Russian Twig Cookies (Khvorost)

When these wintertime treats are sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, they resemble small branches covered with snow—especially when they're loosely heaped in a pile. Khvorost recipes typically call for rum or vodka, but we like the flavor of brandy instead.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp. brandy
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


Step 1

Sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside. Put eggs and granulated sugar into a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add butter and half the flour mixture and beat until just combined, then add remaining flour mixture and beat until dough begins to come together. Add brandy and continue beating until dough forms completely. Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Step 2

Let the covered dough come almost to room temperature. Line 1 sheet pan with parchment paper and another pan with paper towels; set both aside. Cut dough in half and rewrap 1 of the pieces in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Roll uncovered dough out on a lightly fl oured surface to an 8"x 12" rectangle about ⅛" thick. Cut dough into ¾" x 2½" strips. Cut a 1" vertical slit down center of each strip. Twist 1 end of each strip and thread it through the slit, forming a loose loop. Set shaped dough strips on the parchment paper–lined pan as formed. Repeat process with remaining dough.

Step 3

Pour oil into a heavy medium pot to a depth of 3" and heat over medium heat until temperature registers 375° on a candy thermometer. Working in batches, fry cookies, turning them over halfway through cooking time, until pale golden brown on each side, about 1 minute per side. Transfer cookies with a slotted spoon to the paper towel–lined pan to let drain and cool completely. Serve cookies on a serving plate liberally dusted with confectioners' sugar.

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