Tiliccas | Sugar-Free Sardinian Cookies
Updated: Nov 14
This unusual, Sardinian cookies have a very unique flavor given by the "saba" syrup, or cooked grape must. This syrup is naturally sweet, so the cookies have no added sugar whatsoever. Saba is available online, but if you can't find it you can use diluted honey (see below).
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
Makes 15-20 cookies, depending on the size you choose to make.
To make the stuffing, you will need:
3/4 cup (100g) peeled almonds
1 tsp. orange zest
1 cup (240ml) saba syrup (or 250g honey and 50ml water), plus extra for topping
3 tbsp. semolina flour
Pumpkin pie spice
To make the dough, you will need:
1 cup (125g) semolina flour
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
5 tbsp (60g) lard
1/4 cup (50ml) water
A ravioli cutter (a sharp knife will work but the result won’t be as pretty)
In a blender or food processor, blend the almonds and orange zest into a coarse powder.
Pour the saba into a saucepan over low heat. When it just begins to simmer, stir in the semolina flour one spoonful at a time. Next, mix in the almond powder and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice. Keep stirring the mixture over low heat until it reduces into a very thick paste. Transfer the stuffing into a bowl and let it cool completely while you prepare the dough.
In a mixing bowl, start to knead the flours and lard together. Gradually mix in the water. When a rough dough has formed, transfer it to a clean work surface and knead until it is smooth and even. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (160 C).
Roll the dough thin on a lightly floured surface. Dust the dough with flour while you work if it sticks. Use a ravioli cutter to cut the sheet of dough into rectangular strips about 1.5 inches in width. The strips can be as long as you like but we recommend making them at least 4.5 inches long.
Scoop a small handful of the stuffing and roll it under hand into a long snake, about finger-width. Dust the stuffing with flour if necessary, as you roll it. Cut the snake into lengths that are just slightly shorter than the dough strips. Place the former centered on top of the latter. Wet your finger and dab the ends of the dough strips so they are damp, then roll the dough around the stuffing and pinch the damp ends closed (see pictures for clarity).
You can now bend these rolls into horseshoe shapes, or twist them around into “S” shapes. Get creative! Arrange the assembled cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes or until they become firm. The dough should remain white, it shouldn’t brown. If you want to add sprinkles, carefully brush the exposed stuffing of the hot cookies with saba syrup and top with the sprinkles.
Let the cookies cool before serving. Buon appetito!