Here’s something to make a bit of a change from Simnel Cake and Hot Cross Buns – these delicious cookies are from Greece, and are traditionally baked at Easter. There are loads of recipes out there on the web (many of them for HUGE quantities!), all very subtle variations on a theme – this is my version, based on those.
Having never tried an authentic version, I have no idea how close they are to tasting just right, but the boys love them, and that’s all that matters in our house! It’s quite hard to describe how they taste – the flavour is a lot like shortbread, but the texture is different – more cakey I guess, because of the eggs. They are utterly addictive though – so let this be a warning to you!
From what I can gather, it’s traditional to form them in all kinds of different shapes – rings, twists, snakes, balls and more. I chose to do a curly S shape and also a twisty one, but if your kids are joining in with the making you can go for any shape you like. Just don’t make the biscuits too thick or they wont cook through and the texture will be affected.
This quantity of dough makes about 50 biscuits – which sounds like a lot, I guess, but they keep for 4-5 days in an air-tight container, and we didn’t seem to have any trouble eating up a batch in a few days… If you want to make just a few, you could always try dividing by 2 or 3..
- 225g softened butter
- 225g granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 650g plain white flour
- 150g rice flour/fine cornmeal (semolina) (or if you don’t have either of these to hand, you can use 800g plain flour).
- 1-2 eggs, beaten, for the glaze
- sugar and sesame seeds for topping
- Preheat your oven to 190C, Gas Mark 5, 375F, and line baking sheets with baking parchment – you’ll need around four, or two in two batches.
- Beat together the butter & sugar until it is soft and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly after each addition.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir gently until thoroughly mixed. You should have a soft dough, which isn’t too sticky to handle. Depending on the size of the eggs you used, you might need to use a little more plain flour if the dough is sticky at this stage.
- With lightly floured hands, break off pieces of dough about the size of golf ball, and roll out to make a shape a little longer & fatter than a standard pencil. To make the twist, fold the dough in half and twist the 2 sections around each other. To make the S shape, just roll each end in opposite directions! Don’t I make it sound simple….!
- Lay the biscuits on the baking tray, leaving space for them to grow a bit.
- Brush the biscuits with beaten egg to glaze, then sprinkle with sugar or sesame seeds.
- Bake in your preheated oven until they are golden brown. This takes about 15 minutes in my fan assisted oven.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack. Then pack in an airtight box to store.
These are delicious with mid-morning cuppa, and I think they’d be fabulous for spring and summer picnics, because they pack up really easily, and they’re not too messy…
Hope you enjoy these – and Happy Easter everybody. xx