Baking during the holidays is an annual family tradition for many. Getting together and sharing recipes passed down through the generations is a great way to create special memories with our loved ones and the extra help can cut down on our time in the kitchen. Try the following recipes with some key Greek ingredients to add that distinctive flavor of the homeland to your holiday baking.
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of Greek sea salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup Greek apricot jam
Chocolate frosting, recipe follows
Grease and flour a 15 by 10 by 1-inch jelly roll pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks with the vanilla for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, beating on high until the sugar is nearly dissolved. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, the tips should curl. Gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, the tips should stand straight. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold in gently until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes of until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Immediately loosen the edges of the cake by running a knife along the edge and turn the cake out onto a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with sifted powdered sugar. Roll up the cake and the towel starting from one of the short sides of the cake. Cool on a wire rack. Unroll the cake, remove the towel, and place the cake on a platter. Spread the apricot jam to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up the cake.
Frost with chocolate frosting and use a fork to draw bark lines all along the yule log.
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and beat until completely combined. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat well. Slowly beat in the 1/4 cup milk and the vanilla. Slowly beat in the remaining powdered sugar. Beat in additional milk, if needed, to make the frosting more spreadable. Makes enough frosting for the top and sides of two 8 or 9-inch cake layers. Store any unused frosting tightly covered in the refrigerator and use within a week.
Ginger Spice Cookies
2 1/4 cups Zea flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Vermont maple syrup
2 tablespoons Greek honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of Greek sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Sugar, as needed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together about half of the flour, the brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, honey, orange juice, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Stir in the remaining flour. Shape the dough into one-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through the baking time, until set and lightly golden brown around the edges. Cool cookies on a wire rack completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.
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