Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

20170726_155542In the south, banana pudding is a quintessential summer dessert. It is a valued traditional fare like cheesecake is to New Yorkers. Despite all of its southern charm, traditional banana pudding harbors an enormous amount of calories and saturated fat. As much as I love traditional recipes they don’t quite fit into a healthy lifestyle I try to lead. I needed to find balance, a way to slim down traditional recipes without losing their classic flavors.

20170726_155602I usually have bananas on hand because both of my daughter’s love them. Problem is both of my daughter’s love them and the second I use them for a recipe they will request them all day and refuse to eat anything else. Thankfully, my preschooler has been particularly picky lately and has not been requesting bananas while my youngest has had tummy troubles from the formula to milk transition and definitely does not need anymore binding foods. This caused my bunch of bananas to hit the overly ripe stage and make them free to use for baking.

20170726_151850Now that I had bananas I had to figure out how to shave down the average traditional recipe’s 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, and 19 grams saturated fat without losing the taste everyone falls in love with upon first bite. My first idea was to enhance the banana flavor in order to compensate for the loss of richness sacrificed along with the heavy cream. I know from my culinary school days that when you roast a banana the naturally occurring sugars concentrate and take on a caramelized flavor. This would allow me to boost the flavor of the custard and reduce the amount of added sugar as well. The only problem with this approach is the texture of the roasted bananas becomes too soft to slice for the banana layers that adorn the custard base. My solution was to roast only the bananas needed for the custard as they would be mashed anyway and keep the sliced bananas fresh so they would retain their shape and texture.

20170726_152128To finish up my recipe makeover I swapped 2% milk for the heavy cream or half & half found in traditional recipes. The added richness from the roasted bananas more than made up for the taste lost along with the fat. For the topping I used light whipping cream over heavy cream to save even more calories and fat. Even though the whipped topping doesn’t hold a stiff peak like it would have if made with heavy cream, it is not necessary for this recipe. After all the tweaking, this recipe saves over 500 calories, 44 grams of fat, and almost 17 grams saturated fat per serving without losing a bit of good ole’ southern charm!

20170726_155634Note: If you are not serving the entire pudding right away you will want to prepare just enough whipped cream for what you are serving rather than spreading the full amount across the entire pudding as the final layer. This whipped cream is not stabilized in order to save calories and fat so it will lose its hold over time (approximately 2 hours of holding time). Rather than ruining the entire pudding due to weeping, simply whip up some fresh whipped cream with each serving.

 

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe Bananas; unpeeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 45 Vanilla Wafers; divided

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully peel and place roasted bananas in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth or use an immersion blender. Peel and cut remaining bananas into ½-inch thick slices.
  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the newly combined mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding mixture. Spread 1 cup of custard evenly into the bottom of an 11-x-7 inch baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of the remaining custard over the banana slices. Repeat procedure by placing 20 vanilla wafers, remaining banana slices, and remaining custard. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the pudding layers. Crush the remaining 5 vanilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SIDNEY FRY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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Tsoureki Rolls

20170416_173641The Easter season has come and gone for another year so today I bring you one of the items I served at our table. Tsoureki is a very popular sweet bread in Greece similar in texture to a French brioche. It is traditionally served at Pascha (Easter) but is also commonly consumed at other holidays or as a daily accompaniment to coffee/tea.

20170416_172825Most Greeks will tell you that making your own tsoureki is a daunting task to perfect, which is why many simply purchase it from local Greek bakeries verses making it homemade. I myself have purchased the bread for many years since I always place more focus on preparing other traditional offerings. However this year I decided to take up the task of making tsoureki homemade for Easter and the process honestly did not live up to the horror portrayed.

20170415_143020The perfect Tsoureki is a buttery soft yet flaky dough flavored with the distinct aromatic spices ground masticha (mastic) and ground mahlepi. Masticha or Mastic is a tree resin found on the Greek island of Chios. Mahlepi or mahleb is a spice derived from ground cherry seeds. These two spices are what give tsoureki its distinct taste and alluring sweet aroma. Without them the bread becomes no different from a French brioche.

20170416_173625If you are a regular follower of mine you’re probably wondering what my take on this traditional bread will be. Although I love tsoureki in its traditional loaf form I always like to make a fresh twist to established recipes as my own signature of sorts. With tsoureki, I sought to streamline the traditional braided design into a more portable portion. Tsoureki is traditionally braided into a long loaf or a crown shape. For my recipe, I portion out the dough into equal sized rolls and braid them the traditional way. I then place each braided roll into a muffin tin. This strategy makes it easy to provide the perfect amount of tsoureki for the expected amount of guests for holidays and is a far less messy alternative for kids, especially since they do not have patience to wait for a slice to be cut. If you want to try tsoureki and share it with family and friends, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. You will be delightfully surprised at how great of a roll this is!

Tsoureki Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Dry Yeast
  • 1/3 cup Warm Milk (100° to 110°)
  • 15.75 oz. (about 3 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Ground Mahlepi (may also be labeled mahlab/mahleb)
  • ½ tsp. Ground Masticha (may also be labeled mastic)
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 4 Large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • 6 ½ tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened & cut into large cubes
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • Sliced Almonds; optional

Preparation:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine yeast and warm milk. Dissolve yeast in milk and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, mahlepi, masticha, salt, and eggs. Add flour mixture to the milk mixture. Set mixer to low-speed and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Continue to beat dough on low speed for 5 minutes or until dough is soft and elastic and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Set mixer to medium speed and add half of butter to the dough until just incorporated. Add remaining butter cubes to dough and beat until incorporated. Continue to beat dough at medium speed for 4 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  4. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough into the bowl, turning to coat top. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place free from drafts for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Once risen, gently press two fingers into the dough. If indentation remains the dough has risen enough to proceed. If indentation does not remain allow more time to rise. Once indentation remains, punch dough down then form into a ball. Return dough to bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Uncover dough and let stand 90 minutes or until dough is at room temperature. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent it from drying out), cut dough into 6 equal pieces.
  6. Working with one piece at a time, break into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long log. Pinch together the 3 logs at the top and braid down like you would hair. Pinch the end of the braid and pull braid into a ball formation, tucking the end of the braid underneath the ball to secure. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portions to make 24 rolls total. Place rolls into cups of a muffin tin coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine water and egg white; stir with a whisk. Gently brush rolls with egg mixture. If using almonds, gently press 3-4 onto the top of each roll. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Chocolate Baklava Bites

20170325_105856Ζητω Η Ελλαδα!!! Χρονια πολλα Ελλαδα!  Long live Greece and Happy Greek Independence Day to all the Greeks around the world! Today is a national holiday in Greece as it marks the start of the Greek war for Independence (March 25, 1821) from the Ottoman Empire (Turks). As a tribute to this important day in Greek history it is only natural I had to make one of if not the most famous Greek dessert around the world…baklava.

20170325_105650As with everything I bake I try to put my own creative spin on it and these mini baklava bites are no exception. I know my version of baklava will probably drive all the yiayia’s (Greek for grandmother) crazy because it does not resemble anything to the traditional baklava they are used to making. However, I feel that given a taste of these bites even my harshest critics would find it hard to resist admitting how great these came out.

20170325_110032-(1)Traditional baklava is a blend of toasted nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, or walnuts depending on the baker) layered between buttery sheets of fillo then soaked in honey syrup. For my version, I decided to add a hint of chocolate because who doesn’t love chocolate. In order to incorporate the traditional flavor provided by ground hazelnuts, I used some leftover Greek Merenda spread, which is the Greek equivalent of Nutella, to provide a rich hazelnut chocolate flavor.

20170325_105905For such a small dessert these bites do not lack any of the flavor or richness found in traditional recipes. They are great to serve at large gatherings because one recipe makes 30 and their bite size cuts down on the messiness of cutting into and eating the original. I recommend trying this modern version of the classic Greek dessert! Kali Orexi!

Chocolate Baklava Bites

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Walnuts
  • ¾ cup Almonds
  • ½ cup Honey (preferably Greek)
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup Hazlenut-Chocolate Spread (such as Merenda or Nutella)
  • 2 boxes Mini Fillo Shells; 15 shells each

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange walnuts & almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden & fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Allow nuts to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, add the honey, water, and cinnamon stick to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until honey dissolves. Continue to cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 230°, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. Discard cinnamon stick.
  3. Add the slightly cooled nuts to the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pulse to combine.
  4. Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until melted. Place mini fillo shells into wells of 2 mini cupcake tins. Working quickly place 1 tsp. of melted hazelnut spread into the bottom of each fillo shell. Next, top each fillo shell with 1 tsp. of the nut mixture. Bake in oven until filling is hot and fillo is golden, about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour 1 tsp. of honey syrup into each fillo cup while warm. Allow syrup to soak in and then add another 1 tsp. to each cup. Refrigerate at least 5 hours but preferably overnight for flavors to develop.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Christstollen

20161230_125955With the holidays over and a new year already rung in I can calmly and fondly look back over the past month’s chaotic fun. While everyone else was making Christmas cookies galore I was making a German traditional pastry called the Christstollen. The Christstollen goes by many names. Sometimes it is simply called Stollen, other times it is called Weihnachtsstollen (Christmas Stollen), and Americans know it as the dreaded fruitcake….but no matter the name they are all one in the same pastry that is made during Advent/Christmas time each year.

20161230_130118Now although Christstollen is technically a fruitcake certainly do not confuse it with the horrific impostors often found in the states. Christstollen is a rich yeast dough filled with brandy-soaked fruit, toasted almonds, and finished with a sweet touch of glaze. There is a reason why Christstollen is one of Germany’s most famous and long-standing Christmas confections. German recipes for stollen date all the way back to the 13th century. Although Stollen recipes have been slightly modified over the years as products like butter became more common and affordable to use the overall formula and resulting taste remained the same.

20161230_130001Now you may wonder why Stollen is typically made by families only during the Advent/Christmas season. Traditionally, the bread gets its shape because it is supposed to resemble a swaddled baby Jesus. Although it is a Christmas bread many bakeries will still bake Christstollen year round and simply call it stollen instead of naming it after Christ. Since the holidays have already passed you can do the same and enjoy a timeless German tradition.

Christstollen

Ingredients:

  • 16.9 oz. All-Purpose Flour (3 ¾ cups); divided
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 tbsp. Brandy
  • ½ cup Dried Cherries
  • ½ cup Golden Raisins
  • ½ cup Reduced-Fat Milk (2%); warmed to 100°-110°
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 pkg. Dry Yeast
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 2 Large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • ½ cup Sliced Almonds; toasted
  • 1 ½ tsp. Grated Lemon Rind
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 tbsp. Reduced-Fat Milk (2%); divided
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup Powdered Sugar

Preparation:

  1. Weigh 15.75 ounces (approximately 3 ½ cups) flour in a large bowl. Add salt and nutmeg. In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine orange juice and brandy. Microwave brandy mixture for 45 seconds. Add cherries and raisins; let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile combine warm milk, sugar, and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir butter and eggs into yeast mixture. Add the juice mixture, almonds, and lemon rind. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding the remaining ¼ cup flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to hands (expect the dough to feel sticky).
  3. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough. Divide dough into 2 equal portions and roll each into an 11  8 inch oval. Fold 1 short end toward the center and fold the other short end toward the center until it overlaps the first end. Place loaves seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise again for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine 1 tablespoon milk and 1 egg. Uncover shaped dough and brush the top and sides gently with the milk mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on wire racks.
  5. When ready to serve combine 1 tablespoon milk and powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Drizzle over loaves. Serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Slice)

nutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 6 Smart Points, 4 Points Plus, or 3 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JULIANNA GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Easy Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

20160927_144943October is just around the corner and many of the typical fall favorites have already made their annual debut. For most, October signifies the time to use or buy the traditional flavors of fall (pumpkin, apples, & warm spices) in everything from food to candles and soaps. For those with a German heritage, it is also the time to anticipate Oktoberfest. Every year in October, Germany holds an annual festival in Munich called Oktoberfest. The festival hosts attractions and serves up traditional food to visitors from around the world. The most notable feature is the consumption of Oktoberfest beer. Although the main festival takes place in Germany, there are many festivals across the globe that mimic the original and allow people to celebrate the tradition no matter their location.

20160927_150609When attending the Oktoberfest near my home in Central Florida there are three traditional items I can’t leave without trying: a Frankfurter covered in sauerkraut, a pretzel, and Apfelstrudel. Of the three, the Apfelstrudel is the most important to me because it is something I cannot easily replicate at home. The light and flaky dough is so hard to manage that I have only attempted to make the traditional German version twice. You literally need a large table, tablecloth, and a ton of patience to stretch the dough until you can literally read a piece of paper through it but without tearing a hole in it. This is no easy task folks I assure you. That is why most pastry shops in Germany have switched to using phyllo dough to replace the labor intensive traditional way.

20160927_150626To be quite honest even phyllo dough can be tricky to work with, which is why when I wanted an easier version to replicate at home I decided to use puff pastry. You can achieve a similar light and flaky crust as the traditional dough or phyllo, but without all of the hassle. One day when I am feeling more adventurous and I don’t have a preschooler and infant taking up the majority of my time, I will attempt to make strudel again with phyllo in place of the puff pastry. For now though, this will be my easy go to recipe when I want a taste of Oktoberfest at any time of the year.

20160927_144740

Easy Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 2 pounds (6 medium) Granny Smith Apples; peeled & thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Golden Raisins
  • 2 sheets Frozen Puff Pastry; thawed
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, apples, and raisins. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 10 minutes or until the apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll each puff pastry sheet into a 15 x 12 inch rectangle. Using a slotted spoon, place an equal amount of the apple mixture along the long edge of each pastry sheet (leaving a 1 inch margin on all sides). Roll up the pastry in a jelly-roll fashion. Tuck edges under and gently press the seam to seal. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Whisk egg and water until combined. Brush mixture over top and sides of each strudel. Cut diagonal slits across the top of each strudel for ventilation.
  5. Place nuts and granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Sprinkle each strudel with the nut mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Bake strudels for 25 minutes or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes; slice and serve with desired amount of vanilla ice cream.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Boozy Bananas Foster Bread

20160910_120126Bananas are a very beneficial fruit. They are cheap, easy to find, and contain nutrients that benefit our heart, digestive system, and weight loss goals. However, bananas are notorious for turning bad in the blink of an eye. The ugly dark brown spots on the peel are a sign of a mushy, overly sweet banana on the inside that very few find appetizing. As unappealing as an overripe banana may be, they are perfect for banana bread.

20160910_121250Banana bread is the perfect go to recipe for using up bananas that would otherwise go to waste. As much as I love the standard banana bread recipe, it can get repetitive rather quickly. This recipe, however, is an adult interpretation of the standard inspired by the famous bananas foster dessert.

Bananas Foster is a delightful dessert created by Owen Brennan of Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the early 1950’s, Brennan asked his chef to create a dessert for the restaurant that included bananas because New Orleans was the major port of entry for the imported fruit at the time. Brennan wanted to showcase the fruit so Bananas Foster was born.

20160910_121055As a tribute to the New Orleans favorite, this recipe swaps out all of the granulated sugar for light brown sugar and cooks the mashed bananas in a blend of butter and dark rum. To give that extra boozy touch without having to set anything on fire, the bread is topped off with a glaze of even more butter and rum. Although banana bread is typically a breakfast accompaniment, this recipe is decadent enough to be served for dessert as well.

Note:

  • This recipe only yields one loaf of bread. The loaf produces 16 servings with one slice for each serving. If you require more bread you can easily double the recipe.
  • This bread freezes well but be sure to thaw the loaf thoroughly before adding the glaze.

Boozy Bananas Foster Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Mashed Ripe Banana
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed & divided
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted & divided
  • ¼ cup Dark Rum; divided
  • 1/3 cup Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Ground Flaxseed
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine banana, ½ cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons melted butter, and 3 tablespoons rum in a nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Bring mixture just to a boil then remove from heat to cool. Transfer cooled banana mixture to a large bowl. Add the yogurt, remaining ½ cup of brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until combined.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and beat until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan and place on the wire rack.
  4. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon rum, and powdered sugar. Stir mixture until well blended. Drizzle over warm bread. Serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Slice)

boozy-banana-bread-nutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 8 Smart Points, 5 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Kourabiedes

DSC_0172Every year in the past I have provided readers several non-traditional holiday cookie recipes that are great to offer on holiday dessert tables or pass at holiday related functions. These non-traditional cookies help bring variety to the plethora of sugar cookies typically found decorating dinner tables or being passed at holiday affairs. I am not in any way discounting a sugar cookies worthiness of being served during the holidays as I too love them and look forward to my mother’s every year. However, I do like to try new things and venture outside of the typical so it is always nice to have something new alongside of a childhood favorite.

With that said, I slacked this year and only brought readers one non-traditional offering and it wasn’t even a cookie, it was the Greek jam tart Pasta Flora. I did make several cookies during the holidays that most families would not consider part of the norm so I would like to share these with you. Although you will not have the time to make them for any holiday this year as they have all since passed, perhaps you may try them now and decide if you would like to offer them next year at your holiday events.

DSC_0179The cookie for this entry that I am anxious to share is a classic Christmas dessert staple for Greeks and is known by the name Kourabiedes. These festive, soft delights are butter cookies drenched in the sweetness of confectioners’ sugar (also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar). My daughter devoured so many to the point I began to doubt the study that confirmed sugar does not make kids hyper. Along with attracting kids like a magnet, they are very easy to prepare and will add the perfect holiday theme to any table with their snowy appearance.

Kourabiedes

(Greek Christmas Butter Cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 9 oz. Butter; room temperature
  • 3.5 oz. Confectioners’ Sugar; plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Ouzo or Brandy
  • 4 oz. Sliced Almonds; toasted
  • 16 oz. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder

 

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  2. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until it becomes light and creamy. Add the vanilla and ouzo/brandy, mixing until just incorporated. Add the toasted almonds and again mix until just incorporated.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and the baking powder. Do not skip this step as it is detrimental to the final texture of the cookies. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture to the creamed butter in 3 additions. Mix together until the dough is combined, soft, and easy to work with. If the dough appears too sticky and hard to work with, add up to no more than 2 ounces of sifted flour until the desired texture is achieved.
  4. To form the Kourabiedes, roll 1 to 2 tbsp. of dough into a ball between your palms and place on the prepared baking sheet. In the middle of the cookie dough ball, push down with your finger to form a small dimple in the surface. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie on the baking sheet. Bake cookies for about 20 minutes or until they take on a very light golden hue. Do not overcook them as they should not look golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Do not try to remove them from the sheet immediately as the cookies will break if they are still warm and they will not be thoroughly cooked.
  5. Once the cookies have cooled, remove them from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Continue forming Kourabiedes as in step 4 until all the dough has been used. Once all the cookies have cooled completely, place a few cups of confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, roll the cookies in the sugar so that the sugar coats on all sides. Before serving, place the cookies on a platter and sift a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar over the cookies.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2015