Grandpa’s Layanette! Cinnamon Chocolate Raisin Pinwheels!
I am so happy to be able to share this recipe with you. Actually, I’m really happy to have it myself! You see, my grandfather, Anthony Giachello, made this every Christmas. He would make the dough and then call us in to sprinkle on the cinnamon, chocolate, raisins, and honey. He’d make several batches each season in addition to the ones we helped with and then drop off tinfoil covered loaves. Nothing was more exciting than coming home and seeing them on the counter!
I was lucky to have him well into my 20’s. When he died, the best way to conjure him up for the holidays was to make his Layanette. There was only one little problem… he wrote the recipe FOUR different ways, with three different names, and none of them had exact measurements for all ingredients. What is a wine glass of oil? Wine glasses can be upwards of 12 oz which seems like a LOT of oil. He would never let us help him with the dough so we had no idea. But my cousin Christoper Plati made it his personal mission to figure it out. He, his sister Andrea, and my Aunt Connie succeeded!
I tweaked it a bit, preferring butter to vegetable shortening, but it’s really quite delicious with either. On one of my grandfather’s cards, it mentioned chocolate with almonds so if you want to add nuts, have at it! It’s really simple to make and a lot of fun!
As for its name, we always called it “layanette”. His cards call it “layanet”, “lagonet”, and “laynell”. Knowing there is no “y” in the Italian alpahabet and knowing it was likely a phonetic spelling, I was curious to know what the “real” name is. I researched it but couldn’t find anything even close. So it will always be LAYANETTE!
The flavor is so intoxicating. There is something about the combination of cinnamon and chocolate that is so delicious. The mellow sweetness of honey and pop of raisins only further enhance the delight.
It’s so good, that as I’m typing this, I have a nice cup of tea and some Layanette slowly disappearing beside me. Seeing the loaves in tinfoil in MY kitchen right now puts such a smile on my face.
- • 4 cups flour
- • 2 tsp baking powder
- • 3 tbsp sugar
- • 3 large eggs
- • 1/2 cup milk
- • 3 oz vegetable/canola oil
- • 9 tbsp butter, room temperature
- • 4 oz milk chocolate, very finely chopped
- • 3-4 tbsp cinnamon
- • 4 oz honey
- • 1 cup raisins
- Beat sugar, eggs, milk, and vegetable oil. Incorporate baking powder and flour. Mix in butter and form dough - it should have a smooth look. Gather into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for an hour.
- Divide dough into 2 even parts. Working with one piece of dough at a time, on a floured surface, roll out to about 1/8” thick and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon, chocolate, raisins, and honey. Roll into a log lengthwise.
- Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and slice as you serve.
- If you don’t want to use oil, you can substitute 1/2 cup melted butter.
- If you don’t want to use butter, you can substitute 1/2 cup vegetable shortening.
- To make the chocolate chopping easier, put in the fridge for a few minutes, then pulse in your blender or food processor until it’s crumbled to pellet-size.