Traditional Greek Holiday Cookies

Hi friends. My mom and I had a great little girls day last week where we baked up about 450 cookies (yikes!) for the holidays. While I could probably eat them all myself, we made as many as we did because we like to give most of them away to friends and family every year. Who doesn’t love receiving tins and platters of cookies, am I right?

The two types of cookies we made are called melomakarona and kourabiedes. Melomakarona are dark brown honey cookies topped with walnuts, and kourabiedes are sugar cookies coated in… you guessed it, sugar.

I will be coming back with recipes and directions for these cookies at a later time, but for today’s post I wanted to share the “behind the scenes” of the baking process. I snapped some photos as we were going along, as I think it’s so fun to watch the process progress. Let’s start with melomakarona.

fullsizerender-15The dough should be wrapped in some foil for about 10-15 minutes to let the ingredients blend/rest before starting.fullsizerender-5You can make whatever shape you want, but melomakarona are traditionally this kind of log design. We made two different types because of two different recipes. The round version are vegan!
fullsizerender-4Poking holes with your fork not only helps the cookie bake completely, but also aids in the absorption of the honey syrup.
fullsizerender-3The syrup should be made 3-4 hours in advance and set aside.fullsizerender-10You want to soak the cookies in the syrup immediately after they come out of the oven.ย That’s when they absorb the most.fullsizerender-13Crush the walnuts and add cinnamon for the topping.fullsizerender-6Sprinkle on top!fullsizerender-2We had some craziness going on…
fullsizerender-11So. Stinkin’. Good.

Time for kourabiedes! The dough looks similar and you want to let it rest the way you would with the other cookies.fullsizerender-8Make about 1in balls – again, you can make these into any shape you want.fullsizerenderOnce they’re cooked, let them cool completely. The sugar will get wet and nasty if they’re the slightest bit warm.
fullsizerender-14Coat the top and bottom.fullsizerender-1Add as much sugar as you want. I love adding a lot!fullsizerender-9Gimme some oven lovin’.

Cheesecake Pops

Well my friends, I have some good news and I have some bad news. Which would you like first? Oh, the bad news? Sure. The bad news is, this is the last post for pop week. As a matter of fact, this is my last post for an actual week. Why you might ask? The good news, of course! I will be leaving for a trip to the Bahamas early tomorrow morning and therefore will not have internet access. To be honest, even if I do, I won’t be posting. Can you really blame me? I will, definitely however, take a ton of pictures. I will come back with lots of reviews of the food and maybe even share a dish that I learn while I am away.

But hey, until then, let’s feast!

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I adore easy recipes. If there is a shortcut to something, I will take it. With today’s recipe, I did just that. I cheated big time but it was so worth it.

As you will see, I bought an already made cheesecake. I will be sharing an actual recipe for that sometime soon that I will link back to this post, but until then — this will do. It saved me so much time and I still have half of it to eat as regular pieces (woohoo).

You’ll need:

  • Cheesecake
  • Wilton’s candy melts
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Styrofoam board/pop stand

Steps:

1. The first step is the hardest part of this whole thing. The problem with cheesecake is that the middle is so gooey (not a problem when eating, mmm) that it makes it difficult to work with when you’re trying to make little balls. I found that if you are able to scoop a good amount of the outer layer which isn’t as sticky, you will have a much easier time. I used a melon baller to scoop a small amount into my palm and then rolled it into a truffle. If you find that it’s way too sticky and you can’t roll them, you can drop the scoop into some graham cracker crumbles to form a light outer layer. Place on some waxed paper and refrigerate/freeze for at least one hour.

2. When you’re ready to coat, melt your chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. I used 2-3 melts per pop, so do the same depending on how many you made. Dip your stick in the chocolate then into your cheesecake ball. Then take the stick and submerge the ball into the chocolate. Smooth with the back of a spoon if necessary. Place on your styrofoam board/pop stand when you’re done and repeat the process.

Decorate with toppings, sprinkles, or more chocolate if you’d like. Wrap in a lollipop bag and tie off with a ribbon to use as gifts/favors.

Enjoy your week! I will talk to you all in a few days ๐Ÿ™‚ Gimme some oven lovin’.

Brownie Pops

I may or may not be eating my third brownie pop as I write this. And by that I mean I am totally eating my third brownie pop as I write this. I really should start making healthier foods so at least I can enjoy without guilt. But until then, mmmmm.

This recipe mirrors yesterday’s recipe for cookies n cream truffle pops with the difference of making today’s with brownies instead of oreos, duh. I guess most pops are similar in that sense; you have to prepare the actual filling (whether it be cookies, cake, brownies, etc) then repeat the coating process afterward.

You’ll need:

  • 1 Box of brownie mix (and whatever other ingredients the box calls for — eggs, oil, water)
  • Wilton’s candy melts
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Styrofoam board/pop stand

Steps:

1. Bake the brownies as directed, however, do not cook completely. You want them to be moist and gooey, so you’ll want to remove them from the oven a couple of minutes before suggested. My box recommended 28-32 minutes, and I took mine out at 27. Let the brownies cool until they are a temperature that you can handle working with.

2. Cut the brownies into approximately 1.5in x 1.5in squares. This equaled out to 30 pieces in my pan.

3. Take the edges and put them aside. We want the middle pieces for this recipe. Working with one piece at a time, fold the corners of the piece inward as best you can. You want the flaky top layer to go into the middle of the ball so the outer part is smooth. It is a little tricky but try your best. Rest them on a piece of waxed paper and repeat the process until all the middle pieces are done. I made a dozen balls. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. When you’re ready to coat, melt your chocolate for 30 second intervals, stirring each time. When your chocolate is ready, take out the tray of brownies and prepare your sticks. Dip the stick in your chocolate then into your brownie ball. Then dip the ball into the chocolate and coat completely. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out chocolate if necessary. Place on your styrofoam board/pop stand and repeat the process until all pops are done.

5. Don’t think I forgot about the brownie edges that we left all by their lonesome. You have two choices as to what you want to do with them. You can either do nothing special and eat as is (EXCELLENT decision), or you can continue to make more pops. This time, just insert a stick into the middle of the square and dip into your chocolate. There is no need to shape it into anything and you can make these as big or small as you’d like. It’s another cute way to show off your baking skills!

Once again you can add sprinkles/toppings or more melted chocolate as decoration.

Enjoy and gimme some oven lovin’.

Cookies ‘n Cream Truffle Pops

These are some big words to say, but I think I enjoy oreos more than I do s’mores. Actually, I don’t think. I know I absolutely do. So to stick to the pop theme that I said I would do this week, I decided to share an easy and, of course, delectable recipe for one of my favorite treats; cookies ‘n cream truffle pops.

The first time I ever had one of these, I was at a Thanksgiving feast party and one of the guests had brought them. While they were just truffles (and not pops), they were more delicious than you could even imagine! I asked her for the recipe and have since then changed it up to make it my own. I give you the same support to experiment and find ways to make it your own as well. Change the chocolate, add sprinkles/toppings, etc. I like simplicity but be creative!

As you will see, I made 9 pops with this recipe. You can easily make more but I made the truffles a bit bigger than I normally do, only for selfish reasons. I like to tell myself that if they are bigger, I will eat less of them and in turn feel better about myself. It’s completely foolish. Don’t judge me.

You’ll need:

  • 10 Oreos, crushed
  • 4 oz Cream cheese, room temperature
  • Wilton’s candy melts
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Styrofoam board/pop stand
  • serving size: 12 pops

Steps:

1. Crush your oreos! I found the best technique for me is to put them in a zip-lock bag then pound them with a meat tenderizer. It’s fast and crumbles them completely. Put them in a medium size bowl when you’re done.

2. Add your cream cheese. While it’s not essential that the cheese be room temperature, it does make the next step A LOT easier. Using a fork, blend in the cheese and oreos until it looks like chocolate cream cheese.

3. Using a teaspoon, spoon out a small amount and round it off with your hands to create balls. Place on a piece of waxed paper.

4. Once you have all the balls set, place your tray in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The longer you have them in there, the easier the dipping will be.

5. Melt your chocolate in 30 second increments. Depending on how many truffles you made, estimate 3 candy melts per ball. You can use white chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate, etc. I used both white and milk.

6. Now you’re ready for the last step! Hint — Dip your stick in the melted chocolate before inserting it into your truffle. This will help the truffle stay on the stick since the chocolate will harden. Then dip the pop into the chocolate and smooth with the back of a spoon. Place on your styrofoam board/pop stand and continue the process until all are finished.

If you want to add any other toppings, do so while the chocolate is still melted. You can crush more oreos and dip the pops in those or sprinkles if you wish. If you don’t want any other toppings, you can wait until the chocolate hardens then drizzle another flavor on top. Try white chocolate on milk chocolate pops or milk on white chocolate pops. It not only gives it a unique taste, but also looks pretty fancy!

Again, wrap in a lollipop bag and tie off with ribbon. It’s another great gift/favor! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some truffle pops to eat. Gimme some oven lovin’.

S’more Pops

Yes, another s’mores recipe. Problem? I didn’t think so.

I think I will be doing “Pop Week” this week and showing you all how to do various bite size desserts. I figured since I have the ingredients for s’mores (and trust me, they won’t last long in this house), I should start off with another variation of this sweet yummy time (a synonym for “dessert” according to my brother).

You’ll need:

  • 8 Jumbo marshmallows
  • 24 Wilton’s candy melts
  • 1 Graham cracker
  • 1 Plastic zip-lock bag
  • Styrofoam board or other lollipop holder
  • Lollipop sticks

Steps:

1. It’s a little morbid to start off this way, but go ahead and stab your marshmallows with the sticks ๐Ÿ™‚ Go all the way to the other end and then place in the board or holder until they’re all ready.

2.Take your graham cracker and put it in the zip-lock bag. Crush it thoroughly and set aside.

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second increments, stirring well after each session.

4. Dip the marshmallow stick in the chocolate and use the back of a spoon to even it all out. Then put the stick in the graham cracker bag and shake it around to make sure crumbs attach to all parts of the melted chocolate. Set back on the board and repeat the process for each of the pops.

You can either put them in the refrigerator when you’re done or allow them to cool by themselves. Once you’re sure the chocolate has hardened, you can serve and/or enjoy!

These make great gifts or favors, also! Put them in a lollipop bag (easily found in Michael’s or a candy making shop), tie off with a small piece of ribbon that matches your theme, and you’re done!

Gimme some oven lovin’.