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Greek Flavors to Enjoy in Two Cookie Recipes

November 1, 2021

As the temperatures cool down, the baking season kicks into high gear for many home cooks. Nothing beats the scent of freshly baked cookies, except, of course, the taste. Try the following cookie recipes which feature classic Greek flavor combinations and serve with your favorite warm beverage.

Honey Walnut Thumbprint Cookies

Walnuts. (Photo by Leila Issa, via Unsplash)

1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperatures
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Greek honey
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the extracts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the creamed sugar and butter mixture. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to form into balls, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. For the topping, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, honey and walnuts, and then set aside. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. If the dough becomes too warm, refrigerate again as needed. Place the dough balls 2 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes. Press a deep indentation in center of each cookie with the back of a rounded teaspoon. Fill each with the honey and walnuts mixture. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until the edges begin to brown, 7-9 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pans for 1 minute. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Chocolate and Halva Cookies

Chopped chocolate. (Photo by Charisse Kenion, via Unsplash)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
6 ounces store-bought halva, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter, until coarse crumbs form. Add the olive oil, tahini, and vanilla and stir together until dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Using a fork, score the dough so that the holes will release the steam and dough will not puff up. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. Top the baked cookie crust with the chopped chocolate and place the pan back in the oven with the heat off, for about 2 minutes to warm the chocolate. Spread the chocolate evenly over the cookie crust surface with an offset spatula and top with the crumbled halva. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing into squares and serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container. Note: The dark chocolate should be in the 70% cacao range as higher percentages may be too bitter for some, but feel free to use the chocolate you prefer. The halva used in this recipe is the plain variety, but the ones with nuts like pistachios or the marbled chocolate varieties would also work.


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