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. 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’.

Mini Apple Crumb Cheesecakes

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Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Here I come again with another miniature food item. Soo surprising, isn’t it? What can I say? I’m small and I like small food. And I bet you’ll like this too.

Don’t let the photos fool you. I explain later why mine look the way they do, but trust me. They are delectable.

I broke the ingredient lists down into the different parts of the dessert. It’s easier than it looks. And let me tell you, the delicious aroma starts invading your kitchen from the very beginning.

This recipe yields 18 cheesecakes. Feel free to modify the quantity of ingredients if you need to make more or fewer. Let’s get started.

You’ll need:
fullsizerenderCrust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 sheets)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 tablespoons melted butter

fullsizerender_2Filling:

  • 16 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Apples

fullsizerender_1Topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Step 2:
Prepare the crust. Combine graham cracker crumbles, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until moistened. I can’t even begin to describe how good this part alone smells.
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Step 3:
Line your muffin pan and fill each cup with a heaping tablespoon of the mixture. Use the back of the spoon to pat it down. You’ll see the cup in the middle of the photo is the before and the surrounding cups are after (for your reference).
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Step 4:
Bake the crust for 5 minutes.

Step 5:
Make the topping. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. I think cutting your butter into small chunks will make this process easier. I cut mine into 1/2in cubes.
image2Step 6:
Fork the mixture until small crumbles form. You can also go in with your fingers if you are struggling with using a tool. Set this aside.

Step 7:
Filling time! Mix cream cheese and sugar on low-medium speed until just combined. Don’t do what I did and get distracted by HGTV; if you over mix the filling your cheesecakes will rise then fall when they cool. I mean, they’re just as delicious but not as adorable looking. Anyway, let’s continue.

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Step 8:
Combine the eggs (one at a time), vanilla, and sour cream. Set aside to rest while you cut the apples.image4

Step 9:
Apple time. Wash and peel your apples, then dice those babies up. I used two medium ones. However many you decide to use, make sure to cut them really small so they cook and get soft while in the oven.
image6Step 10:
Assemble!!!! Take a heaping tablespoon of filling and fill the cups. They should be about 3/4 full.
image5Step 11:
Add a layer of apple pieces.
image7Step 12:
Finally, spoon a tablespoon of topping on the top. This may get a little messy. Let it.image8

Step 13:
Bake for 23-25 minutes. Let them cool on a baking rack then refrigerate for a few hours. Serve chilled.
image11See? The middle parts fell, but maaaaaan, oh man are these so scrumptious.

And how wonderful to have such a great proportion of crust and cheesecake. That’s my favorite part.image13I hope all of my American followers have a wonderful holiday. I’m thankful for all of you! Gimme some oven lovin’.

Fourth of July Jell-o

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So. I think I’m ready to complete my 4th of July dessert entries. Today’s post isn’t even anything original or new; it’s just a refreshing treat that is great for the celebration because of its red, white, and blue features. I’m ready to go back to sharing my usual recipes and not focusing on just one theme. With that being said, let’s end this with a bang! … Get it? July 4th… fireworks… bang… ha… I tried.

You’ll need:

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  • 1 red flavored Jell-o box (strawberry, cherry, etc)
  • Water
  • Whipped cream
  • Blueberries

Steps:

1. Follow the instructions on the Jell-o box. I boiled a cup of water, added the mix, stirred, then added another cup of cold water. It couldn’t be any easier.

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2. Depending on how you want to serve this is how you handle the second step. Some friends of ours got us these ADORABLE little dessert cups that I haven’t used yet. I thought they would be perfect for this treat, so I poured some of the mixture into them. However you want to serve, pour the liquid into that form now. Place in the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 4 hours.

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3. Your next step is to layer the whipped cream. I am a BIG fan of this, so I like a lot on mine. You can put as much or as little as you like.

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4. Garnish your dessert with blueberries. As you will see, this completes your tricolor treat and again shows off how Patriotic and loyal you are to this country. Go you.

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My recommendation: if you decide to make this for a party, prepare your Jell-o from the night before. Because the rest of the layers take literally 30 seconds, wait until you are about to serve this dessert before applying the whipped cream and blueberries. It will taste cool, delicious, and refreshing.

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Gimme some oven lovin’.

Fourth of July Pops

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Happy (wayyy belated) 2013 everyone! So, it’s been a little while. Okay, more than just a little. I disappeared but I am making an effort to come back like nothing happened. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. K?

I missed many occasions but with Independence Day around the corner, what better way to restart this blog than to show some goodies you can make for this national holiday?

Today’s treat parallels the s’mores pops from pop week, though you don’t have to make these into lollipops if you don’t want to.

You’ll need:

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  • Large Marshmallows
  • Sprinkles (color of your choice)
  • Chocolate candy melts (color of your choice)
  • Lollipop sticks (optional)

Steps:

1. Melt your chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between each heating.

melted

2. Dip your marshmallow into the chocolate, covering it about 2/3 of the way.

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3. Dip or sprinkle your sprinkles onto the top 1/3 of the marshmallow.

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4. Let your chocolate harden then enjoy the yummy dessert!

Because the marshmallows are white, I suggest red chocolate and blue sprinkles, or blue chocolate with red sprinkles. Either way, you showcase your patriotism and advertise to your guests that you know how to celebrate like a true United States citizen!

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Gimme some American oven lovin’.