Something Actually Christmas-y

My mother used to make a really labor-intensive cookie at the holidays. They’re called by many names, “angel wings” is one. In our family, they were called “Crischicky,” so I’m guessing that’s the New Jersey Irish version of their name.

That’s not “my mother’s recipe” which I’ll share further down the page. Hers was from a grease stained paperback cookbook published in 1955, it doesn’t have the citrusy touches of the recipe above. Now my daughter wants to try that version, because my granddaughter totally inherited the cookie gene.

My mother grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, which back in her childhood (she was born in the ’20s) was a kind of melting pot as seen in the movies. She grew up on Irish food, Jewish food, and these damn addictive cookies we called Chris-chicky.

My mother was still cranking them out in the 80s and 90s when my kids were growing up, and my late husband adored them. So she’d double and triple her cookie production, until my father was groaning, because it was like a “fucking cookie sweatshop” before the holidays.

My kids are grown and the cookie boss is long gone, as are my father and husband. I was never inspired to open the fucking cookie sweatshop, until this year, when my daughter and I were probably both drinking and she suggested it. She swears it was my idea.

So, I found the ancient cookie recipe and we embarked on frying dough.

My father was right, it’s a cookie sweatshop. The Dancer took to it like a pro.

We decided that because at 10 years old, 5 ft. tall and about 90 lbs of dancing muscle, she’s exactly the size of her great-grandmother, she was perfectly suited to cutting and shaping these cookies.

How did a nice Irish Jersey Girl end up with a Hungarian cookie as her signature holiday cookie? We will never know.

The Dancer didn’t do the pointy diamond shape, so hers are square bows. The secret is to roll the dough really, really thin (her mom helped a bit with that). But otherwise, DAMN, she hit the texture just right – light as angels’ wings, addictive as heroin. Eastern European beignets? That’s as close as I can describe them.

After a good two hours of frying dough, the kid wants to do this again. God help us all. We smelled like cooking oil and I spent an hour cleaning up oil and flour and confectioners sugar after.

Of course we’ll do it again, maybe in a couple of months.

4 thoughts on “Something Actually Christmas-y”

  1. I’ve not seen a recipe like that, but they def look like beignets. I grew up in Louisiana, and I am drooling right now. Those look good enough to invest in a small electric deep fryer.

    1. They are beignet-adjacent. The flavor is very similar, but the labor of cutting those little bastards make beignets look easy. And yes, I was wishing for a deep fryer, it would have made the cooking easier. My daughter already has an efficient plan for “next time” – we will focus on rolling and cutting and create an assembly line for frying, then shift to frying, draining, sugaring. It was the first time we’d tackled these and rookie errors were made, but they were delicious anyway, and Delaney was very proud of mastering the shaping of the bows and the sugaring.

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun! I just looked for my Grandfather’s recipe for something that looked similar. He owned two bakeries in Denver and made something similar every Christmas. But I can’t find the recipe. If I ever find it I send it to you. I remember it because he baked his and didn’t fry them. Have a joyous Holiday Season, Bonne année!

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