Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mama Paciocco's (not so secret anymore) Genetti Cookie Recipe

Mrs. Paciocco lived across the street from my grandparents in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Her cooking was stuff of legend and she shared it with the entire neighborhood. Everyone, including my grandparents called her Mama. She contributed wholeheartedly to the raising of all the children, grandchildren and great grandkids within earshot.

This is her own family recipe that she brought with her from Calabria, Italy and passed on to my grandma who gave it to my mother who bequeathed it to me. Please note that proportions used in my demonstration are 1/4 the size of the original recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 cup of sugar (or 1/2 cup to double)
just under 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (or 3/4 cup)
3 eggs (or 6 eggs)
1/2 tablespoon of anisette flavoring (or 1 T)
1 3/4 cups of sifted white flour (or 3 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons of baking powder (or 6 T) - no, that's not a typo!
half a pinch of salt (or a full pinch to double)

Method
Beat sugar and oil for 2 minutes or so. Incorporate eggs one at a time with a whisk. Be thorough here - you want a light and bubbly yellow mixture when you are done. Add the anisette. Then add salt and dry ingredients mixing lightly. Traditionally you roll little snakes of dough in flour (its a sticky process) and roll the snakes into elaborate knots, but my lovely assistant does not like this process, so balls will do in a pinch for time. Bake on a lined sheet for 5 - 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I make a simple icing of butter, icing sugar, milk, a little bit of red food coloring and heavy on the anisette extract because I can't get enough of the taste.

Some cooks add candied lemon peel to the batter and crushed unsalted pistachios on top after icing. These little gems are meant to be prepared for family celebrations and served with spumoni gelato. Mmm.








19 comments:

  1. How do I contact you ? Your web page is apparently under construction. I read your "genetti story". My last name is Paciocco and I grew up in SSM.

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  2. Found this online this morning. Thank you....they are baking as I type!

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  3. I too am from Sault Ste marie,this is the recipe I have had for years came from my Aunt they are the best genetti's I have ever eaten.

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  4. Thank you! I'm not sure where hubby's Grandma's recipe is - they are from the Soo, MI!

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  5. I was looking for Mrs. Minnelli's recipe and found this. then I started to read your info and was flabbergasted that the recipe was from Mrs. Paciocco in SAULT STE. MARIE where I lived for 28 years. Mrs. Minnelli brought her genettis to a Christmas party for a hockey group. They were a softer cookie in a figure 8 flavoured with orange. I am hoping your recipe is close. The one I have is from the Chiarello family--my mother in law, and they are a harder cookie. Just made pizzelles--miss all the Italian goodies. Kathleen Blackburn

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  6. Tip: Try adding a couple drops of oil to your palms instead of flour when rolling into snakes and shaping into eights...much easier!

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  7. I am from Sault Ste Marie MI...I remember as a kid eating these on the steps of a small café on Ashmun St owned by Morelli's. Grown and married I was taught to make them in Soo Ontario with Mrs DiPasquale,(nee Esposito) This is what made me come looking for this recipe to find this...made my day...

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  8. Also from Sault Ste Marie....and recognize many of these names ..I live in southern ontario now!

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  9. Also from the Soo, living in BC, was looking up a recipe and found this- I lived down the street from the Paciacco's. I am looking for a recipe for "Peaches" if anyone can help me out. I had one that was great but lost it over the years with the moves.

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  10. Also from the Sault and learned how to make many of these italian pastries from my Nona, Erselia Marinelli, my Aunts Celia Rogers, Isabell Marinelli and my mother Dorothy Gabel. What a fun time we all had helping out around Christmas. Such happy memories and traditions that I try to maintain with my family once moving to southern ontario. Genetti's were one of my sons favorite

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  11. So here I am 100kms north of Sydney(AUS)bemoaning another 35 plus degree Christmas and get a hankering for some genettis like my Polish mama used to make. God knows she wouldn't have had very many Italian friends to have got the idea from, living in the Sault in the 70's. So yes yet another connection. Genetti's had a hard time making it to Christmas in our house with the five boys. So I will try it out with my eight year old and see what happens. Grazie Mamma Paciocco.
    Nick F.

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    1. Genetti I am sure are Italian in origin.I actually believe this name may be Soo specific as they are normally known as Anise cookies. Google it. I bet they were made by a woman named Genetti who was renowned for this cookie. The Soo is also the only place where we called pizelles tie plates....

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    2. Genetti I am sure are Italian in origin.I actually believe this name may be Soo specific as they are normally known as Anise cookies. Google it. I bet they were made by a woman named Genetti who was renowned for this cookie. The Soo is also the only place where we called pizelles tie plates....

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  12. Interesting as my last name is Paciocco and I grew up in the Soo. That was not my mother as she did not ever make genetti. I'd be curious to know what street that was. BTW all Pacioccos originally come from Abbruzzo from one village. I understand that there has been a lot of intermarriage but not any that I know of that immigrated in the 1950's andd 60's.

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  14. I will have to try this recipe as I was craving them - especially after visiting the Soo this past summer and having them at almost every relative I visited.

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  16. I wander if this Mrs. Paciocco was my mother Assunta Paciocco. She lived on Nixon Rd. in Sault Ste. Marie. She made Ginnetti`s for the neighbors.
    Ilda Paciocco

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  17. Well my last name is Bumbacco and my family imagrated from Reggio Di Calabria Italy to the Sault in 1909, I remember watching my Grandmother make this recipe every Christmas,as well as making tie plates and all kinds of the old country goodies especially the one where she would make the dough and roll it on a basket then deep fry it then put it in a crock pot full of honey. I sure miss those days where all the aunts and uncles would come over to Nanna and Nanos house the aunts would be upstairs doing the baking while the uncles were in the basement drinking wine and beer playing pool and smoking big cigars lol.

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