Christmas is just round the corner, and spiced, fried cookies are a traditional Christmas food in some European cultures, such as Scandinavian rosettes, Norwegian fattigmann, Polish krusczyki, and Italian cannoli and strufoli. Spanish churros are also a type of fried cookie, but made from choux pastry. According to the Cookies-in-Motion website, cookies were made by frying in the days before individual homes had ovens; the webpage also describes the technique of frying cookies, as well as giving various European recipes. This other page gives a timeline of the history of fried dough foods.
Fried cookies are closely related to fried dough snacks, such as doughnuts, and are found in many cultures round the world. Yau char kway (油條) is a popular Chinese variety eaten in Singapore, and the same stall would probably sell other fried dough snacks such as hum cheen baang.
However, these are very doughy foods, and my idea of a cookie is something crisp and hard, more like the keropok (see grandma’s recipe for krupok udang) and pappadam we often eat in Singapore/Malaysia – but I suppose those would be considered crackers.
I like the simplicity of this recipe and the basic list of ingredients. It’s more plain than European fried cookie recipes, which often use cinnamon and cardamom (giving that ‘Christmas-y’ flavour).