It wouldn’t be Christmas without cookies! Cookie baking is a favorite tradition among many families and some families begin their cookie baking this weekend, right after Thanksgiving. Most everyone has a favorite holiday cookie and it’s fun making and baking a vast array of cookies to share with others during this Christmas season.
This is also the time of year in which we also see some cookies from foreign countries. Just like here in America, other parts of the world have their traditional cookies they make as part of their Christmas season. So today, I’d like to pass along a recipe from Greece, called “Greek Christmas Cookies” or as they’re known in Greece, “Finikia”. This is a special cookie, full of flavor coming from cinnamon and orange and contains a crunch from ground nuts that go on the outside.
This cookie isn’t the easiest cookie to make, but it’s not a hard one to do. You begin by making the cookies, then a special syrup that the baked cookies are dipped in before rolling them in a ground nut mixture. For the cookie dough, you cream butter, oil and sugar together. Orange juice goes in, followed by some dry ingredients. Surprisingly, there’s NO eggs in this cookie! You then break off pieces of dough and flatten them into a small oval. These are now baked. Meanwhile, you make a syrup of sugar, honey, water and lemon juice. The baked cookies are dipped in this syrup and rolled in the chopped nuts, which have been combined with cinnamon and sugar. When cooled, you have a wonderful holiday cookie from Greece that you made yourself!
While the original recipe says it makes five dozen, I cut the recipe in half the first time I made these and still got five dozen! My suggestion is to take a look at the recipe below and if you feel that this will make more than what you can use, feel free to cut the proportions in half. However, go with the full recipe if you will be giving some for gifts or serving some at any upcoming Christmas gatherings. One reason my cookies may have came up to five dozen even after making half of the proportions may have been due to the size of the cookies I made. I shaped the dough, using dough about the size of a walnut. But do use your own judgement and go with proportions you feel comfortable with. You may find these cookies to be so wonderful, you’l either be glad you made the full recipe or will receive pleas from others to “make another batch of those cookies!”
Another Greek cookie I shared quite a while ago is “Karithata”, which is a rich butter cookie dusted with powdered sugar. These are also wonderful for the holidays, and if you would like this recipe, follow this link:
Enjoy a Christmas cookie from Greece this Christmas season, using this recipe:
GREEK CHRISTMAS COOKIES (“FINIKIA”)
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour (approximate amount)
Cream together the butter, oil and sugar together for five minutes. Slowly add the orange juice and blend well. Sift together flour (begin with 6 cups of flour) with baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to the creamed mixture and mix to form a dough that rounds up into a ball and leaves the sides of the bowl, adding additional flour, if needed. Break off small pieces of the dough about the size of a walnut and shape into an oval with the palms of your hands. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. Meantime, prepare the following syrup:
- 2 cups sugar
- 8 ounces honey
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a saucepan, place the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the honey and lemon juice. Continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Lower heat and allow syrup to simmer while dipping the cookies.
- 4 cups chopped nuts (walnuts are perfect)
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all ingredients in a shallow pan or large dish.
To complete the cookies, dip 4 or 5 of the cookies into the simmering syrup for about 2 minutes, turning several times. With a slotted spoon, remove the cookies and place in a colander to drain well. Roll the dipped cookies in the nut coating and place on a flat surface, such as a sheet of waxed paper or foil set on the counter, and let cool. Yield: about 5 dozen.