 )
Due to the whole folding the dough into 9 layers of sugary love, the inside of these twist-er-oos bake up so light and super flaky. Think of the greatest pie crust you have ever eaten, and then times it by 4 million. Possibly a slight exaggeration (not that I do that a lot right?) but, you get the picture. Then the sugar that is between those 9 layers of love gets all melty during the baking process and hardens once you take them out ‘o the oven. Caramelization city over here guys.
Soft and flaky? Check. Crunchy and sweet? Double check. A texture party for your taste buds? I’m doing a straight up check off dance here guys.
Please do not imagine that.
And I’ll tell you that these are good with coffee, good at breakfast, they make a great snack, they go great in your lunch box, or as a side dish to your chicken dinner AND they taste great before bed.
Not that I speak from experience or anything.
Did I mentioned they are only 50 calories? Win.
50 Calorie Sugar Twists
- 1 Cup Whole wheat pastry flour measured correctly *
- 3/4 Cup All purpose flour
- 1/2 Cup Cold butter cut into cubes.
- 1/2 A whole egg lightly beaten **
- 1 Egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Non fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp Warm water
- 1/2 tsp Granulated sugar
- 1/2 Package yeast not the rapid rise!
- 1 Cup Granulated sugar for rolling divided
- In a small bowl, dissolve 1/2 tsp of sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle with the yeast and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, rub the cold butter into the flour with your hands until the mixture resembles small peas, like you were making a pie crust.
- Make a well in the center of the mixture and add in 1/2 of a lightly beaten egg, 1 egg yolk, salt, Greek yogurt and the yeast/sugar mixture.
- Use your hands to blend it all together just enough to moisten all the flour. DO NOT KNEAD.
- Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, preferably over night. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator for several days,
- Once the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Separate the dough in half, leaving half in the refrigerator, and place the other half on a counter that has been well sprinkled with some of the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.
- Sprinkle some sugar over the top of the dough and roll to a rectangle about 12x7 inches. You will want to work quickly, as the dough gets sticky very fast. If you find that it begins to stick to the counter or rolling pin, add more sugar.
- Fold the rectangle in thirds, each end over the middle. This will leave you with 3 layers. Sprinkle the top with sugar
- Repeat the rolling and folding process two more times, all while adding more sugar to the counter and dough, so you end up with 9 layers.
- Once you have rolled your rectangle for the last time and have a 12x7 inch rectangle, with 9 layers, cut 1/4 inch wide strips with a very sharp knife along the width of the dough.
- To make each strip into a twist, carefully peel it from the counter and bring the ends of each strip together, twisting to form the figure 8 shape.
- Tuck the ends of each twist under neatly and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining half of the dough and 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until just lightly browned. ***
Recipe Notes* The correct way to measure flour is to lightly spoon it into the measure cup, while just slightly shaking the measuring cup back and forth to disperse the flour, until the cup is overflowing slightly. Then, take the straight edge of a fork and run it along the top of the cup to make it level. This will ensure you have never packed too much flour into the cup, leaving you with dry baked goods!
** Just beat the egg and eyeball half of it, it doesn't need to be exact.
*** I recommend baking these trays 1 at a time, right as you finish them. This way they will not sit out and get warm, which causes them to just run everywhere in the oven. Alternatively, you can keep finished trays in the refrigerator until they are all ready to bake.
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