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Breasts of St. Agatha

-----Original Message----- 
From: Kathy 
Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2011 11:30 PM
Subject: Minne Di Sant'Agata

Hello! I was wondering if anyone at Uncle Phaedrus has or knows where to 
find an authentic recipe for the Sicilian little sweets translated as the 
Breasts of Saint Agatha.


Hi Kathy,

The Feast of St. Agatha, the patron saint of Catania, is celebrated on February 5th. St. Agatha died in 252 AD at the age of 15. During the era of Christian persecution by the Romans, she was arrested by a Roman official and charged with being a Christian, but was offered her release in return for having sex with the official. Agatha refused and was imprisoned in a brothel, but refused to submit there also. The Roman official ordered that her breasts be cut off and then that she be killed. In commemoration of the unshakeable faith that gave Agatha the strength to bear such torture, a breast-shaped pastry known as Minni di Sant'Agata (Breasts of St Agatha) or Minni di Virgini (Breasts of Virgins), was created and is baked on her feast day.
There are photos of the pastry here:
Minni di Virgini.

There are recipes in Italian here:
Universo Cucina
Ricettes Siciliane

There is a recipe from Sicily in English here:
Sons of Sicily

There are other recipes here:
Hi Cookery
Med Advocates


Chocolate Center Cookie Balls

From: Lucinda 
Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 6:46 PM
Subject: shortbread-ish balls?

Hi Uncle Phaedrus, 
I have searched for years, and so am not sure it can be found, but I am looking 
for a recipe made by myself and my friend over 25 years ago.  Circa 1977, we made 
these cookie balls from a recipe that I would bet came from an old Betty Crocker 
or Pillsbury book, etc. and was likely from the 50's or 60's.  I don't remember 
that shortbread was in the name of the cookie (don't remember that is wasn't either, 
though), but the cookies were made with a simple dough that I remember as shortbread-like.  
The cookies were made by taking a few chocolate chips and forming a ball of the dough 
around them.  The dough ball top was dipped into a dish of those little round candy 
sprinkles, multi-colored (I don't know the exact name, but you can find them anywhere).  

I have looked and looked over the years, but to no avail.  

Thanks for anything you can do!  


Hi Lucinda,

I had no success locating your exact recipe. All of the “ball cookies” or “cookie balls” recipes that I found except one had nuts or coconut or peanut butter, and when they had chocolate, it was on the outside, not in the center. Many were refrigerator cookies and had no dough at all. Some were made with cookie crumbs, such as vanilla wafer crumbs or oreo cookie crumbs.

This one is closer to your description. It uses a butter cookie dough and a Hershey’s Kiss in the center and calls for icing rather than sprinkles. However, it is so similar that I think you could adapt it easily by omitting the icing and the green coloring and dipping them in sprinkles as you describe. I believe that I would retain the Hershey’s Kiss instead of using chocolate chips, due to the Kiss being easier to form dough around.

Green Bon-Bon Cookies


I found a similar recipe in a 1981 Pillsbury Holiday recipe booklet that I have from my Mom's collection. 
It doesn't mention chocolate chips, nor sprinkles, but substituting them would be an easy fix. 
Luckily, I googled the recipe name and came up with a link:


Love the site, I've spent countless hours browsing the archives!

Dr. Oetker's Products

From: CHRIS 
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 1:05 PM
Subject: re need help

I'm looking for the ingredients found in two of Dr. Oetker's baking products. 
They are very hard to find to purchase so I'd like to substitute for them.
One is his "Bakken Powder" and the other is his "Vanillen Sugar". I use both 
of them in the most delicious kuchen recipe. 
Thanks for any help you can give me. I love your site!!
Best regards and merry xmas,
Chris in Indiana

Hi Chris,

Well, the ingredients in vanilla sugar are: sugar and vanilla flavoring. The ingredients in baking powder are: baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes a little cornstarch as a drying agent.

I can’t give you an exact duplicate for Dr. Oetker’s products because they are commercial products. No one outside of the company knows exactly how they are different from other brands of vanilla sugar and baking powder or the exact proportions of baking soda and cream of tartar used. I had no success locating a “copycat” recipe. Personally, If I couldn’t get Dr. Oetker’s, then I would just use other brands. If you must make homemade versions of these two products, there are instructions for baking powder here:
Food Chemistry
and for vanilla sugar here:
Vanilla Sugar

The Dr. Oetker’s website says: “One pouch of Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar is equivalent to 1 - 2 tsp of vanilla extract.” I have seen recipes that just use plain vanilla extract as a substitute.

1 bag of Dr. Oetker’s Baking Powder is 0.5 oz or 14 grams

It might be much easier and more reliable to just buy Dr. Oetker’s. You can purchase Dr. Oetker’s products on line at the company website at:
Dr. Oetker's

They are also sold by

You can have them delivered to your door and you won’t have to look for them anymore. There are also other sites on the web that sell them.


THANK YOU PHAED!!!! You made my day, no, my month!! 
Having the equivalents will enable me to bake the kuchen on Xmas morning 
since I can't get the packs here in time if I order online.
I'd seen them on Amazon but they wanted $9.00 just to ship them and the 
packs only weight less then an ounce. 
I know I can find them in MN grocery stores so will pick some up next time 
I"m up there. In the meantime tho I can use your substitution instructions.
Again, I thank you very much for your very very prompt reply!!!
Chris in Indiana

Macy's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Came across this while searching for something else.

Macy's Chocolate Chip Cookies	
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 1/2 c. oatmeal (powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 (4 oz.) Hershey bar
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips

Soften butter. Mix butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Using a blender, 
blend oatmeal into the consistency of a powder. Add flour, oatmeal powder, salt and 
baking soda to mixture. Freeze Hershey bar the night before, then utilizing blender, 
crush into a powder/flake consistency. Add crushed candy bar to dough mixture, then 
add chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. For chewy cookies, 
bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

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