Thursday, April 17, 2014


Greek butter cookies. These cookies are typically made around Easter, to be eaten after Holy Saturday, but sometimes my honorary γιαγιά (ya ya) that lives next door bakes up a batch for me. Some koulourakia recipes have everyday pantry ingredients and their mixing technique is basic, but boy are these cookies a labor of love. Each cookie is rolled into a rope and hand twisted. And if you make the entire recipe, you could be hand forming anywhere between 4 to 6 dozen. Yikes! I halved the recipe because this was my first time making them. 

I should have asked my neighborhood γιαγιά for her recipe but I when I searched the web, they all seemed relatively the same. Some recipes had orange juice in them, or ouzo, and even sesame seeds sprinkled on top. I went with a little orange zest in my recipe with a simple egg wash.

slightly adapted from The Cookie Crumbles
1/2 of the original recipe - makes 30 cookies

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter - room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 plus 2 tablespoons large egg - room temp ***1 large egg is roughly 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup. Whisk the whole egg and divide. Same remaining 2 tablespoons of egg for egg wash.***
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

egg wash - remaining 2 tablespoons egg 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, with a hand held or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add orange zest, vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With your mixer on LOW speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

Using a 3/4 ounce cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out dough. Gently squeeze together if it looks a little dry and slowly roll out into a 6-inch small rope/snake. Twist into a desired shape.

Brush with the egg wash. Bake for 10 - 18 minutes depending on the shape. Remove when cookies are light golden brown. Let cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack. 

Καλό Πάσχα!!!
Happy Easter!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

vegan & gluten-free peanut butter cookies


I'm ALWAYS looking for healthy alternatives when it comes to baking. And when I stumbled upon Blissful Basil's Soft and Tender Peanut Butter Cookies that were vegan AND gluten free, I quickly gathered up the ingredients. These cookies are so friggin' good that you don't miss the butter or all-purpose flour in their taste or texture. The oily natural peanut butter keeps them moist and the oat flour gives them a toothsome chew. I found some helpful hints from the original recipe and totally rolled with them. Also bumping up the salt because I love salty-n-sweet.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
HUGE THANKS to Ashley at Blissful Basil for blogging this recipe

1 cup peanut butter ***Use the oily, natural, no-stir stuff!***
1 cup brown sugar ***Apparently not all brown sugars are gluten-free. Check your labels.***
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup oat flour ***Grind your own oat flour by pulsing gluten-free whole oats in your food processor. 2 - 3 minutes for a fine flour or 1 - 2 minutes for flour with a little texture.***
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar for 1 minute. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds. ***I used my stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.***

In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients - oat flour, baking soda, and kosher salt.

On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture. Mix until a crumbly dough forms. Add the almond milk and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Do not over mix.

With a 3/4 ounce cookie scoop (1-1/2 tablespoons), scoop out dough and roll into balls. Place on parchment lined sheets approximately 3 inches apart. With the tines of a folk, gently flatten one way and then the other to create a crisscross pattern.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to turn golden brown. ***All ovens are different. I baked mine for 14 minutes, but keep your eye on them.*** Remove from oven. After a couple of minutes, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 24 cookies.