Easy Valentine’s Day Heart Sugar Cookies – 2 Ways

The way to anyone’s heart is with these easy Valentine’s day heart sugar cookies! These lattice and marbled heart cookies are a fun twist to classic sugar cookies! 

two toned valentine cookies on a white counter with lace and flowers

These cookies are definitely a sweet Valentine’s treat, but they would also be great for birthdays, baby showers, or any other special occasion! I think they would even make great party favors, too!

This is a sugar cookie recipe that I’ve been using for years. I’ve adapted it from a cookbook I have called The Family Circle Encyclopedia of Cooking and it has never let me down!

Instead of decorating the sugar cookies with icing or a glaze, I wanted to do something totally different, so I made a lattice cookies! Then I used all the scraps to make marbled cookies! 

two toned heart valentine sugar cookies on a plate and white counter

About These Cookies

Texture: These cookies are firm and crunchy. There aren’t any leaveners, so they don’t puff up. As a result, they’re perfect for making the cute lattice design.

Flavor: These cookies are buttery, but not too sweet. Since they’re not overly sweet, you could also add other toppings, like melted chocolate and sprinkles, if you want.

Time: Don’t let the complicated design fool you! They may look complex, but I guarantee they are incredibly easy to make, but it does take some time! I think it’s totally worth it, though!

Equipment: You don’t need any fancy equipment apart from a hand mixer and cookie cutters. But even if you don’t have cookie cutters, you could cut them out using templates.

Ingredients: You don’t need a lot of ingredients, just a few, which you probably already have!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Butter: I use unsalted butter for sugar cookies. 

Sugar: I use regular, granulated sugar.

Flour: I use all-purpose flour.

Vanilla: I use vanilla extract, but you could use almond extract, if you like. 

Salt: I use just a bit to enhance all the flavors.

Egg: I use 1 organic egg.

Cornstarch: It really helps make the dough come together.

Food coloring: For these cookies, I used a tiny amount of red food coloring gel by Wilton (I ran out of pink). Of course, this is optional! 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will these cookies hold their shape?

Yep! No need to worry about them getting too puffy, as there aren’t any leaveners in the recipe.

Can I make these cookies without food coloring?

Of course! They’ll still taste great! I made a few plain ones and filled them with Nutella!

Can I make these cookies in advance?

Yes! Just flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it for about 2 months. When you’re ready to make them, thaw the dough in the refrigerator, roll it out, cut out the cookies and bake!

Can I freeze baked cookies?

Yep!  First, make sure the cookies have completely cooled. Then I like to put them on a tray in a single layer and pop them in the freezer. When the cookies have frozen, individually wrap them in some plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for about 2 months. To thaw, I just take out the freezer bag or container and put it on the kitchen counter. They usually take a few hours at room temperature to thaw completely. 

HOW TO MAKE LATTICE HEART COOKIES

step 1 whisk flour salt and cornstarch step 2 beat butter and sugar step 3 add egg and vanilla to butter and mix step four slowly add flour and mix to form dough

step 5 add food coloring to half of dough and knead step 6 roll out dough and put in freezer for 15 minutes step 7 cut into half inch strips step 8 slightly separate the strips using a knife and freeze again for 10 minutes

step 9 starting from center fold back every other strip step 10 take a strip of dough from other batch and place it in the center step 11 fold the strips back down to cover the middle strip step 12 fold back the strips that weren't previously used

step 13 add another strip of dough step 14 repeat till you have a complete lattice step 15 pinch to fix any tears step 16 cut out the cookies with a cutter

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

 

  • Measure the flour properly for best results.
  • I like to use a non-stick measuring tape to cut strips, but you could use a ruler, instead.
  • Rolling the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper makes it so much easier to work with the dough! It also makes clean-up a breeze because you don’t flour the work surface or rolling pin! And there’s no extra flour which could make the cookies hard and tough.
  • Make sure the butter and egg are at room temperature before you begin! It’ll make the dough A LOT easier to work with!
  • Don’t overwork the dough because this could make the cookies tough.
  • You’re going to have some scraps leftover, so I suggest re-rolling them to make two-toned or marbled cookies!

a cookie sandwich with chocolate and two toned heart sugar cookies on a white counter

MORE COOKIE AND VALENTINE RECIPES!

Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies (+ Secret Ingredient)

Decadent Hot Chocolate Soup With Caramel Brioche Croutons

Easy Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Let me know how these easy Valentines’s day heart sugar cookies turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Easy Valentine's Day Heart Sugar Cookies - 2 Ways

The way to anyone’s heart is with these easy Valentine's day heart sugar cookies! These lattice and marbled heart cookies are a fun twist to classic sugar cookies! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: valentine, sugar cookie, heart, lattice, marbled
Servings: 20 approximately*

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups (281 g) all-purpose flour (you may need 1-2 tablespoons more)
  • ¼ cup (25 g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • red or pink food coloring gel (optional)

Instructions

  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until creamy using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary to fully combine.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined and the dough forms. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour, a tablespoon a time, until it comes together. It’s perfect when you are able to pick up the dough in one piece.
  • Divide the dough in half. 
  • Using a toothpick, add a tiny amount of food coloring (if using) to one half of the dough and knead by hand until the dough is fully colored.
  • Roll out each batch of dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to your desired thickness (I roll out mine about ¼ inch / 0.5 cm thick).
  • Put the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Cut each batch of dough into ½ inch (1 cm) strips.
  • For one batch of dough, slightly separate the strips by quickly pushing a knife left & right in between each cut to create tiny gaps. Put the dough in the freezer again for 10 minutes.

Make the lattice (see the picture tutorial in the post)

  • Starting from the center, fold back every second strip of dough.
  • Take a strip from the other batch and place it in the center.
  • Fold the strips back down to cover the middle strip.
  • Fold back the strips that weren't previously used.
  • Add another strip of dough and repeat the process until you have a complete lattice.
  • Pinch the dough to fix any tears or rips.
  • Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter.
  • Remove all the excess dough.
  • Re-roll the scraps for marbled cookies and cut them out.
  • Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are light brown.
  • When done, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

* The number of cookies will depend on the size of your cookie cutters.
HOW TO FREEZE BAKED COOKIES
First, make sure the cookies have completely cooled. Then put them on a tray in a single layer and pop them in the freezer. When the cookies have frozen, individually wrap them in some plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for about 2 months. To thaw, just take out the freezer bag or container and put it on the kitchen counter. They usually take a few hours at room temperature to thaw completely. 
 
© Pastry Wishes

 

Decadent Hot Chocolate Soup With Caramel Brioche Croutons

This creamy, luscious hot chocolate soup is delicious! It’s quick, easy, ultra-rich and served with caramel brioche croutons! It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day! 

a bowl of chocolate soup with a hand holding a spoon in it and a red rose and red satin tablecloth in the background

Have you ever had chocolate soup?? If not, let me introduce you to my new chocolate fix and your new best friend!

This soup is a cross between rich hot chocolate, thick warm pudding and chocolate fondue! What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with this mind-blowing dessert!

I have to tell you, though, this is NOT a light and airy dessert, that’s why I serve it in really small bowls! 

It’s quite rich and definitely NOT for the weak, but it is sooooo good! 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s in this chocolate soup?

This recipe only has a handful of ingredients: dark chocolate, cream, milk, alcohol, and cinnamon. 

Can I tweak or adapt this recipe?

Sure! I added two different kinds of alcohol and some cinnamon, which give it a really nice delicate flavor. Of course, you can add your favorite alcohol (like mint liquor or ouzo) or omit it altogether! 

How do you serve it?

This soup is best served warm, so I’d make it about half an hour before serving it. Fresh fruit is divine with this! You could put some fruit on a skewer for dipping in the soup! Or you could top it with whipped cream or ice cream! 

 

two bowls of chocolate soup with a skewer of fruit on top

What you need to make it:

Good quality dark chocolate: I use 72% dark couverture chocolate for a richer flavor.

Milk: I use low-fat, but you can use regular milk.

Heavy cream: I added this to thicken the soup so I wouldn’t have to add any flour, cornstarch, or eggs. It really gives it a beautiful, silky creaminess to it, too!

Cinnamon: I use a cinnamon stick, which really boosted the overall flavor. I think cinnamon pairs really well with all the other flavors and it’s very subtle.

Alcohol: I use Kahlúa and whiskey, but you could use your favorite alcohol.

 

For the caramel Brioche Croutons you need:

Brioche: You only need a few slices of brioche bread.

Sugar & water: To make the caramel, you need a small amount of sugar and water.

two bowls of chocolate soup with a spoon in each bowl surrounded by rose petals and a porcelain jug dripping with soup and a red satin tablecloth and a red rose in the background

 

HOW TO MAKE CARAMEL BRIOCHE CROUTONS

caramel brioche croutons steps, step 1 whisk butter, sugar and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves, step 2 boil until sugar turns medium amber color, step 3 add brioche cubes and stir quickly then spread onto a baking sheet and separate them using two forks so they’re not touching

HOW TO MAKE HOT CHOCOLATE SOUP

hot chocolate soup step one with milk, cream, alcocohol and cinnamon stick simmering in a saucepan and step two remove cinnamon stick and add chocolate and whisk until smooth

VARIATIONS & ADD-INS

There are so many ways you can play around with this recipe! Here are just a few ideas for variations and add-ins:

  • Nuts and pomegranate seeds would go great with this soup! They would also offer a nice crunch!
  • If you like orange and chocolate together, you could add some orange zest to the soup!
  • I think coffee would be great with this soup, too!
  • I used a combination of Kahlúa and whisky! Another nice blend is Cointreau or Grand Marnier! Or if you like mint and chocolate together, you could add mint liquor, like Crème de menthe!

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • You can easily reheat any leftovers, just add a little milk (1 or 2 tablespoons) and stir over medium heat. Add more milk if you want a thinner consistency.
  • This is a very rich dessert, so I suggest you serve it in very small bowls, but of course, you could

IDEAS FOR LEFTOVER CARAMEL BRIOCHE CROUTONS

Sometimes I don’t always use all the croutons with this soup, so I like to save them for later.

Here are a few ideas for leftover caramel croutons:

  • You could top your favorite ice cream with them.
  • You could put them on top of hot chocolate, instead of marshmallows.
  • You could add them over Greek yogurt.
  • You could nibble them on their own as a sweet snack (yes, I have actually done that!).

MORE CHOCOLATE RECIPES

Classic Homemade Brownies From Scratch

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes (No Mixer)

Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies (+ Secret Ingredient)

Cheater’s Chocolate Mousse (+Easy Chocolate Garnishes)

Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

Easy Egg-free Chocolate Salami – Greek Kormos/Mosaiko (No-bake + Vegan Option)

Easy Homemade Chocolate Syrup (Without Corn Syrup)

Easy Vegan Fudge Brownies

Sugar Free Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes

 

For another AMAZING chocolate recipe, check out Tasy Oven’s Crockpot Hot Chocolate! Simple and delicious!

Let me know how this decadent hot chocolate soup with caramel brioche croutons turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Decadent Hot Chocolate Soup With Caramel Brioche Croutons

This creamy, luscious hot chocolate soup is delicious! It’s quick, easy, ultra-rich and served with caramel brioche croutons! It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day! 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Greek
Keyword: hot chocolate, soup, caramel brioche croutons, easy
Servings: 2 -3

Ingredients

For the Caramel Brioche Croutons

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup (100 g / 3.5 oz) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl oz) water
  • 2-3 slices brioche bread, cubed

For the Soup

  • ¾ cup (200 ml / 7 fl oz) milk
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (150 ml / 5 fl oz) heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey
  • 7 oz / 200 g dark chocolate (I use 72% couverture chocolate), finely chopped

Instructions

Make the Caramel Brioche Croutons

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar and water. Whisk until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
  • Allow the sugar mixture to boil until it turns a medium amber color, about 4 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the brioche cubes, a handful at a time and stir to coat evenly.
  • Transfer to the lined baking sheet and quickly spread the croutons. Use 2 forks to separate them so they're not touching. Set aside to cool.

Make the Soup

  • In a medium saucepan, add the milk, cream, alcohol and cinnamon stick and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Discard the cinnamon stick and quickly stir in the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth. If you want a thinner consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • This soup can be stored in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
  • You can easily reheat any leftovers, just add a little milk (1 or 2 tablespoons) and stir over medium heat. Add more milk if you want a thinner consistency.
caramel brioche croutons adapted from: https://www.marthastewart.com/345424/ice-cream-with-caramel-brioche 
 
© Pastry Wishes

 

Greek Style Gingerbread Cookies (NO CHILL, NO SPREAD)

Mavrodaphne wine adds a Greek twist to an all-time favorite Christmas cookie! These gingerbread cookies are slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy inside. They are easy to make and hold their shape perfectly. This recipe is also a real time-saver because you don’t need to chill the dough! 

greek gingerbread cookies on a wooden tray surrounded by christmas decorations on a red satin cloth

Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread cookies! I make them together with the traditional Greek christmas cookies, Melomakarona and Kourabiedes. They also make really nice gifts, too, because they keep so well!

This year, though, I wanted to experiment and make something we could also have during the Orthodox Christian Nativity fast, which is mostly vegan. So, this recipe is vegan, although you could adapt it for non-vegans, as well. For example, you could use regular butter instead of vegan butter/margarine, or regular milk instead of vegan/plant-based milk.

I introduced a Greek flavor to this recipe by adding some Mavrodaphne wine. In my opinion, the result is extraordinary! 

Mavrodaphne wine gives these cookies a beautiful subtle flavor. It really pairs well with the spices, too! It’s a unique flavor combination!

grek gingerbread cookies on a plate with a candy cane and candle in the background

WHAT MAKES THIS RECIPE STAND OUT FROM TRADITIONAL ONES:

  • NO CHILLING REQUIRED! Unlike classic gingerbread cookie recipes where you need to chill the dough, this recipe is pretty quick and convenient because you don’t have to do that. Just roll it out, cut out the cookies and bake! It’s a HUGE timesaver! How many of us actually have a couple of hours to spare to wait for the dough to chill??
  • You don’t need a stand mixer OR a hand mixer! No creaming the butter and sugar here! You just fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones! It really couldn’t be any easier than that!
  • You don’t have to flour your work surface or rolling pin! Just roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. No extra flour, no mess, no fuss! This also makes cleanup a breeze! 
  • Amazing dough! The dough is a DREAM to work with! It doesn’t even crack while you roll it out (*check out the picture tutorial below)!
  • The cookies DO NOT spread! The cookies really hold their shape well. They don’t really puff up or spread at all. I took pictures of the cookies before and after I baked them. As you can see, there’s not much of a difference – they really maintained their shape! Check out the photos below!

greek gingerbread cookies on tray before and after baking

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Mavrodaphne wine?

Mavrodaphne wine is a traditional Greek wine. It’s sweet and dark brownish red in color. It’s also known as a dessert wine, similar to Port. It’s most commonly made from a dark grape variety from the Peloponnese, an area in Greece that is famous for its wine-making since ancient times. It is an excellent aperitif, but it’s also used in cooking and baking today.

What does Mavrodaphne wine taste like?

Mavrodaphne wine has a unique exotic aroma and flavor. It’s rich and sweet with subtle hints of caramelized raisins.

Can I omit the wine?

Of course! If you don’t want any alcohol, you could easily replace the Mavrodaphne wine with regular milk or a plant-based, non-dairy milk for a vegan option.

What’s a good substitute for molasses?

If you don’t have molasses, you could replace it with equal amounts of good-quality honey. The taste will be different, though, as molasses has a very distinct flavor. I’ve made these cookies with honey and they were much lighter in flavor, but I much prefer them made with molasses! Molasses and Mavrodaphne wine really compliment each other!

Can I freeze the dough?

Yes! Just wrap the dough in some plastic wrap and then put it in a freezer-safe container. You can freeze the dough for about a month.

Can I make these cookies crunchy?

Sure! There are 2 ways to get crunchier cookies. You could either roll the dough really thin before cutting them out and baking them. Or, you can bake them a few minutes longer.

How long will these cookies stay fresh?

These cookies will last for about 2 ½ weeks in an airtight container.

How do you store these cookies?

I store them in an airtight container. You could also put a small piece of parchment paper between each cookie to prevent them from sticking together.

Can I freeze these  cookies?

Yes! I always freeze my cookies undecorated. I wrap each cookie in plastic wrap and then I put them in a freezer-safe container. You can store them in the freezer for a couple of months.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Flour: I  use all-purpose flour. 
  • Margarine: I always use block margarine, not the spreadable tub kind because there’s too much moisture in it. Margarine makes the dough really pliable. If you want, you could use vegan butter or regular butter.
  • Mavrodaphne wine : This is the secret ingredient! If you don’t have it, you could omit it from the recipe, but it will have a different flavor. I’ve tried it with and without the Mavrodaphne wine and it’s still delicious, but the Mavrodaphne wine really gives it a richer flavor!
  • Spices: I use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, of course!
  • Sweeteners: I use molasses and dark brown sugar.
  • Salt: I use a little to boost the flavors.
  • For the Eggless Icing I use powdered sugar, cornstarch, and some milk.

5 IMPORTANT SUPER TIPS! 

SUPER TIP #1: MAKING THE DOUGH 

In the recipe, I started off with 2 ½ cups flour and ended up adding ½ cup more to get the right consistency. You should just add enough flour, a little at a time, until it comes together and doesn’t stick to your hands. This dough should be thick enough to pick up and hold in your hand (see the picture tutorial below). 

SUPER TIP #2: PREP YOUR COOKIE CUTTERS 

Have a small bowl of flour nearby and dip each cookie cutter in it before placing it on the dough to cut out shapes. This will help prevent any dough from sticking to the cookie cutters.

SUPER TIP #3: HOW TO MAKE USE OF AS MUCH DOUGH AS POSSIBLE

Whenever I make these cookies (or any cut out cookies), I need to use up as much dough as I possibly can, because I don’t want to roll it out too many times, as this would risk overworking the dough. If you overwork the dough, it can make the cookies tough and hard.

Here’s what I do to avoid this:

After I roll out the dough, I place my cookie cutters as close together as I can. That way I make use of as much dough as possible because I have fewer scraps to re-roll.

SUPER TIP #4: HOW TO PREVENT THE COOKIES FROM SPREADING WHILE BAKING

I don’t use any baking powder or baking soda in this recipe, so they aren’t very light and airy. However, I found that omitting the leaveners made a stronger cookie – perfect for packing and shipping them without sacrificing the flavor.

SUPER TIP #5: HOW TO PREVENT THE COOKIES FROM LOSING THEIR SHAPE WHEN TRANSFERRING THEM TO A BAKING SHEET

Here’s a trick I do that keeps the cookies from falling apart or getting misshapen when I transfer them onto a baking sheet! It’s really simple! 

First, cut some parchment paper the same size as your baking sheet.

Place your dough on top of the parchment paper and then place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough. If you want, you could use plastic wrap on top, instead.

Roll out the dough to your desired thickness.

Then LIFT OR SLIDE the entire sheet of parchment paper onto your baking sheet.

Remove the top parchment paper & cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters.

Then carefully remove all the scraps.

Voila! 

This trick is perfect for whenever you’re making really intricate cookies, too, because you don’t touch the cookies at all!

HOW TO MAKE THESE GREEK STYLE GINGERBREAD COOKIES

greekgingerbreadcookiessteps1-3

greekgingerbreadcookiessteps4-5

ABOUT THIS EGGLESS ICING

This eggless icing isn’t runny like a glaze, it’s much, much thicker.

The reason why I wanted to make it thick is because I wanted to make detailed designs on the cookies, like I would with royal icing. However, whenever I made regular glazes (which are great to use in squeeze bottles), the design would often spread on the cookie. 

This was never a big deal for me when I made really big cookies, but for smaller ones, I could never get the intricate details I wanted and I didn’t want to make traditional royal icing because it uses egg whites.

So, after a lot of experimenting, I came up with this eggless, vegan icing. 

One thing to keep in mind with this icing is that it’s really thick. As a result, it doesn’t spread on the cookie and the design dries hard. The consistency needs to be so thick that it won’t come off the spoon unless you shake it off! 

Then you can use a pastry bag to decorate the cookies. I used a Wilton tip #4 for the cookies in the pictures.

Here’s a picture tutorial:

HOW TO MAKE EGGLESS ICING

eggless icing four steps

MORE TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • The size of the cookies will affect the overall baking time. Smaller cookies will need less time as opposed to larger ones.
  • Don’t bake them longer than 10 minutes unless you want really crunchy cookies. The cookies will harden as they cool on the baking sheet.
  • The egg free icing can be colored. I would suggest using a thick gel paste, so it doesn’t affect the consistency of the icing. I use Wilton gel food coloring. You only need a really tiny amount. Start off with a small amount using a toothpick.

greek gingerbread cookies on a wooden table with some kitchen twine

MORE CHRISTMAS RECIPES!

Let me know how these Greek style gingerbread cookies turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Have a Merry Christmas!

~Voula

Greek Style Gingerbread Cookies (NO CHILL, NO SPREAD)

Mavrodaphne wine adds a Greek twist to an all-time favorite Christmas cookie! These gingerbread cookies are slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy inside. They are easy to make and hold their shape perfectly. This recipe is also a real time-saver because you don’t need to chill the dough! 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Greek
Keyword: greek, gingerbread, vegan, cookies, Christmas, holidays, mavrodaphne wine, eggles icing, icing
Servings: 30 cookies, approximately*

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 2 ½ cups (254 g / 9 oz) all purpose flour (+ up to ½ cup more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • ½ cups (113 g / 4 oz) block margarine (not spreadable kind)  
  • ¾ cup (150 g / 5.3 oz) packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons / 2 fl oz) mavrodaphne wine

For the eggless icing

  • ½ cup (60 g / 2.1 oz) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegan/plant-based milk

Instructions

For the cookies

  • In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt and spices together. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, add the margarine, sugar, molasses and wine and whisk everything together over low heat until the margarine melts and the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones (I start byusing a spatula & then I use my hands). If the mixture is too wet, add more flour, about ¼ cup at a time, until it comes together and doesn’t stick to your hands. You may need up to ½ cup more to get the right consistency. The dough should be just stiff enough to pick up and hold in your hand (see the picture tutorial in the post). Don’t overwork the dough.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C.
  • Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out to your desired thickness (I roll out mine about ¼ inch / 0.5 cm thick).
  • Then lift or slide the entire sheet of parchment paper onto your baking sheet.
  • Dip your cookie cutter in some flour.
  • Remove the top parchment paper and cut out different shapes as close as possible.
  • Carefully remove all the dough scraps.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.
  • Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating with icing.

For the eggless icing

  • Mix the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl.
  • Stir in the milk, a FEW DROPS at a time, until it’s smooth, but thick. Use the back of the spoon to remove any lumps. If necessary, add more milk or powdered sugar to get the right consistency. If you accidentally add too much milk, just add more powdered sugar. The consistency is perfect when the icing doesn’t fall off the spoon unless you shake it off (see the picture tutorial in the post).
  • Put the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a tip and decorate.
  • Allow the icing to dry, about 1 ½ - 2 hours.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container for about 2 ½ weeks.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • The number of cookies will depend on the size of your cookie cutters.
  • If you bake these cookies longer than 10 minutes, they become harder and crunchier.
  • The cookies harden as they cool on the baking sheet. 
Freezing Options
  • The dough can be frozen for up to a month. Just wrap it in some plastic wrap and then put it in a freezer-safe container. 
  • Undecorated cookies can be frozen for a couple of months. Just wrap each cookie in plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer-safe container. 
© Pastry Wishes
Adapted from  https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/11/06/gingerbread-snowflakes/

Warm Pomegranate and Apple Mocktail

This warm pomegranate and apple mocktail is a perfect spiced drink for a cozy evening at home! It only has 5 ingredients and it’s incredibly easy to make! A delicious non-boozy winter drink that’s healthy and sugar free!

two cups pomegranate and apple mocktail with cinnamon sticks, rosemary sprigs and fairy lights

Nothing beats a warm drink on a cold winter day! This mocktail really fits the bill! It’s bursting with all of my favorite flavors and is absolutely perfect on a cold winter’s night! I’m not much of a tea drinker, so this is also a great alternative to hot tea!

two glasses pomegranate and apple mocktail with cinnamon sticks, a sliced apple and pomegranate

The best thing about this recipe is that you only need 5 ingredients!

Here’s what you need:

  • Apple &  Pomegranate juice : I use unsweetened 100% apple & pomegranate juice without added sugar or spices.
  • Spices: I use a few cinnamon sticks and whole cloves.
  • Orange peel: This is totally optional, but I think it really adds a nice citrus touch.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is pomegranate and apple mocktail healthy?

Yes! Apples and pomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits around! They’re loaded with all kinds of nutrients, like fiber, protein, and various vitamins! They also offer many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties.

What does this pomegranate and apple mocktail taste like?

It’s very similar to hot mulled apple cider, but the pomegranate juice adds a nice tartness. What I really like the most about this mocktail, though, is how well pomegranate juice pairs with the spices! It’s delicately spiced and the overall flavor is balanced by the sweetness of the apple juice. It’s such a delicious combination! If you like , you can make it sweeter by adding sugar, honey or maple syrup.

How long does this pomegranate and apple mocktail last?

This drink lasts about 2-3 days in the fridge. It can easily be reheated. If you want you could even enjoy it cold.

Can I use freshly squeezed pomegranate juice?

Yes! For this recipe you’d need the juice from about 3 pomegranates.

HOW TO MAKE WARM POMEGRANATE AND APPLE MOCKTAIL

 

I usually have picture tutorials in my posts, but this recipe is so simple that I didn’t think having pictures was necessary! All you do is put everything in a saucepan and simmer! Then you strain it into a mug and enjoy!

WHAT TO SERVE WITH WARM POMEGRANATE AND APPLE MOCKTAILS

I think these mocktails are great with some apple or pear slices.

Or …

perhaps a slice (or 2) of this amazing apple rose tart with dulce de leche  OMG!!! What a combination!

 

VARIATIONS

  • I think that mint really goes well with pomegranate. You cold just add a few sprigs of mint in the saucepan with the other ingredients.
  • For a Greek twist, add 1-2 drops of food grade orange blossom water or rose water in each mug!
  • Add some red wine or Mavrodaphne wine for a mulled drink, or turn it into a cocktail by adding some bourbon!

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • You need to simmer everything for at least 20 minutes. This allows all the flavors to infuse.
  • If you find the mocktail too tart, feel free to add your favorite sweetener. I think honey, dark brown sugar, or maple syrup all go well with this mocktail.

This comforting drink would be great to have when you want to wind down at the end of the day! It’s perfect in front of a blazing fire or enjoy sipping it next to a firepit! And your house will smell amazing, too!

a cup of pomegranate apple mocktail with cinnamon sticks, some rosemary sprigs, an orange slice, an apple and sliced pomegranate

MORE POMEGRANATE RECIPES!

 

Let me know how this Warm Pomegranate and Apple Mocktail turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Warm Pomegranate and Apple Mocktail

This warm pomegranate and apple mocktail is a perfect spiced drink for a cozy evening at home! It only has 5 ingredients and it’s incredibly easy to make! A delicious non-boozy winter drink that's healthy and sugar free!
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pomegranate, pomegranate juice, apple juice, holiday, hot winter beverages
Servings: 2 -3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened 100% apple juice (no added spices)
  • 1 cup unsweetened 100% pomegranate juice 
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 2-3 additional cinnamon sticks for garnish
  • 1 slice orange peel (optional)
  • sweetener of choice (optional)

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil on medium heat.
  • Turn heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. 
  • Strain and serve warm. Taste and add your favorite sweetener, if using.
  • Pour into glasses or mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

This pomegranate and apple mocktail can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2-3. It can easily be reheated or you can enjoy it cold.
 
© Pastry Wishes

Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

This dark chocolate pomegranate bark is the perfect indulgent sweet treat! It’s easy to make and only has 3 ingredients! This festive bark would also make a beautiful edible Christmas gift!

chocolate pomegranate bark broken into pieces

I really love making this chocolate bark around Christmas. There are so many things you can do with it! It’s a nice little snack, but it also looks great on a holiday platter, too!

It has an amazing combination of flavors: dark chocolate + pomegranate! Dark chocolate goes so well with pomegranate!  If you haven’t tried it before, you really should! It’s amazing!

What does this chocolate Pomegranate bark taste like?

This bark has a crunchy texture, but the best part is when you bite into the pomegranate seeds! The contrast between the crunchy chocolate and the juicy pomegranate seeds is incredible! It just melts in your mouth! The pistachios give a nice salty undertone!

This Chocolate Pomegranate Bark is

SO simple to make.

made with only 3 ingredients.

a no-bake dessert.

ready in less than an hour.

colorful and festive with ruby red pomegranate seeds and green pistachios.

low in sugar!

vegan friendly!

an ideal homemade gift!

absolutely delicious!

chocolate pomegrante pistachio bark pieces stacked in a pile

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What kind of chocolate can I use?

You can use your favorite kind of chocolate, milk, dark, or white! The only thing I would avoid is using chocolate chips because they’re not really ideal for melting. Use high quality chocolate bars, like bittersweet chocolate. For this recipe, I use couverture chocolate.

What kind of mix-ins and toppings can I use?

The options are endless! You can get really creative! Here are a few ideas:

Dried fruit will not only add sweetness, of course, but it will also add a nice, chewy texture. You could try raisins, chopped mango, or figs.

Nuts and seeds always go great with chocolate. I personally love pistachios, walnuts, almonds and sesame seeds. Caramelized nuts would be great, too! Nuts and seeds also add a nice crunch.

Other add-ins you could try are sea salt, crushed candy canes or pretzels, mini marshmallows, or shredded coconut.

White chocolate can be used to make gorgeous designs. Add some melted white chocolate on top and swirl it around with a knife or a toothpick to create beautiful patterns.

How do I store this chocolate pomegranate bark?

I always store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week because of the fresh pomegranate seeds that are in it. Other mix-ins that are dried and don’t contain fresh fruit can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Can I freeze this chocolate pomegranate bark?

YES!!! After I break the bark up into pieces, I always wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Then I put all the pieces in a larger freezer bag or container and freeze.

TOP TIP

This bark can also be frozen for a couple of months. You don’t even need to thaw it! It’s absolutely DELICIOUS frozen! Just pop a piece out of the freezer whenever you get a craving! It’s definitely a healthier way to get your chocolate fix!

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE POMEGRANATE BARK

First you melt the chocolate.

Then you spread it on a sheet of parchment paper. I like my bark thin (about ¼ inch), but you could make it thicker by not filling the entire sheet of parchment paper.

Then just add the pomegranate seeds and the pistachios.

I press them into the warm chocolate so that they don’t fall off when the chocolate sets.

pressing pomegranate seeds and pistachios into melted chocolate

After that you chill it for half an hour and then break it into pieces.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Have all your add-ins and toppings ready before starting because the chocolate hardens fast.
  • Drain the pomegranate seeds on a paper towel and then blot them dry with another paper towel as much as possible. Doing this before adding it to the chocolate will prevent the chocolate from seizing (becoming clumpy, like thick paste).
  • If you’re using any dried or candied fruit, use your fingers to break any clumps before adding it to the chocolate.
  • Press your toppings firmly into the warm, melted chocolate. This will prevent them from falling off.
  • Chilling the bark before cutting it helps to set chocolate. That way it’ll be easier to cut into pieces.
  • I suggest breaking or cutting the bark immediately after it’s been chilled. You can use a knife or just snap it using your hands. It’ll be easier to do so once it comes out of the fridge.

GIFT IDEAS

You can really get creative when gifting this dark chocolate bark! Here are a few ideas:

Bags

I like putting this bark in cellophane bags and then tying them up with a cute ribbon. You could also put them in small gift bags.

Boxes

Boxes are really festive, especially the vintage tin ones! All you need is some parchment paper to line inside the box before adding the bark. Paper boxes are also cute as they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Mugs

You could fill some holiday mugs with the bark, and then wrap it with cellophane! Coffee lovers would appreciate it, too, as this chocolate pomegranate bark is AMAZING with coffee!

Plates 

Small wooden or antique plates would be a nice, classy way to give someone this chocolate bark. Just wrap some cellophane around it and add a cute ribbon!

chocolate pomegranate bark in antique plate

MORE POMEGRANATE & HOLIDAY RECIPES!

Let me know how this Chocolate Pomegranate Bark turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

~Voula

chocolate pomegranate bark broken into pieces
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

This dark chocolate pomegranate bark is the perfect indulgent sweet treat! It’s easy to make and only has 3 ingredients! This festive bark would also make a beautiful edible Christmas gift!
Prep Time10 mins
30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, pomegranate, bark, edible gift, Christmas, festive, vegan, low sugar, easy, no bake dessert
Servings: 15 pieces (approximately)

Ingredients

  • 8.8 oz / 250 g bittersweet chocolate (I use couverture), chopped
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds, (from 1 large pomegranate) 
  • ¾ cup (2.6 oz / 75 g) pistachio nuts

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate either in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of just simmering water, or in the microwave in 10 second increments.
  • Pour the melted chocolate on the parchment sheet and smooth it out into an even layer, about ¼ inch thick (or thicker, if you like).
  • Add the pomegranate seeds and the pistachio nuts and press them firmly into the warm chocolate.
  • Put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set.
  • Break the bark into pieces with your hands or cut it with a knife.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

This Chocolate Pomegranate Bark is absolutely DELICIOUS frozen! You don’t even need to thaw it! Just wrap each piece in plastic wrap and put in a larger freezer bag or container. It can be frozen for a couple of months. 
© Pastry Wishes

The Best Carrot Cake (Easy + Tips)

There’s nothing quite like homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! This scrumptious carrot cake is remarkably moist and ridiculously easy to make! It would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift, too!

carrot cake

This super simple, made-from-scratch carrot cake is wonderfully spiced, moist, and delicious. It’s topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting which is decadently luscious and fluffy.

I will never forget the first time I made this cake! I had recently gotten married and I wanted to make it for my husband because he had never tried it before. When I mentioned it to him, his response was something along the lines of …

“Carrots in a cake! Who on Earth would put carrots in a cake! That sounds  gross!”

So, I ignored him and made it anyway. Of course, after he tried it, he immediately became a carrot cake convert! It’s now his favorite cake – he even likes it more than chocolate cake! Go figure!

OMG! This cake!

You will absolutely LOVE it, too! I’m sure it will become your new go-to carrot cake recipe!

Instead of 2 layers, you could make the cake in a 9 x 13 inch (23 X 33 cm) pan or even a tube pan.

But I think a 2 layer cake is really pretty and impressive, though, don’t you?

carrot cake

This cake is made with only a few, simple ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

flour

sugar

baking soda

ground cinnamon & ground nutmeg

salt

vegetable oil

eggs

milk

grated carrot

unsweetened, shredded/ground coconut

a few whole walnuts or pecans (to decorate)

Ideas for Add-ins

If you wish, you could add some raisins, chopped walnuts/pecans, or even toasted nuts. To be honest, though, I always avoid these add-ins because I feel they overpower the spices in the cake. Also, I find that the cake isn’t as tender with the add-ins, but this is my own preference. Feel free to add in whatever you like.

THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP FOR THE BEST CARROT CAKE EVER

Why use freshly grated carrots? Can’t I just finely chop them in a food processor?

This is really important – probably the greatest tip I could ever give!

YOU NEED TO GRATE THE CARROTS BY HAND – DO NOT FINELY CHOP THEM IN A FOOD PROCESSOR!!!

I cannot stress this enough!

I once experimented to see how this cake would turn out if I put the carrots in the food processor instead of grating them by hand. I mainly did this so that I could save some time, which I did, but …

the result???  A COMPLETE FLAVOR DISASTER!!! Why? Let me explain.

See all those tiny pieces of shredded carrots popping out in the photo below?

carrot cake

When I put the carrots in the food processor instead of shredding them by hand, I could barely see them in the cake. And worst of all, I could barely taste them! When the carrots are chopped so small, they’re practically invisible in the cake – almost as if they’re not in the cake at all!

Finely grated carrots by hand, though, will add just the right texture without making the cake crunchy.

So, I vowed NEVER to do that again and I promised to warn all fellow home bakers whenever I get the chance!

That time has come, my friends!

Bottom line: GRATE YOUR CARROTS BY HAND USING A BOX GRATER – DO NOT FINELY CHOP THEM IN A FOOD PROCESSOR!

More Tips for Carrot Cake Success

  • Make sure all your ingredients have come to room temperature before you begin.
  • Measure the flour correctly! Too much flour can make the cake dry and crumbly, and too little can make it dense and cause it to fall while baking.
  • Weighing all the ingredients with a digital scale will give consistent results.
  • Peel the carrots before grating them. Otherwise, they’ll leave a bitter aftertaste in the cake.
  • Avoid using packaged shredded carrots because they tend to be drier and thicker than freshly grated carrots. Freshly grated carrots add moisture and help make the cake moist. When you grate the carrots by hand, you’ll notice they’re a bit wet. This is what we’re looking for!
  • The secret to a super moist carrot cake is vegetable oil! Butter or margarine will not give the same results.
  • Do not overmix the batter. Mix everything until just combined.
  • Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 15 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. This will ensure you don’t damage them so they look pretty when it comes time to decorate!

How to Freeze Unfrosted Cakes

You can easily freeze the cakes if you want to plan ahead for a future event.

  • Make sure the cakes have cooled completely.
  • Tightly wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and then put them in sealable freezer bags. The cakes can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To thaw, put the cakes in the refrigerator overnight or let them come to room temperature, about 3 hours.

 TIPS FOR THE BEST CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

This cream cheese frosting is slightly tangy and goes so well with carrot cake. All you need is butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar. You can use salted butter if you want to balance the sweetness.

I also suggest using full-fat cream cheese as opposed to the low fat kind because it helps to make the frosting thick. This frosting is perfectly spreadable, but if you want to decorate the cake with a piping bag, just put it in the refrigerator (covered) for about half an hour to stiffen it up a bit.

Tips for Assembling & Decorating the Cake

  • Before I pour the batter into each pan, I weigh it first and then divide it equally between both pans. This not only ensures that the cakes are the same size and weight, but they will also bake evenly.
  • If you want to get fancy, you could trim the cakes to make them flat on the top and then save the trimmings, but I don’t usually bother.
  • Make sure the cake has cooled completely before frosting it. If you frost the cake while it’s still warm, you’ll end up with a melted, messy, cream cheese frosting!

I hope you enjoy this amazing carrot cake!

~Voula

Let me know how this carrot cake turned out for you in the comments.

I’d love to hear from you!

The Best Carrot Cake (Easy + Tips)

There’s nothing quite like homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! This scrumptious carrot cake is remarkably moist and ridiculously easy to make! It would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift, too!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, Mother's Day, homemade,
Servings: 10 - 12

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2½ cups (320 g / 11.3 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g / 10.6 oz) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoonground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup light vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 ½ cups (265 g / 9 oz) grated carrots (about 4-5 large carrots), peeled first
  • ½ cup (60g) unsweetened, shredded/ground coconut
  • about 20 whole walnuts or pecans (optional)

For the frosting

  • 225 g (8oz) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ½ cups (560 g / 1lb 1.4 oz) powdered sugar, plus an extra ½ cup if needed

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 °F / 165°C.
  • Grease & lightly flour 2 8-inch (20 cm) pans & line them with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Add the oil, eggs (one at a time), and milk. Beat on low speed until well combined, scraping the bowl often. Add the carrots and the coconut and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice. Do not overmix.
  • Weigh the batter and pour equal amounts into the prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let them cool in the pans for about 15 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the cream cheese frosting

  • Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on low speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl often.
  • Add the extra ½ cup powdered sugar if you want the frosting a bit stiffer and thicker.
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.

Assemble & frost the cake

  • Place a cake layer on a platter or a cake stand. Top with half of the frosting. Place the other cake layer on top and use the remaining frosting to frost the top. Decorate with whole walnuts or pecans.
  • Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 5-6 days.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Baking time
All ovens are different, so baking times may vary. Check on the cake after about 45 minutes.
To freeze unfrosted cakes
Make sure the cakes have cooled completely.
Tightly wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and then put them in sealable freezer bags. The cakes can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To thaw, put the cakes in the refrigerator overnight or let them come to room temperature, about 3 hours.
To freeze the cream cheese frosting
The cream cheese frosting can be frozen for up to 2 ½ months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator and beat it for about a minute to make it creamy.
© Pastry Wishes

KOULOURAKIA – GREEK EASTER COOKIES (Tips & Various Designs)

Koulourakia are traditional Greek cookies that are popular during Easter! They are buttery and crunchy, with hints of vanilla, orange juice, and freshly grated orange zest in every bite!

koulourakiagreekeastercookies

You’ll see these butter cookies on almost every Easter table in Greece!

Koulourakia (pronounced kou-lou-RA-kee-a) are traditionally shaped by hand into gorgeous twists, braids, rings, and lots of other designs.

They are pretty simple to make. I think it would be really fun to get the kids involved in making all the different designs, too!

Here’s what you’ll need to make Koulourakia

  • unsalted butter
  • sugar
  • vanilla
  • eggs
  • milk
  • orange juice
  • baking powder
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • orange zest (optional)
  • cognac (optional)

SUPER TIP

A secret to making these cookies is to rub the orange zest into the sugar by hand and then mix it with a hand mixer. I always do both in order to release all the aromatic oils from the zest. And the smell – OMG! You will be amazed! The sugar becomes so fragrant! It really helps make the cookies taste and smell INCREDIBLE. If you want a more vanilla flavor, though, you can omit the zest altogether.

KOULOURAKIA DESIGNS

I make a variety of traditional designs, but this year, I also wanted to make Easter bunny, too!

I honestly don’t remember where I first came across this Easter bunny, so I can’t take credit for the design, but it is so cute! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial I made.

HOW TO MAKE A CUTE EASTER BUNNY

bunnycookietutorial

Want more traditional Greek designs? Check out the picture below for some ideas!

koulourakiadesigns

MAKE AHEAD OPTION

If you don’t have enough time to make the koulourakia in one day, just cover and store the dough in the refrigerator and continue the following day.

Here’s what I do:

I weigh each piece of dough (around 35 g / 1.2 oz). It should be about the size of a walnut. By weighing each piece, all the cookies bake evenly because they’re the same size.

After that, I put all the dough balls in a large bowl, cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator.

The next day, I take the dough balls out of the refrigerator and soften each ball a little bit in my hands. Then I make different designs and bake.

koulourakiagreekeastercookies

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
  • I highly suggest you weigh the ingredients using a digital scale before you begin to get consistent results.
  • For fluffy and crunchy cookies that won’t crumble apart, you really need to beat the butter and the sugar together for at least 10 minutes
  • Only use as much flour as needed for the dough to come together. There are a few factors that can affect how wet the dough is such as the size of the eggs you use. Therefore, you might need more flour to make the dough pliable so it doesn’t stick to your hands. If more flour is needed, add it a tablespoon at a time.
  • Do not overmix the dough because it can make the cookies hard.
  • The dough needs to rest for about 20-30 minutes. This will make it easier to shape the cookies.
  • Weigh each piece of dough before shaping so that all the cookies are the same size & bake evenly.
  • Leave enough space between each cookie when you put them on a baking sheet, otherwise they may stick together as they bake. Place them at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the baking sheet.
  • Each oven is different and baking times may vary. For my oven, I bake the cookies one tray at a time, so I can keep an eye on all of them.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. Take them out of the oven as soon as they turn light golden brown.

koulourakia

I really hope you enjoy these koulourakia! Have a wonderful Easter (Kalo Pascha)!

~Voula

MORE GREEK RECIPES!

KOULOURAKIA – GREEK EASTER COOKIES (Tips & Various Designs)

Koulourakia are traditional Greek cookies that are popular during Easter! They are buttery and crunchy, with hints of vanilla, orange juice, and freshly grated orange zest in every bite!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Bunny cookie, Greek Easter Cookies, koulourakia
Servings: 40 cookies, approximately

Ingredients

  • 6 cups / 800 g / 1 lb 12.3 oz all-purpose flour (you may need 1-2 tablespoons extra)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ tablespoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup / 200 g sugar
  • 1 cup + 5 tablespoons / 300 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup milk at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cognac (optional)
  • ¼ cup / 60 ml orange juice at room temperature
  • a few whole cloves (1 for each bunny cookie)

FOR THE EGG WASH

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, rub the orange zest with the sugar using your fingers. Then beat the sugar mixture on low speed for about a minute.
  • Add the butter to the sugar and beat on medium speed for 10 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the milk, vanilla, cognac, and orange juice and beat until well combined.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time. Start beating on low speed with a hand mixer and then use a rubber spatula until the flour is just combined. At this point, if the dough is too wet or sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. The dough should be pliable and soft – not sticky. Don’t overmix the dough because it will make the cookies hard.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for about half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Weigh each piece of dough (about 35 g / 1.2 oz) before shaping to ensure all the cookies are the same size and bake evenly.
  • Make different shapes (see notes & photos in the post) and place them on the baking sheets. Make sure they are at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

MAKE THE EGG WASH

  • In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk with the water. Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash using a pastry brush. 
  • Bake the cookies for about 20-30 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 ½ weeks.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • I highly suggest you weigh the ingredients using a digital scale before you begin to get consistent results.
  • For fluffy and crunchy cookies that won’t crumble apart, you really need to beat the butter and the sugar for at least 10 minutes
  • Only use as much flour as needed for the dough to come together. There are a few factors that can affect how wet the dough is such as the size of the eggs you use. Therefore, you might need more flour to make the dough pliable so it doesn’t stick to your hands. If more flour is needed, add it a tablespoon at a time.
  • Do not overmix the dough because it can make the cookies hard.
  • The dough needs to rest for about 20-30 minutes. This will make it easier to shape the cookies.
  • Each oven is different and baking times may vary. For my oven, I bake the cookies one tray at a time, so I can keep an eye on them.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. Take them out of the oven as soon as they turn light golden brown.
© Pastry Wishes

Vasilopita – Greek New Year’s Cake

Ring in the New Year with this easy, yummy, mildly spiced traditional Greek cake! It is the highlight of the New Year’s celebration among Greeks all around the world!

Vasilopita Greek New Year's Cake

What is Vasilopita?

Vasilopita (pronounced va-see-LO-pee-ta) is a traditional Greek New Year’s cake commemorating St. Basil. The name Basil in Greek is Vasili, hence the name Vasilopita, which means Basil’s cake/bread.

In Greece, there are two kinds of Vasilopita: a cake and a brioche-style bread.  Recipes and decorations vary from region to region. A coin is hidden inside the Vasilopita and whoever finds the coin in their slice is said to have good luck for the entire year!

Why is there a coin hidden inside?

St. Basil is believed to have started this tradition over 1500 years ago when he hid coins and jewelry in breads to give to the poor. This is why some Orthodox Christians exchange Christmas gifts on January 1 instead of December 25. You can read more about St. Basil here: https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2019/01/01/100003-saint-basil-the-great-archbishop-of-caesarea-in-cappadocia

What are some of the customs associated with Vasilopita?

In Greece, eating Vasilopita is not just for families. Businesses, clubs, and associations also serve Vasilopita, where members or employees who find the hidden coin inside their slice are usually given money or a gift.

Some families serve it right after midnight on New Year’s Eve, while others serve it on New Year’s Day.

In my family, we always have it on New Year’s Day, with a big family dinner. When it comes time for dessert, you’ll  always find Melomakarona and Kourabiedes on the table, but the center of attention is the Vasilopita, where it is cut to bless the house for the New Year.

Vasilopita Greek New Year's Cake

What you’ll need:

Butter: I always use unsalted butter.

Flour: I often use self-rising flour for convenience, but you can use all-purpose flour, too.

Spices: I use a combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Fruit: Some orange zest and orange juice.

Alcohol: Cognac or Brandy.

Nuts: Chopped walnuts.

Sugar & salt: I use granulated sugar, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt.

Eggs: I use organic.

Vanilla: Some vanilla essence/extract.

Milk: I use skimmed milk, but you can use any kind of milk.

Coin & aluminum foil: A clean coin wrapped in aluminum foil.

White chocolate & food coloring: I used white chocolate mixed with some gel food coloring to write the year on the top of the cake, but this is optional.

How do you add the coin?

There are two ways to add the coin. One way is to wrap a coin with aluminum foil and put it in the batter before baking the cake. The other way is to insert the foil wrapped coin into the bottom AFTER the cake is baked.

I prefer adding the coin after the cake is baked because if you put the coin in the batter before baking, it will drop to the bottom of the pan. But if you insert the coin after the Vasilopita is baked, you ensure that it will be well-hidden inside and no one will be able to find it by looking at the bottom of their slice!

How do you decorate the Vasilopita?

For this Vasilopita cake you could just dust with powdered sugar, or you could write the year on top of the powdered sugar using melted chocolate, sliced almonds or even pomegranate seeds. You could also cover it with melted white chocolate like I did in the picture.

Vasilopita Greek New Year's Cake

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • If self-rising flour is not available, you can use the same amount of all-purpose flour mixed with 3 teaspoons baking powder, instead.
  • Instead of white chocolate mixed with food coloring, you could use melted dark or bittersweet chocolate.
  • Every oven is different, so baking times may vary. Check on the cake after about 40 minutes. Also please test to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cake. You’ll know it’s done when it comes out clean.

Happy New Year!

MORE GREEK RECIPES!

 Please let me know how this Vasilopita turned out for you in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

Vasilopita Greek New Year's Cake
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vasilopita - Greek New Year's Cake

Ring in the New Year with this easy, yummy, mildly spiced traditional Greek cake! It is the highlight of the New Year’s celebration among Greeks all around the world!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Vasilopita, Greek, New Year's, Cake
Servings: 12 (approximately)

Ingredients

For the Topping

  • about 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz (100 g) white chocolate, melted (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons light vegetable oil
  • some red gel food coloring (optional)
  • some pomegranate seeds (optional)

For the Cake

  • 500 g (4 ¼ cups/ 18.2 oz) self-rising flour*
  • 1 ½ cups (200 g/ 7 oz) finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz / 250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (14 oz / 400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (55 ml/ 2 fl oz) orange juice
  • ¼ cup (55 ml/ 2 fl oz) cognac or brandy
  • 1 cup (250 ml / 8 fl oz) milk
  • a clean coin wrapped in aluminum foil

Instructions

  • Make the topping first. Add some vegetable oil to the melted chocolate and stir. Then add some red food coloring and mix. Add more oil if the chocolate gets too thick.
  • Put the melted chocolate in a piping bag or your container of choice and write the year on some wax paper. Set it aside and allow it to dry completely.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  • Grease and line a 10-inch (26 cm) round pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, walnuts, spices and salt together. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer for about 1-2 minutes on low speed.
  • Add the sugar, and the orange zest to the butter and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl frequently.
  • Then add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed for about a minute after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl a few times until everything is well incorporated.
  • Add the dry ingredients, the orange juice, the cognac/brandy, and the milk alternately to the butter mixture, beating on high speed until thoroughly combined. If you want, add the foil wrapped coin to the batter now, otherwise insert it after the cake is baked.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
  • When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely.
  • Remove the cake from the pan, flip it over and remove the parchment paper. Add the foil wrapped coin now if you didn’t put it in the batter.
  • Place the cake on a plate and dust it with powdered sugar. Decorate with pomegranate seeds.
  • Gently remove the chocolate decorations from the parchment paper and place on the cake.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

*If self-rising flour is not available, you can use the same amount of all-purpose flour mixed with 3 teaspoons baking powder, instead.
Every oven is different, so baking times may vary. Check on the cake after about 40 minutes. Also please test to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cake. You’ll know it’s done when it comes out clean.
© Pastry Wishes
Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies (Easy! + tips & variations)

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, these heavenly, festive almond cookies are just what you need! They are deliciously light and buttery and will make your Christmas cookie plate look amazing! Learn the secrets to making these melt-in-your-mouth cookies!

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

Kourabiedes (pronounced kou – rab – YE – des) are traditional Greek cookies made during Christmas. In some parts of Greece they are also handed out to guests at christenings and weddings.

They are a type of shortbread cookie filled with chopped almonds. A Christmas in Greece is not complete without melomakarona and kourabiedes!

They are one of the tastiest gifts I make for family and friends every year! And, kourabiedes are absolutely FANTASTIC with coffee!

You’ll only need 5 ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour
  • Almonds

HOW TO MAKE KOURABIEDES – GREEK BUTTER COOKIES IN 5 EASY STEPS:

STEP 1: BEAT THE BUTTER AND POWDERED SUGAR

Beat the butter and powdered sugar on high speed for about 20 – 25 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract and mix.

STEP 2: ADD THE ALMONDS AND THE FLOUR

Add the almonds by hand and mix until just combined. Then add the flour, ½ cup at a time, and gently mix by hand until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour (you may need up to 4 cups). The dough should easily come off the sides of the bowl without sticking to it. Don’t overmix.

STEP 3: SHAPE

Divide the dough in half. Put half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of about an inch (2.5 cm). Cut out different shapes with a cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough.

STEP 4: BAKE

Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven until just light brown. Allow the cookies to cool slightly.

STEP 5: DUST WITH SUGAR

Generously dust a cookie plate with powdered sugar. Add the cookies and dust with powdered sugar while they’re warm.

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  1. Butter: Make sure the butter is at room temperature. You also really need to beat the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy and that takes around 20 – 25 minutes on high speed. You want to incorporate as much air in it as possible.
  2. Flour: Mix the flour in by hand, but don’t overmix it because the cookie will become tough. Use just enough flour to make a pliable dough, so there may be extra flour that won’t be used. If you accidentally add too much flour and the dough becomes crumbly, just add a little melted butter until it comes together.
  3. Almonds: Traditionally, almonds are roasted and then added to the dough, but I never roast them because they tend to become really hard after the cookies are baked. I always use chopped, blanched almonds in the dough.
  4. Dough: Cover the dough and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to work with. I always chill my sugar cookie dough to prevent spreading, but it’s not necessary for this recipe! These cookies will not spread because there are no leaveners, so you can bake them straight away without chilling the dough and save time! Without any leaveners, I found that these cookies are sturdier – this is especially important if you’re packaging cookies!
  5. Parchment paper: This is one of my favorite things in the kitchen. It makes baking easier! Traditionally, these cookies are shaped by hand into small mounds or crescent moon shapes, but I use parchment paper, instead! I roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and then use cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. This saves me so much time in the kitchen! First of all, there’s no mess because I don’t have to flour my work surface and it’s a lot faster and easier than shaping the cookies by hand.
  6. Baking: These cookies should be baked until JUST light brown in color, otherwise they can get hard.
  7. Dusting with powdered sugar: Allow the cookies to cool slightly before adding the powdered sugar. If you add the powdered sugar when the cookies come straight out of the oven, a damp layer of sugar will form, making them soggy on top.

 Variations

  • You could use almond extract or even ouzo instead of vanilla extract!
  • For chocolate kourabiedes, add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the dough and mix by hand.
  • Many traditional Greek kourabiedes recipes call for rose water. If you’d like to add it to the kourabiedes, just sprinkle some rose water on the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. Then let them cool slightly before dusting with powdered sugar.

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

Have a very Merry Christmas!

MORE GREEK AND CHRISTMAS RECIPES!

Please let me know how these kourabiedes turn out for you in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

KOURABIEDES - Greek Butter Cookies

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, these heavenly, festive almond cookies are just what you need! They are deliciously light and buttery and will make your Christmas cookie plate look amazing! Learn the secrets to making these melt-in-your-mouth cookies!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: best, Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies Christmas Easy, shortbread, cookies
Servings: 45 cookies*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 g / 8.8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (60 g / 2.1 oz) powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 cup (5.3 oz / 150 g) blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (381 g) (you may need an extra cup (127 g)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (480 g / 17 oz) for dusting after baking

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Beat the butter and the sugar on high speed for about 20 - 25 minutes. 
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Add the almonds by hand and mix until it’s well combined. 
  • Add the flour**, ½ cup at a time, and gently mix by hand until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour (you may need up to 4 cups). The dough should easily come off the sides of the bowl without sticking to it. Don’t overmix. If you accidentally add too much flour and the dough becomes crumbly, just add a little melted butter until it comes together.
  • Divide the dough in half. Put half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of about an inch (2.5 cm) . Cut out different shapes with a cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Transfer the cookies onto the baking sheets and bake until just light brown, about 10 – 20 minutes. 
  • Allow the cookies to cool slightly.
  • Generously dust a cookie plate with powdered sugar. Put the cookies on top and dust with the remaining powdered sugar while they’re warm. 
  • Enjoy!

Notes

These cookies will keep for up to 3 weeks stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
* The number of cookies this recipe makes depends on the size of your cookie cutter(s).
** Don’t add the flour all at once. Add about ½ cup flour at a time until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour. The dough should easily come off the sides of the bowl without sticking to it.
© Pastry Wishes
Greek Christmas Cookies

Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

Melomakarona are traditional Greek Christmas honey cookies that are mildly spiced and dipped in a thick honey syrup. These classic Greek cookies will fill your house with a warm aroma of spices!  

MELOMAKARONA – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

Melomakarona (pronounced mel-o-ma-KA-ro-na) are traditional Christmas cookies that are popular all over Greece. They are thick cookies spiced with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, and lightly soaked in syrup.

If you haven’t made them before, you should definitely give them a try! I’ll show you all the steps and give you all the tips and tricks you need to make the perfect Greek honey cookies!

What you’ll need:

  • Flour: I use sifted, all-purpose flour together with fine semolina flour. 
  • Oil: I always use light vegetable oil, but you could use a very light olive oil, if you prefer.
  • Spices: A combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Fruit: Some lemon and orange juice, and some orange zest.
  • Alcohol: Cognac or Brandy (optional).
  • Sweeteners: I use powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and honey.
  • Nuts: Chopped walnuts.

Making melomakarona is pretty straightforward and simple. You don’t even need a mixer!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make melomakarona without semolina flour?

Traditionally, melomakarona are made with a combination of all-purpose flour and fine semolina flour, but you could make them with just all-purpose flour. Keep in mind, though, that if you don’t use semolina flour, the texture inside will NOT be the same – it will be a bit crumbly. Semolina flour also helps absorb the syrup better as opposed to cookies made with just all-purpose flour.

Can I omit the alcohol?

Sure! Cognac really goes well with the spices in these cookies, but you can leave it out and still have great melomakarona! 

Why do you use powdered sugar in the dough instead of granulated sugar?

Powdered sugar dissolves a lot better than granulated sugar and results in a more denser cookie consistency, which is perfect for soaking up the syrup. Powdered sugar also contains cornstarch which helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much.

Should the syrup be hot or cold?

Many Greek desserts are made with syrup, which is either used hot or cold, depending on the recipe. In my post Easy Greek Baklava Rolls – Refined Sugar Free , I mention how opinions differ among chefs on whether or not a dessert should be hot when pouring cold syrup on it or the other way around. Some like it hot and some like it cold! I have tried both ways and found that this cookie is sturdier when it’s hot and then dipped into really cold syrup.

MELOMAKARONA – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

How to make melomakarona in 10 simple steps:

STEP 1: MAKE THE SYRUP FIRST & PREP THE BAKING SHEETS

Make the syrup first, allow it to cool, then put it in the refrigerator. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

STEP 2: MIX THE FLOURS

Mix the all-purpose flour with the fine semolina flour and set aside.

STEP 3: MIX REMAINING INGREDIENTS FOR DOUGH

Whisk together the wet ingredients with the remaining ingredients for the dough.

STEP 4: MIX WET AND DRY INGREDIENTS

Gently add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix by hand until JUST combined. Do not overmix the dough.

STEP 5: REST

Cover the dough and let it rest for about half an hour.

STEP 6: PREHEAT THE OVEN 

Preheat the oven to 375 ° F (190 ° C).

STEP 7: WEIGH EACH PIECE OF DOUGH & SHAPE

Take a piece of dough and weigh it using a digital scale. Each piece should be about 0.9 oz (25 g). Make each piece oval and thick. If you don’t have a digital scale, try and make each piece of dough the same size before baking. If you want, you can make a pattern on top using a fork or a closed scalloped crimper.

Tip: The pattern helps absorb the syrup and hold the walnuts on top.

STEP 8: BAKE

Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-35 minutes until they’re golden brown.

STEP 9: SOAK IN SYRUP

When cookies are done, take 5-6 of them and immediately dunk them into the cold syrup. Let them soak for about 40 seconds ta minute, dunking them so that they’re submerged in the syrup. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. Repeat with the other cookies.

STEP 10: ADD THE TOPPINGS

Drizzle some honey over the cookies and add the chopped walnuts.

These cookies will last for up to 2 weeks at room temperature as long as they’re covered.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • I usually make the syrup a day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Do not overmix the dough; otherwise the cookies will become tough and hard. Mix until just combined. I usually count up to 15 seconds as I gently mix by hand and then stop and let it rest.
  • I always use a digital scale to weigh the dough for each cookie BEFORE I bake them. That way they ALL bake evenly at the same time. I think they also look nicer when I put them on a serving platter because they’re all the same size. If you don’t have a digital scale, try and make each piece of dough the same size before baking.
  • You can make these cookies a bit softer or crunchier. If you prefer softer cookies, just bake them for about 20-25 minutes. For crunchier cookies, bake them for 30-35 minutes. I actually do both because some people in my family prefer the softer ones, while others prefer the crunchier ones!
  • Don’t put too many cookies in the syrup at the same time, because you won’t have enough room to remove them with the slotted spoon.
  • The dough is greasy, so you might want to wear gloves.
  • Save any extra syrup in the fridge for your coffee or tea! Or, if you want more syrup in your melomakarona, just pour some more on the bottom of the plate the next day and let the cookies soak it up. Personally, I always use all the syrup!

MORE GREEK RECIPES!

Please let me know how these melomakarona turn out for you in the comments below!

I would love to hear from you!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Melomakarona Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

MELOMAKARONA – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

Melomakarona are traditional Greek Christmas honey cookies that are mildly spiced and dipped in a thick honey syrup. These classic Greek cookies will fill your house with a warm aroma of spices! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: christmas, festive, traditional Greek, Greek Christmas Honey Cookies, melomakarona, honey
Servings: 45 cookies
Author: Voula

Ingredients

For the Syrup

  • 1 cup water (250 ml / 8 oz)
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar (250 g)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 - 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 6.5 oz good quality honey (125 ml)

For the Dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (500 g)
  • ½ cup fine semolina flour (100 g)
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (200 ml)
  • ¾ cup light vegetable oil (200 ml)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar (30 g)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)
  • grated orange zest from 1 large orange (about 1 ½ tablespoons)

For the Topping

  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (120 g)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality honey (optional)

Instructions

  • Make the syrup: Cut the orange in half and put it in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients for the syrup, except for the honey. Boil for 5 minutes. Then take off the heat and discard the orange halves and spices. Stir in the honey and set aside to cool. Then refrigerate.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix the all-purpose flour with the fine semolina flour and set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the dough.
  • Gently add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix by hand. Mix until just combined. Don't overmix.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for about half an hour.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 ° F (190 ° C).  
  • If you have a digital scale, take a piece of dough and weigh it. Each piece should be about 0.9 oz (25 g ). If you don’t have a digital scale, try and make each piece of dough the same size before baking.
  • Make each piece oval and thick. If you want, you can make a pattern on top using a fork or a closed scalloped crimper.
  • Place the cookies on the baking sheets, about 1-2 inches apart. I fit about 20 on a tray.
  • Bake for about 20-25’ for softer cookies, or 30 - 35' for crunchier cookies, until they’re golden brown.
  • When cookies are done, take 5-6 of them and immediately dunk them into the cold syrup. Let them soak for about 40 seconds to a minute, flipping them over halfway through. Don't soak them too long, though, because they'll fall apart.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. Repeat with the other cookies.
  • Drizzle some honey over the cookies (if using) and top with the chopped walnuts.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • You could make the syrup a day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Do not overmix the dough; otherwise the cookies will become tough and hard. Mix until just combined. I usually count up to 15 seconds as I gently mix by hand and then stop.
  • Don’t put too many cookies in the syrup at the same time, because you won’t have enough room to remove them with the slotted spoon. 
  • Save any extra syrup in the fridge for your coffee or tea! Or, if you want more syrup in your melomakarona, just pour some more on the bottom of the plate the next day and let the cookies soak it up.
  • These cookies will last for up to 2 weeks at room temperature as long as they’re covered.
©Pastry Wishes