Ally’s Ciambellini with Wine and Olive Oil

Ally’s delicious Ciambellini (photo by Alice D’Antoni Phillips)

It’s not only that I happen to love this particular cookie recipe (which I often make myself in a slightly different version including red wine and fennel seeds) –  Alice also picked the best possible time to contribute to Dinner In Venice! I’m taking a short family vacation and this guest post means: “YAY! More play time with the kids”. While Allie is not Italian herself, her trademark cuisine, showcased in her addictive blog Ally’s Kitchen,  is simple but sophisticated, a perfect balance of flavors – qualities that many identify with contemporary Italian taste.  Her dishes are eclectic and show many different cultural influences, but this time she is actually taking us on a virtual trip to Central Italy……


Italian roots run deep in my life—married first time around to a D’Antoni, I was very influenced in my culinary growth in early years by being in the family.  With three sons who could eat you out of house and home, some of their favorite dishes were all Italian inspired—pastas especially!

Ally's 1

Still having a close connection to this part of my life, recently Ben and I traveled to Italy and visited our D’Antoni family there staying in their gorgeous home in Poggio Mirteto where food is the heart of living and breathing.  Amid the stunning olive orchards, wine vineyards and listening to the gentle crowing of roosters in early morning, each day began with deliciousness!  The long table set for family and friends and prepared by the expert hands of Antonella, ‘breaking bread’ was more than food, it was layers of entertainment, hours of laughter and sharing, and all with even more family in a rustic warm setting of food, wine, good stories, and laughter!

ally's bread

One recipe that captured my heart was ‘Ciambellini di Magro’—Italian cookies crispy and subtly sweet with distinct hints of the rich olive oil and wine in them!  I couldn’t get enough.  Antonella, who spoke limited English, and I, who speak even less Italian, had no problems communicating in the kitchen—she shared with me the recipe writing it in Italian and ‘talking’ with her hands and gestures explaining how to execute.  We laughed as we both knew we were in a festive game of ‘charades’ talking recipes, food, and cooking!

ally's ciambellini

Here is Allie/Alice, working her magic into the dough!

I’ve made these cookies three times since returning—sharing them with friends who come sit in my kitchen, I retell the story of Antonella & Ally in the kitchen—and, sharing them on my website and Facebook proved to be one of my most popular recipe posts!

Ally’s Ciambellini with Wine and Olive Oil

Makes about 4 dozen


  • 4-5 cups self-rising flour (divided) (I’m also going to try them with all-purpose flour and rice flour.)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups sugar (divided)
  • 1 cup white wine (I used chardonnay.)


Yep, messy at first, but hang in there, it gets better! Preheat your oven to 350 F.

On a large clean surface (I used a large wooden cutting board.) put about 2 cups of flour and make a center well.

Add the olive oil then 1 ½ cups of sugar and the salt. With your fingers work the sugar into the oil. Then add about a cup of flour and start working in with your fingers.

Continue working in the flour that is surrounding the oil. Add another ½ to ¾ cups of flour.

Then slowly start working in wine, a little at a time. The dough batter will be gooey and messy—not to worry. Keep adding flour until you dough consistency that can be shaped into a ball.

Put about ½ cup sugar (or more) in a pie plate. This is for coating the cookies before putting on the partchment-paper lined cookie sheet. Cut off a bit of the dough ball at a time and begin rolling into snakes then shape into pinwheels, make knots, or make donut holes.

Place in the pie plate of sugar and coat well. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat process until all the dough is used.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven about 17-21 minutes or until the cookies are somewhat golden brown (not much). -

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  1. Alessandar, buona vacanza!

    Hi Ally, the ciambellini sound wonderful, a great take on a traditional Italian treat. I look forward trying your recipe.

    • Hi, Adri! Thank you!! I’m totally in love w/these luvvees! So great with coffee! They don’t last long sitting on my kitchen counter!! xo ~~ally

  2. Alessandra! Thank you so much for this wonderful sharing of my Italian family and the Ciambelli cookies! I’m going to have to try your version w/the red wine and fennel seeds! What fabulous flavors! This is really an honor to be here on your blog w/you and share…you’re a foodie goddess of the blogging world! xo ~~ally

  3. Wonderful story! These look so great!

  4. My kind of snack — cookie that’s not too sweet; perfect with coffee. Thanks!

    • You know, Ronnie! That’s why I love them so much…they’re not real sweet, a nice crunch, and fabulous w/coffee!! 🙂 ~~ally

  5. These look so good. Reminds me of cookies my mom used to make when I was young.

  6. This my kind of treat with coffee or tea, yum. So delicious

    • I agree, Vicky & Ruth! Wish I had some right now as I’m typing this out!! Heading to the kitchen to make more!! Thank you! 🙂 ~~ally

  7. I don’t like things that are super-sweet, so this would be perfect with my morning coffee or tea. This looks like it would be a ton of fun to make!

    • Hi, Sarah! I’m right w/you on that! And, these cookies hit the spot w/coffee or tea, plus b/c they’re not gooeeey sweet I feel justified in having more than one!!

  8. I love baking with olive oil and bake chocolate cakes with red wine but this is totally new to me – I love learning on your blog!

    • Hi, Jamie! Red wine in chocolate cakes sounds fabulous to me! I’m gonna have to give it a whirl, too! Love learning new things and getting cool ideas!! 🙂 ~~ally

  9. What a delight all these photos are….and these little cookies sound to die for ! Texas will be singing Italian songs…or, eye-talian songs in Tex-speak :0)

  10. The combination of olive oil and wine sound devine! These sound like a real treat.

  11. Would love to try these cookies, never tried baking with wine.

  12. These sound great! I love learning about all these italian pastries. I have never heard of baking cookies with wine before.

  13. These look exquisite! Thank you for sharing the recipe and it was so nice to see you here on one of my favorite blogs Ally.

  14. never had these, but i would love to try them! simple and delicious!

  15. Ally!!!! I love these! I’ve had cookies similar to these, but I bet yours are to die for. You rock in the kitchen. Welcome back girlfriend!!!

  16. So happy to find your recipe! I’m all Italian and the granddaughter of a professional baker but our family never made these cookies — we were more of a biscotti and love knot gang. I had never heard of ciambellini until I went to the 90-year old San Rocco festa in Aliquippa, PA last month. Almost everyone who emigrated from Patrica, Italy (Lazio region near Rome) settled in this same small town and even today there is still a strong sesnse of tradition among the residents and those who moved away and still come home to celebrate San Rocco. The famous composer Henry Mancini was also from Aliquippa and the San Roco band plays a tribute to him along with many other songs during the 3-day festa. Ciambellini is a key dessert sold there and as soon as I had one, I knew I had to make them. It was hard to track down a recipe, especially one that didn’t use the old italian measurements like “a glass of wine”. Thank you so much for sharing! My friends who went to the festa with me can’t wait for more ciambellini!


  1. […] She’s an Italian food writer and lecturer who’s published in newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Forward, Hadassah, Joy of Kosher, The Jewish Week, and a variety of international publications from Russia, to Italy to Australia.  And, I’m spending time in her glorious Italian kitchen!  Come meet my wonderful foodie friend, Alessandra, as we share Ciambellini and Italy and eating! Read more~~ […]

  2. […] Ciambellini from guest blogger Ally – Dinner in Venice […]

  3. […] Enjoy Dinner in Venice with Alessandra’s mouth-watering Ciambellini with Wine and Olive Oil Get the recipe here. […]

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