Italian Fried Bow Ties (Farfellette) Cookies

Friday, November 6, 2020
I love these delicate fried bow tie dough ribbons that show up on the table every Christmas.

These are so addicting you can't stop eating them.

The crispy fried puffs of dough are delicate and quite fragile with this delicious snowy sugar on top.

Grandma and mom spent hours rolling, cutting, and frying these to give away to family and friends around the holidays.

My Aunt Mary (grandma's daughter) also helped her own sister-in-law who actually sold these in Schenectady, N.Y., so we had an authentic recipe.

We called them wands in Utica, New York, or bow ties, Guanti, farfellette, and sometimes cenci (rags)

These fried cookies are really easy to make and a must-try if you remember them in your family as a child growing up.

They happen to be my favorite little fried flaky cookies full of powdery sugar on top and very addicting.

Honestly, there is nothing to it.

These bow ties are at the top of my list for Italian holiday cookies, like my other fried favorites including Struffoli (fried honey-covered balls), Italian Fried Panzerotti (fried stuffed pizza dough), and fried dough (zeppole).

Scroll down and check out the easy photos, and instructions.

These are Italian fried cookies called bow ties

Farellette Italian Nicknames

There are so many American Italian names I've heard these fried cookies referred to.

In Jersey, wandi (gloves) in Rhode Island, and my relatives in San Francisco called them bugia (liar’s knot).

Some in other areas on the globe in America called them angel wings.

It always amazed me how many nicknames Italians had for food here in America.

My search for Farfatelle history revealed an old, Catholic tradition called St. Joseph's Table and St. Joseph's Day was in March, not in December.

I was surprised that here in America, how many made these for the Christmas holiday instead.

This is a fried thin cookie with powdered sugar on top and a black coffee called espresso in the cup on a white Dollie

Crunchy Delicious Fried Bites

Bow ties shatter with each bite, a light as airy perfect for an after-dinner treat anytime cookie treat.

I have seen them doused with honey or cinnamon sugar, but that wasn't our traditional fried bow tie for our Regions recipe.

Honestly, they're made differently by all Regions in Italian, I even added orange and lemon which is a version, from Veneto, delicious but very different!

This is a fried thin cookie with powdered sugar on top on a white dollie


  • Do not over-flour the dough
  • Roll thin for best results
  • Tie the dough in knot form for angel wings or fold them into bow ties, (I have done these both ways)
  • Keep a damp towel over the dough so it won't dry out
  • You can substitute any kind of flavored brandy for wine
  • Cool completely before adding the powdered sugar
  • Seal in an airtight container for storing
  • recipe makes 40 can be cut in half

this is dough rolled out with a pastry cutter cut into strips

Ingredients You Will Need for Italian Fried Bow Ties

  • eggs
  • butter or oil
  • baking powder
  • vanilla
  • white wine or brandy
  • flour
  • oil for frying
  • powdered sugar

this is the dough in a silver metal bowl

Tools you will need for Farfellette Cookies

  • Sharp knife or pastry cutter
  • rolling pin
  • cutting board
  • frying pan
  • paper towels
  • tray

Pin for later Italian Fried Bow Ties

this a is a recipe for fried cookies and Italian wand or bow tie pin for later

Here are more of our favorite cookie recipes:

Cucidati Fig Sicilian Cookies

24 One-Stop Cookie Shop

Fried Bow Tie Cookies

25 Holiday Cookies

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Italian Fried Bow Ties Farfellete
Italian Bow Tie Cookies cookie made into bows and deep fried with powdered sugar

Italian fried bows, ribbons (FARFELLETTE)

Yield: 40 with recipe cut in half
prep time: 35 Mcook time: 4 Mtotal time: 39 M
These are fried Italian cookies sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are light and airy and addicting. You can't stop at one. Perfect around the holiday table as they look like a blanket of snow over the top. Grandma, mom, and all my Italian Aunts made these every year around Christmas time.


  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup white wine or brandy
  • 6 cups flour


How to cook Italian fried bows, ribbons (FARFELLETTE)

  1. Beat all wet ingredients, eggs, butter, wine, and vanilla in a bowl until creamy. 
  2. Add flour, baking powder until dough is the right consistency to roll out. 
  3. Roll out on floured board, as thin as possible., try not to over flour the board as they will get dry and tougher, (just lightly floured).
  4. Cut into a strip using a pastry cutter and tie in bows or twist like a ribbon, (a cutter with fluted edges works well and looks prettier)
  5. Fry in around 3 inches of oil or deep fryer on medium heat, until golden brown, drain on a dish lined with paper towels. 
  6. These should be light and golden not dark and they also float to the top, they take around 1 or 2 minutes on each side.
  7. Cool sprinkle with powdered sugar
Fat (grams)
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wands, bow ties, ribbons, fried cookies, Italian fried cookies, deep fried bow tie cookies, holiday fried cookies, how to make bow tie cookies
Italian, pastry, fried cookies, fried dough,Authentic cookies, Italian cookie dough
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pin for later Italian Fried Bow Ties

these are bow ties cookies that are fried pin for later

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2020.



  2. I use canola, my mother only used vegetable oil, either is fine. I cant tell the difference.

  3. These are like what my grandmom made, only hers were dipped in boiled honey. Is there a different recipe? She also would make like a little bracelets with this special wooden dowel and textured mat.

  4. Lucy, yes these are the same. She would make these into small ropes cut them and add them to boiling honey, its the same dough recipe as struffoli.

  5. These are yummy, I have had them before. Did you make enough for me?

  6. When do I put in the White wine and the vanilla?

  7. "Anonymous" the recipe states to beat the ENTIRE WET ingredients, including the white wine & vanilla in the beginning ;)
    Just read it again & you'll see ;)

    I can't wait to make these - having grown up next to 3 Italian families, who made these every Christmas, I miss them
    Thanks for the recipe & Happy New Year!!!

  8. "Anonymous" the recipe states to add the ENTIRE WET ingredients, including the white wine & vanilla in the beginning ;)
    Just read it again & you'll see ;)

    I can't wait to make these - having grown up next to 3 Italian families, who made these every Christmas, I miss them.

    Thanks for the recipe & Happy New Year!!!

  9. @Wild Rose thank you for the explanation appreciate it~ :) hope you like the recipe we love them... make these every year... its a Schenectady NY recipe.... :)

  10. Can I make these without using the wine? Are these crisp like a wafer or soft like a cookie? My grandmother made a crisp treat, not sure if this is the one, but it all looks delicious!

  11. @anonymous : Yes you can use orange juice... that's the only other substitution I have tried. Hope that helps

  12. weird.. I was looking for a recipe similar to my Grandma Mary's for wands and found your blog.. and saw that you had an Aunt Mary from Schnectady! Mine lived a half hour away from there, but creepy coincidence on the name/location ;)

    I will be trying these, thanks!

  13. This is such a delicious crunchy Italian recipe! I am making this tomorrow and I know everyone will love it :)

  14. Yum! This looks so delicious and tasty! My family is going to love this recipe!

  15. I'm always willing to try recipes that are different from my culture. Bookmarked to try over the holidays!

  16. These look so fun! Perfect for making with kids...thanks for sharing! :)

  17. How cute are these! I might try to make them on Christmas Eve.

  18. Replies
    1. I have done that once and they will thaw soft not crispy I didn't like them to me soft is like putting Oreos in the cookie jar with other cookies and they become soft and they aren't crispy anymore. Hope that helps

  19. How do I store these? For use two days after I make them. Thanks!

    1. My mom would like a large rectangular tin and line it with parchment paper she didnt like the taste wax paper gave off hope that help Sealed tins are the way to go. In the 1960s she save and clean metal cans with lids, also.

  20. Do you leave on the counter or refrigerate for a few days after making them. I found placing the honey on them hot the turn out hard

    1. How can 12 eggs and 6 cups of flour only makes 40

  21. Yes I always cut the recipe in half to make 40 it's a big recipe for two people I will update it

  22. My husband has been trying to get me to make these for years! His family has a strange name for them, iguans(e-wans) and now that I have stumbled across your recipe. I figured out this is it! Thank you for helping me restore a favorite childhood memory for him. Merry Christmas

  23. I just heard someone on TV reference this cookie but they take a pear and soak it in the wine overnight. They don't use the pear in the final recipe, it seems to just give the wine a little bit of the pear flavor.


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