Every year, my family makes Wandas, an Italian cookie that is mostly associated with Italian weddings, but has also evolved as our traditional Christmas cookie as well. Last week, there was a great article in the New York times about European cookie traditions following immigrants and showing up during family celebrations. The wanda (the Italian spelling is quanti) is one of those cookies that you'll find at weddings when the bride is of Calabrian decent. Calabria is a southern Italian province. Unfortunately, the article did not mention wandas, so I am dedicating this entire post to this simple treat. Here is a video of my family making wandas earlier today. Enjoy!
Here's the recipe and instructions. My mom (who is not Italian) learned these from Grandma Celsi (who died in 1990) and from observing and participating in countless wanda-making occasions over the years.
Cut off a small piece of dough about the size of a medium apple and knead it with a small amount of flour for a minute of so. Roll the ball with the palm of your hand to flatten it out and do this process over and over until the ball is soft and can easily form into a ball. Roll each ball gently on to a lightly floured surface and then place the dough ball in a large floured bowl. Use two bowls so that the balls of dough are on the bottom of the bowl and not in layers. Cover with a lid or plastic and refrigerate. (You can make the dough one day and then prepare wandas the next morning but you don't have to.)