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Food

The Great Greek Cookie Swap for the Holidays and Beyond

December 21, 2020

For many Greek home cooks, typical recipes from Yiayia are often gigantic, with a classic “flour as much as it takes” in many cookie recipes. To help with a major surplus of sweets, 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. This year, it might be safer to make the cookie swap virtual and arrange a drop off/pick up system with family and friends. Try the following recipes for some Greek flavor to your cookie swap, whether you decide to share the cookies or not.

Koulourakia me Krasi (Wine Cookies)

3 and 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Greek dry white wine

Additional sesame seeds, if preferred

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and sesame seeds. Make a well in the center and add the oil and white wine. Stir until just combined. Form one to two inch cookie shapes, and place on ungreased baking sheets about one inch apart. If desired, roll the cookies in additional sesame seeds before placing on the baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden, rotating the pans to ensure even baking. Cool completely on wire racks before serving or storing in an airtight container or cookie jar. If preferred, lightly toast the sesame seeds on a baking sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven for a few minutes before adding to the flour mixture for a more robust, nutty flavor.

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

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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