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Bow Tie Kichel

March 22, 2021
Photo: Justin CovingtonPhoto: Justin Covington

At 95, baker Ben Moskowitz—owner of the Star Bakery, in Oak Park, Michigan—has been retired for several years. But he still goes into the bakery, where his daughter Esther carries on the tradition with great honey cake, corn rye, and the best kichel, meaning “cookie,” I have ever tasted.

Sometimes kichel describes any old cookie or cracker that is a little sweet, like the rectangular Lithuanian version, which is both salty and sweet, and often served with herring. But Moskowitz’s bow tie kichel is different. It is light, crisp, sweet, and crunchy.

Featured in: A Perfect Bow Tie of a Cookie

Recipe by: Ben Moskowitz

Ingredients

  • 5large eggs
  • ½teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 1teaspoon sugar, plus 1 cup for rolling
  • 2 ⅓cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1teaspoon salt
Yield: about 70 kichel

Preparation

  • Step 1

    Put the eggs, vanilla, oil, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend on low speed until incorporated; then beat on high for 5 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Remove the paddle and scrape the batter down the sides of the bowl. Rest the dough in the bowl, covered, until soft and spongy outside, about 1 hour. Then remove it from the bowl—it will be sticky—and make a ball out of it, flouring your hands first and working the dough lightly and quickly with a little flour so it is not terribly sticky.

  • Step 3

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  • Step 4

    Sprinkle a work surface with 1/2 cup of the sugar, about 1/8 inch deep. Put the ball of dough in the center, flatten it slightly with a rolling pin, sprinkling the dough and the rolling pin liberally with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch; a rectangle about 18 x 12 inches. Then, using a pastry cutter or dull knife, cut the dough into strips 3/4 inch wide and 2 inches long. Lift each strip, twist in the middle to make a bow tie, and place on the cookie sheets, leaving 1/2 inch around each strip.

  • Step 5

    Bake the kichel for 25-30 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, until the edges are golden brown and the texture is crunchy.

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