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

image10

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.
fullsizerender_3fullsizerender_4

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).
image1

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.

image3

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’.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

image6
If I could pick one thing to eat every single week, it would definitely be buffalo chicken. I’m not sure why, especially since I only got into spicy-ish food in the last couple of years. Yet, for some reason, it’s my go-to in most restaurant outings, and one of my favorite things to make at home.

Today’s recipe involves a slow cooker. I bought a cheap little thing a long time ago, and while it gets the job done, I can’t wait until we get the gem we added to our wedding registry. I’m not sure when my surprise bridal shower is, but I sure do hope it’s soon so we can get all of our new goodies!

As always, this recipe is very customizable. I only put chicken and cheese, but you can easily add more ingredients. You can also make them with any kind of tortilla you wish: flour, corn, wheat, multigrain, gluten free, etc.

You’ll need:
fullsizerender

  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce (my favorite is Frank’s)
  • Shredded taco or Mexican blend cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Slow cooker

Step 1:
Slow cook your chicken with the sauce! Since my cheap little guy doesn’t have settings, I just put the chicken in and wait a while. If you have a regular cooker, set it for low and cook the chicken for about 3-4 hours (until it’s soft enough to shred with a fork).
Note – if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can just buy rotisserie chicken and shred that instead. Then put it in a bowl or bag and add the sauce to coat.
img_6614Step 2:
Shred the chicken and cook it for another 30 minutes in the sauce. This is where the chicken really soaks in the juice.
fullsizerender_1fullsizerender_3Step 3:
Here comes the assembly. Start with toasting one side of your tortilla for about 10-15 seconds on low-medium (mostly low) heat.
fullsizerender_2Step 4:
Flip the tortilla to toast the other side. At this time, add your cheese. The amount is purely based on preference. I like an even proportion of cheese and chicken, whereas my fiancé likes less cheese. You decide. I usually put about 1/4 cup for mine.
image1Step 5:
Add the chicken on one half of the tortilla. Again, as much or as little as you want. Flip the other half over to make a semi-circle.
image2Step 6:
Toast both sides. I like the tortillas to be a tad bit crispy, so I make sure I press down and flip it around a couple of times until it starts browning. If you decide to do this, make sure to put your spatula on the open side and flip upward so the chicken doesn’t go flying out. Doing this may still cause some stragglers, but that’s okay.
image3image4Serve with your choice of dipping. I eat mine with a mixture of ranch and Frank’s red hot sauce. Bleu cheese, sour cream, and alone are also popular choices.
image7image8

I love making a big batch of chicken and eating it for several meals. Though I mostly make quesadillas, it also tastes good with mashed potatoes or rice. Try it! And gimme some oven lovin’.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

photo 2

Chocolate and peanut butter go together like Ben and Jerry, mac and cheese, Romeo and Juliet, salt and pepper.. need I go on? They are the perfect match and always so delicious in any form. With that being said, today’s recipe combines some salty peanut butter goodness with the sweet chocolate fudge to create bite size happiness that you won’t be able to resist.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I like to use short cuts. The making of this delight is no exception. While you can use your own favorite brownie recipe if you have one, I used a regular box mix that is much faster and, in my opinion, just as delectable.

You’ll need:

photo 5

  • 1 brownie mix box (and whatever ingredients it calls for)
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

Serving: 48 brownie bites

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and follow the directions on the box. If you choose to use your own brownie recipe, create the mixture now. My recipe called for 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup oil, and 2 eggs.

photo 2

2. Once the mixture is ready, I greased a mini cupcake pan and filled each cup about 2/3 of the way. Then I popped it in the oven and baked for about 12-15 minutes. To test, stick a toothpick into a brownie and see if it comes out clean. I always take mine out when the inside is a teeeeeny uncooked because they still bake from the hot pan even when they are out of the oven. Overcooking will make the brownies dry and not as yummy.

photo 3

photo 4

3. Once the brownies cool, take the bottom of a spoon and create a little crater in the middle of each bite. You want to make a bowl-shaped hole so that you can fill it with deliciousness next.

image_1

image

4. Microwave the peanut butter for about 30 seconds so it becomes a liquid. Then spoon a small amount into the middle of the brownies. You can put as much or as little as you want.

photo 1

photo 2

5. Your last step is to sprinkle the chocolate and peanut butter chips. Again, you can add as many or as little chips as you prefer.

photo 3

As you will see in my pictures, I put each brownie in a small cupcake holder. You can choose any color or design paper and decorate your event with these scrumptious goodies in style.

photo 3

photo 5

photo 1

Gimme some oven lovin’.

Roll Out Cookies

Well, well, well. Look who it is!

Hello, friends. It’s been quite some time. Happy October! I went on some vacations toward the end of the summer and lost my mojo for this by the time I got back. But here I am! For now…..

Today I decided to do some experimenting and thought it would be a good idea to document it to restart this blog. Life is a little all over the place right now so I can’t guarantee that I will be producing recipes as often as I did, but I will try my best to share at least one per week! I have a few different cookie recipes that I will post within the next few entries, so consider it a “cookie week” type of theme.

Starting off, I recently purchased a set of cookie cutters that I never used so I thought I would change that and make football-themed cookies. Of course it’s football season, so why not? Plus, my Alma Mater is undefeated!! So I’m in ultimate football mode. Love those Scarlet Knights.

Anyway, I can’t decide if these are sugar or butter cookies. I say butter; my parents say sugar. Either way, they are pretty good with tea/coffee (or frappe if you’re like me :)) and don’t require too much.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Steps:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In an electric stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Then add the sugar until whipped thoroughly.

3. Beat your egg in a small bowl then add to the mixture. Once it is mixed in completely, add vanilla and continue to mix on medium power.

4. In another bowl, combine baking powder and flour. Lower the mixer speed and begin to slowly sprinkle in the dry combination until dough is formed.

5. Divide the dough into two balls. Flour your surface/rolling pin and roll each piece to about 1/8in deep.

6. Using your choice of cutters, make your cookies and place onto cookie sheets.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes then cool.

I also made my own cookie glaze, as you can see from the pictures. All you need for that is 3 ingredients; 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons corn syrup, and 4 tablespoons milk. Combine all of the ingredients and you get a nice white covering (add more milk if you want the icing more liquid-y). You can also add a few drops of food coloring to change the colors. Have fun with it!

 

Enjoy! Gimme some oven lovin’.