Cinnamon cookies are ideal for the cold, rainy weather of the season when we’re sipping some tea or coffee by the fireplace! They’re even more delicious when they are made with olive oil! So rich in flavor and texture!
Biscotti are lovely biscuits, a bit harder than the usual biscuits as they are baked twice, hence the origin of the word from the latin phrase bis coctus- twice baked.
In Greece we call them “paximádia”. We not only make sweet paximádia, but also savory ones. Today we’ve got the most popular version. Paximádia that are flavored with Greek ouzo and made even crunchier by adding almonds!
Melomakárona is the name of our traditional Greek Christmas cookies. They go back in time, in Ancient Greece, when they were usually served after a funeral. But those cookies were made without honey, whereas the ones we eat today are dropped for a few seconds in a syrup made with honey. Thus the first part of the word “melo” deriving from the word “méli” meaning honey in Greek.
We’re in the middle of the Holy Week, a few days before Easter Sunday. This implies a bundle of preparations that need to be done. A thorough and meticulous house cleaning, dyeing eggs in a bright red color, baking tsouréki – a kind of sweet bread flavoured with mahlepi and kakoulé- and baking a huge amount of our traditional Easter cookies. Greek Easter cookies are extremely delicious and tasty but there are two key factors that distinguish them from any other cookie. First of all, the use of fresh butter made from sheep’s milk and secondly the use of baking ammonia as a leavening agent. While the cookies are being baked, the house fills up with the beautiful scent of the butter and the strong odur of the ammonia which of course cooks off during baking. This ingredient is essential in order to obtain the wonderful crispness of the cookies. And as Greek women say “There’s no Easter cookie without ammonia”!