Coconut Cream Pie

20170418_110650When I think of no-bake pies, coconut cream is hands down my favorite (lemon being a close second). I have fond memories of the sprawling collection of pies my grandparents would serve at every holiday. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter we would always have a banana cream, pumpkin, chocolate ambrosia, mincemeat, and coconut cream pie. The pies would always be ordered from a local buffet called Bishop’s. Unfortunately, Bishop’s has long been closed and I have not had a coconut cream pie quite the same since. When the craving would call there is always a variety in the supermarket freezer section but they are never the same as freshly made.

20170418_110205I recall when I was a pre-teen (about 17 years ago), I attempted to make a coconut cream pie from scratch. I remember the taste being off and I never attempted to make it again since I could always count on the holidays to quench my craving. Since moving away from my hometown and the closure of Bishop’s I decided to make another attempt as an adult and serve this pie for Easter.

20170418_110216I believe my mistake all those years ago was from using coconut extract to flavor the filling. This time I decided to steep coconut in a blend of half-and-half and milk as my base for the filling. I strained out the raw coconut with cheesecloth, resulting in a smooth, flavorful custard that harbors a bit fewer calories and saturated fat. Add a homemade whipped cream topping and you have a dreamy mile-high coconut cream pie worth every second spent in the kitchen!

Coconut Cream Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen (9 inch) Deep-Dish Pie Crust
  • 2 cups 1% Low-Fat Milk
  • 1 cup Half-and-Half
  • 1 ½ cups flaked Sweetened Coconut
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 4 large Egg Yolks
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup flaked Sweetened Coconut; toasted

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven according to package directions of the pie crust. Bake the pie crust according to the package directions for a chilled/no-bake pie. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add 1 ½ cups coconut and vanilla extract. Bring milk mixture to a simmer then immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze over the bowl to release any extra moisture. Discard the coconut solids.
  3. Whisk together the 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until smooth. Place the pan in a large bowl filled with ice for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour to set.
  4. While the pie chills prepare the whipped topping. Chill a large bowl and the beaters of a hand mixer in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Whip the cream in the chilled bowl with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Be sure you do not over mix! Chill until the pie filling is set.
  5. To assemble the pie, spread the whipped cream over the set custard filling. Top with the toasted coconut just before serving. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: KATHY KITCHENS DOWNIE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

20170227_000907Cheesecake is a delightful dessert rich in flavor and smooth on the palate. As much as I enjoy a slice of cheesecake I absolutely despise making it on my own. Cheesecake is up there on my list with Creme Brulee & Souffles when it comes to a severe inclination to avoid said recipes. It is not that I can’t make them it is just more tedious and I don’t enjoy making them like I do cakes and cookies. Baking is an outlet for me to reduce stress. Cheesecakes tend to create stress by wondering if the darn thing is going to crack despite doing everything correctly. There is only so many times you can get scalded by the hot water bath before you throw even cooking out the window. However, after taking a look at what I have prepared lately I was starting to see too much repetition. I decided I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and give myself a challenge like I had when in culinary school. The first item that came to my mind was the dreaded cheesecake.

20170227_001556My favorite flavor of cheesecake is cherry and I have made it a thousand times. My love of cherry cheesecake in particular stems from my childhood when I would make the No-Bake Jello brand Cherry Cheesecake box mix. Although it was a heck of a lot easier cheesecake to make, it wasn’t necessarily a real cheesecake (probably why I enjoyed baking it growing up). Besides the taste the cherries lend cheesecake, I also love the appearance. The red is a great contrast to the light cheesecake base and makes for a stunning dessert every time. I wanted to replicate this stunning look but with something other than cherries. That is where cranberries come into play.

20170226_172628I had some leftover cranberries frozen at their peak and needed to use them up so it seemed like a perfect fit. I made this for Valentine’s Day but it can be made for many other events such as anniversaries, Christmas, Independence Day, or even Go Red for Women parties which bring awareness to heart health. Although this is a skinnier recipe than traditional cheesecakes, I highly doubt the American Heart Association would define it as a heart healthy recipe. On average, cheesecakes similar to this one run about 575 calories and 22 grams of saturated fat while this cheesecake is 321 calories and 6 grams saturated fat (saving over 250 calories and 15 grams saturated fat per slice).

Although I enjoyed this lightened up version of a traditional cheesecake I would make a few changes next time to appeal more to my own taste. I think I would prefer a regular graham cracker crust to the chocolate, despite my love of the stunning color contrasts the chocolate crust provides. If you follow the recipe as is you will witness how much a simple swirl of tart cranberries provides an elegant touch to rich filling encased in a chocolate graham crust. Enjoy!

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (thaw if frozen)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Raspberry Liqueur (Chambord or Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka)
  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 12 oz.(2 ½ pkg.) Block Style 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese; softened
  • 1 cup Plain Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 2 large Egg Whites

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Wrap outside and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil (or place in a turkey size oven bag and seal at top). Grease pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place crackers in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Drizzle with oil and pulse until moistened. Press mixture into bottom and ½ inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Place cranberries, sugar, liqueur, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 8 minutes or until cranberries have softened and mixture is syrupy. Cool for 20 minutes. Puree mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or pour contents into a food processor and pulse 1 minute.
  4. Combine 1 cup sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with stand or hand mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Add the whole eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the 2 egg whites at high-speed until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling & swirl together using the tip of a knife. Place springform pan into a metal baking pan larger than the springform pan. Add hot water to the pan to create a depth of about 2 inches. Bake for 55 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake barely jiggles when pan is touched.
  6. Turn off oven. Cool cheesecake in closed oven for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and run knife around the outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ANN TAYLOR PITTMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Honey Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

20161221_134325The cookie section of the dessert table is a prominent feature for almost every culture’s Christmas celebration. Whether it is Gingerbread in America, Pizzelles in Italy, Melomakarona in Greece, Madeleines in France, Kringla in Norway, or Shortbread in Scotland cookies are a must for every family to prepare. In our house we always make sugar cookies cut out in fun Christmas shapes and decorated with different colored frosting and edible adornments.

20161221_132755Aside from our traditional offerings I always try to offer a new cookie for everyone to try and I also share it here with all of you. Typically I make several different cookies around Christmas but this year I have only made two because that is all a 3-year-old and newborn will afford me. I will be making other sweets but cookies were a place I could shave down my offerings and save time.

20161221_135214Now Snickerdoodles are no secret around the holidays. Many Americans already add them to their cookie trays, even swapping out the cinnamon sugar for festive red and green decorating sugar. Although their exact origin is unknown it is believed that Snickerdoodles are German in origin. Although I could have easily stuck with the traditional recipe (as there is nothing wrong with it) I always like to try new things, hence the addition of honey almond butter. I came across some Justin’s brand Honey Almond Butter on clearance at my local supermarket and couldn’t pass up the deal. With a bit of experimenting, it turns out that the addition of almond butter to a classic snickerdoodle makes a fantastic cookie.

The honey almond butter provides a richer twist on the classic recipe while still retaining the signature soft interior and crispy cinnamon-sugar coating that has made this cookie a lasting favorite. Not only is this cooking satisfying but it is also a healthier option to provide for those who may not want to indulge in the extremely calorie/fat laced frosted sugar cookies this Christmas. Merry Christmas and Enjoy!

Honey Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 3 oz. Whipped 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 tbsp. Honey Almond Butter (such as Justin’s Brand)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Egg Yolks; lightly beaten
  • 4.75 oz. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 oz. Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • Cinnamon-Sugar; for topping

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place the brown sugar, cream cheese, unsalted butter, and almond butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a stand or hand mixer beat the mixture on high-speed until well combined. Add the vanilla and egg yolks and beat again until well blended.
  3. In another large bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.
  4. Using a rounded tablespoon, drop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle tops of the dough rounds adequately with cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating cookies halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on the pans for 1 minute. Remove from pans and place on wire racks to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and cinnamon-sugar. Serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cookie)

nutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 4 Smart Points, 3 Points Plus, or 2 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MICHAELA ROSENTHAL
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Iced Gingerbread Cookies

2For many, Gingerbread is a holiday tradition. Some families prefer to make cookies in their favorite shapes while others tackle on the construction of a gingerbread house. Although gingerbread is traditionally consumed in and around the holidays and then forgotten for another year, it is also great to enjoy all winter long. You can easily extend these holiday favorites all winter by simply changing the cutter used. I opted for a star, but some other fun cutters for winter include mittens, snowflakes, and even squirrels.

3As great as finding fun winter cutters can be sometimes one is simply too exhausted to meddle with cut out cookies at all. If that is the case with any of you, this recipe is the answer to your prayers as it also makes perfect slice-and-bake cookies (no rolling, cutting, or mess required). If you are going to forgo the cutters, simply shape the dough into two (8 inch) round logs. Chill the logs for 2 hours and then make slices ¼ in. thick. Proceed with the recipe as normal after that.

4Another great feature of these cookies is how far in advance you can prepare them. I recommend preparing no more than 5 days ahead and storing them in an airtight container until ready to decorate. Cookies may be decorated only 1 day ahead of serving. Unfortunately, the downfall of these cookies comes after they are decorated, as the icing is fragile and can easily be damaged during storage and transport. Place a piece of wax paper between each layer and place new layers gently upon previous layers in order to reduce the odds of damage.

1This recipe will make approximately 4 dozen cookies and each serving allows 2 cookies to be consumed (making you feel more indulgent when you really are not). I truly enjoyed sharing this recipe with you and hope you can try it sometime this winter for your own family and friends. If not this winter, I hope you will return next year in order to prepare for your own holiday celebrations. Kids and adults alike will surely enjoy them!

Skinny Iced Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. All-Purpose Flour (approximately 2 ¼ cups)
  • 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Butter; softened
  • 3 tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • 1 tbsp. Milk (1%)

Procedure:

  1. Whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine brown sugar, butter, and molasses. Beat the mixture on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes. Add the egg and continue to beat mixture until combined. Adjust the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture, beating until well combined. Divide the dough equally into two portions. Gently press each dough half into a circle on a sheet of plastic wrap (dough will be sticky). Wrap dough tightly and chill for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll one dough portion to ¼ in. thickness. Use your preferred cutter to form cookies. Place cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet 1 inch apart from each other. Repeat process with both dough portions, re-rolling and cutting as necessary, until you have approximately 48 cookies. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Remove cookies from oven and let stand for a minute or two. Remove cookies from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Once cookies have cooled completely, prepare the icing. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe icing on cookies as desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(2 Cookies)

NutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 2 Smart Points, 2 Points Plus, or 1 Traditional Point

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MARCIA WHYTE SMART
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Spumoni Cookies

DSC_0323Like many, I feel completely exhausted after the holidays. I love the winter holiday season but it truly does know how to wipe a person out. I feel like ever since Halloween in October it has been non-stop craziness preparing for whatever festivity comes next. If the typical holidays are not enough, the addition of my daughter now fills January with two more celebrations I never had to plan for before. January 17th is my daughter’s name day and January 24th is her birthday. For those that do not know, a name day is a Greek tradition of celebrating the name of the Christian saint you are named after on that saint’s feast day. So now that all of those celebrations have since passed, I finally feel some ease until Easter but it has left me extremely fatigued. It is so bad I hardly feel like doing anything each day, but of course we all know that is not possible with a 2 year old and 100 pounds of med school homework.

DSC_0318Since my energy has been sapped as of late it has really took its toll on my baking hobby. When I do manage to summon enough energy to cook outside of making breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my family it needs to be something that isn’t too strenuous. I always used to be against taking baking shortcuts but now that I am a mom and full-time student, any shortcut I can find that still tastes good is acceptable. I even recall as a teen trashing my grandfather’s shortcut cookie recipe that he made with a boxed cake mix. After they were made he had me try one. They were of course delicious and it was then he told me something that has stuck to this day. He said, “As long as you know you can make it from scratch and have it taste good, it doesn’t hurt to take a shortcut every once and awhile.” This has been my motto as of late. I know I can make great cookies from scratch and have done so since I was old enough to see over the kitchen counter, so it doesn’t hurt to take a shortcut when I need one. This recipe is one of those shortcuts.

DSC_0322The reason this recipe is considered a short cut is because it uses store bought sugar cookie dough. If you are completely against the idea of anything store bought, you can make your own batch of sugar cookie dough as I have also done when I have more time and energy, just be sure your sugar cookie recipe produces about 2 pounds of dough. I prefer to take the shortcut method with these cookies though because they are rather involved compared to others already and making your own sugar cookie dough will make the process that much longer. I know anyone with a busy lifestyle will surely appreciate this shortcut method that not only takes less time but is also a special, elegant looking cookie.

DSC_0315What makes these cookies so impressive are the three different layers of color and flavor. This is the spumoni influence on the cookie. Spumoni originates in Italy and is traditionally found as ice cream. Spumoni is relative to Neapolitan, with three flavors, traditionally being chocolate, pistachio, and cherry. I do not care for pistachios so I altered the traditional make-up and used walnuts instead. You can certainly swap out an equal amount of pistachios for the walnuts in this recipe. Even though Spumoni has pretty much disappeared in Italy, it is still much loved in the U.S. with good reason. Give them a try and have a taste of forgotten Italy.

Note: These cookies use three separate doughs merged into one to make the tri-colored appearance. I roll the dough into ropes, place them alongside each other, and roll flat with a rolling pin to merge the dough. You can also roll out each dough ball into equal length and thickness then stack the dough on top of each other and slice with a sharp knife to get a similar effect. Whichever method you choose, be sure to chill the dough slightly to make it easier to get uniform cookies. This recipe produces approximately 3 dozen cookies.

 

Spumoni Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 (16 oz.) tubes Refrigerated Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 12 Maraschino Cherries; drained, stemmed, & chopped fine
  • ¼ cup Walnuts; toasted & chopped fine
  • ¼ cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips; melted & slightly cooled
  • Red & Green Food Coloring

 Formula:

  1. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, approximately 1 hour. Place both tubes of cookie dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add ¾ cup of flour and mix on low until combined. Separate dough into three equal portions and place one portion back into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the remaining ¼ cup of flour to the dough portion in the mixer bowl. Mix until just incorporated. Add 5 drops of red food coloring and chopped cherries to the dough. Mix until well combined. Shape the dough into a ball and set aside.
  2. Wipe out the same mixing bowl and place back on the stand mixer. Add the second portion of dough to the mixer bowl. Add 5 drops of green food coloring and the chopped walnuts. Mix until well combined. Shape dough into a ball and set aside.
  3. Wipe out the same mixing bowl one last time and place back on the stand mixer. Add the final portion of dough to the mixer bowl. Add the melted chocolate to the dough and mix until well combined. Shape dough into ball. Wrap all three dough portions in plastic wrap and refrigerate until slightly firm, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Divide each chilled dough portion in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into a 12 inch rope. Place 1 rope of each color side by side on the floured surface and gently press together. Refrigerate ropes until slightly firm, approximately 10 minutes. Remove chilled ropes from refrigerator and on a floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten the cookies and merge the dough ropes together. Once rolled, use a knife to cut 1 inch wide cookies. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Repeat until all dough is used and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Bake chilled cookies until set but not browned, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Be sure to rotate baking sheets halfway through cooking time for even baking. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for approximately 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored for approximately 1 week.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: DONNA BARDOCZ
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2015

Melomakarona

DSC_0242Winter has officially set in and with the bitter cold comes a desire to stay bundled up in bed under the warm covers all day. Having a daughter that is about to turn two in just a few weeks prevents me from exercising such a dream but it does still keep me indoors. Although Florida is not as cold as the rest of the country, having lows in the upper 30’s and highs in the mid 50’s is extremely chilly for us with thinned blood. I was born and raised in Iowa so I was used to the negative temperatures this time of year, but surely after years of being a Floridian my blood has quickly thinned like the crushed ice pellets of a slushy on a hot summer day.

Being that I am stuck inside it leaves me one of only a few options: bake, write, or watch endless episodes of Sofia the First with my daughter. I have elected to write (and still have endless episodes of Sofia the First playing in the background). The recipe I present to you today is another cookie I baked for Christmas that I hadn’t the time to get posted prior to Christmas. Melomakarona (Greek Honey Cookies) are yet another traditional Greek Christmas sweet. I will warn you these little gems are extremely popular because they are extremely addictive. Melomakarona happen to be my favorite Greek cookie I have tried so far. Unfortunately with such fine gems there will always be a catch and these are no exception. Melomakarona tend to be a little more time consuming than other sweets I tend to post but they are ever so worth it. I guarantee once you take a bite of this moist and flavorful cookie soaked in sweet honey syrup you will surely be satisfied with your work.

DSC_0245Now that I dropped the bit of bad news regarding these cookies I can overcome any negativity with a positive. Not only do these cookies scent the house with a wonderful aroma, they are the most perfect cookie to prepare during the busy holiday season. I know I just stated they are more time consuming than other cookies so you are certainly wondering how I can then say they are perfect for the busiest and most stressful time of the year. I assure you I am not crazy. The reason I say they are perfect is because these cookies, although time consuming, can be made weeks in advance and still remain soft and fresh as the day they were made. In fact, it is best that they are made a bit in advance so that the honey syrup has enough time to penetrate the cookie and regain a bit of structure. If you try to serve these cookies right after they take a bath in the honey syrup they will crumble and dissolve into a mess in your hands the second you take a bite (although it will be a finger-licking, delicious mess).

If you would like to be as authentic as possible with the Melomakarona, you will want to purchase Greek honey. I won’t lie this can be rather hard to find and a bit pricey so check out your local International market or shop for it online. You may certainly substitute regular honey but keep in mind the flavor will not be the same. This is due to the fact that Greek honey is extremely thick and made from bees that harvest most of their pollen from the thyme plant, imparting a specific flavor unique to Greek honey. For the final authentic touch, top each cookie with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and a pinch of cinnamon and clove right after they are removed from the honey bath. The cookies displayed in the photos however only have walnuts and cinnamon added since I skipped on the clove as my daughter finds the flavor too harsh if it is not baked into the product. Whichever way you choose to prepare these cookies, each will be guaranteed heaven and a joy to all on the holidays (or any day for that matter).

Note: Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. You will have a good remainder of honey syrup after soaking the cookies. I usually use the delicious syrup to top pancakes and toast but if you would not like leftovers you may cut the ingredients for the honey syrup in half to create a smaller yield.

DSC_0248Melomakarona

Syrup Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Water
  • 36 oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 18 oz. Greek Honey

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 5.5 oz. Thin Semolina
  • 18 oz. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Clove
  • 3 tbsp. Brandy or Cognac
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 3.5 oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 3.5 oz. Orange Juice
  • ½ tbsp. Baking Soda
  • 3.5 oz. Water
  • 4.5 oz. Olive Oil
  • 4.5 oz. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 oz. Greek Honey
  • Zest of 1 Orange

Garnish Ingredients:

  • 7 oz. Walnuts; toasted & chopped fine
  • Powdered Cinnamon
  • Powdered Clove (optional)

 

Formula:

  1. To prepare the honey syrup: In a large saucepan add all of the syrup ingredients except for the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 to 5 minutes (mixture will foam so pay close attention). Remove from heat and add in the honey. Stir to combine then set syrup aside to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the cookie dough by adding the semolina, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove to a large bowl. Stir the mixture with a whisk to evenly distribute the spices. In another large bowl, add the brandy, vanilla, and granulated sugar. Measure out the orange juice into a large measuring cup. Hold the measuring cup over the large bowl with the brandy mixture. Add the baking soda to the orange juice, causing it to foam up and possibly over the rim of the measuring cup (depends how large the measuring cup is). After the orange juice mixture has finished foaming pour it into the bowl with the brandy mixture and whisk vigorously for 10 t0 20 seconds (if the orange juice mixture overflows the measuring cup while it is reacting, begin whisking the second it overflows into the bowl and continue to whisk until you pour all of the orange juice mixture into the bowl of the brandy mixture). Add the water, oils, honey, and orange zest and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the flour mixture into the brandy/orange juice mixture. Knead the dough lightly by hand until the ingredients are just combined and the dough feels smooth and soft. Be sure you do not overwork the dough or add any extra flour because the cookies will become tough. The dough will feel oily and is normal.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. To shape the Melomakarona, pinch a piece of dough about the size of a walnut and shape into a ball. Once in a ball use your palms to shape the dough ball into an oblong egg shape. Place the shaped cookie on the prepared baking sheet. Press down lightly with the tines of a fork. Continue shaping the rest of the dough. Bake cookies until they are lightly brown and cooked through, approximately 20 minutes.
  5. When the Melomakarona are removed from the oven, let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute so they are easier to pick up. Working in batches, place the cookies into the cooled syrup. Flip the cookies while in the syrup with a slotted spoon for about 20 seconds (longer if you want a more syrupy cookie). Remove the soaked cookies with the slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle them immediately with the chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and clove (if using).

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2015

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.

 

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PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

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