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Food

Greek Flavors for This Year’s Holiday Cookie Swap

November 28, 2022

Since many Greek cookie recipes passed down from Yiayia call for “flour as much as it takes,” you probably already have a surplus of sweets during the festive season, so cookie swaps are a fun way to share the fruits of our baking labor during the holidays.

For those who don’t know, a cookie swap is a type of party when friends get together and each person makes enough of one kind of cookie to share at the party. After sampling the cookies, everyone selects their favorites and can take them home, packaged in appealing assortments, ready to give as gifts or to share for dessert any time. Plus, everyone goes home with new recipes to add to their baking repertoire. Try the following recipes for some Greek flavor to your cookie swap, whether you decide to share the cookies or not.

 

Melomakarona/Finikia (Honey Cookies)

 

7 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup farina

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1/4 cup cognac

 

For the syrup:

2 cups honey

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

 

For topping:

1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, farina, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of Greek sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, juice, zest and cognac and add to the dry ingredients, mix until combined. Form the dough into ovals about two inches long. If desired, form the cookie with a walnut half in the center or a combination of finely chopped walnuts and ground cinnamon as a filling. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven about 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, water and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Dip the just baked cookies into the syrup and allow them to absorb some of the liquid, but work quickly so they don’t dissolve in the syrup. Cool the cookies completely and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and a dash of ground cinnamon. Makes about 40-50 cookies.

 

Greek-American 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

Cookies. (Photo by Adam Bartoszewicz, via Unsplash)

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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