All posts tagged: dessert

Georgiann’s Koulourakia

Koulourakia comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Some bakers turn their dough into playful circles, braids, or serpentines, and some twist their koulourakia so precisely it looks like a machine pumped them out. Depending on the baker or family recipe, koulourakia is infused with anise, vanilla, orange or lemon zest. And some are left plain with simply the mixings of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. No matter how they’re prepared, koulourakia makes a perfect companion with a cup of coffee. My cousin, Georgiann Pino Petrogeorge has mastered the art of koulourakia. She and I share the same great-grandmother, Anastasia (Tasia) Patsuris. Our yiayia’s (grandmother’s) were sisters with phenomenal cooking skills. You name it—they could make it. Georgiann spent a lot of kitchen time with her yiayia, Georgia Patsuris Sargetakis, and together the two would bake, cook, and share many laughs. Koulourakia, a Greek Easter cookie is one of those treats that sends Georgian back to her yiayia’s kitchen. Over time, Georgiann has modified her yiayia’s recipe to her own favorite tastes, like using vanilla …

Mom’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

In no particular order, the three best cookies of all time are melomakrona, chocolate chip cookies (still on the hunt for a soft and gooey go to recipe), and my mom’s Snickerdoodle’s. My mom says she has had this recipe for “over 100 years” and although Snickerdoodle recipes are all so similar with just a few variations, my mom’s recipe has always been may favorite and is dangerously addicting. They are easy to make, and come out soft and chewy every single time. If you need to store the cookies, my mom suggests putting them in a storage container with a slice of bread on top to keep the cookies nice and soft. Somehow, it works–science! Enjoy. Save Print Mom’s Snickerdoodle Cookies Recipe type: Sweets/Dessert Serves: 100 cookies   Ingredients 1 ½ cups sugar ½ cup margarine, softened ½ cup shortening 2 eggs 2 ¾ cup flour 2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt For the topping: 2 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoon cinnamon Instructions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing …

Greek Coffee Brownies

Brownies are my greatest weakness of all—especially the good old fashioned out of the box stuff. When I’m really craving a chocolatey fix, nothing beats the convenience of just dumping all the premixed ingredients into a bowl, stirring in some extra liquid, and sending them to the oven. They come out simple and scrumptious every single time. Because I’m satisfied with the boxed brownies, I hardly make them from scratch, or maybe didn’t care to recognize how easy they are to make on my own. But then one day when my brownie craving hit unusually early in the morning as I was making a cup of Greek coffee, I decided to make my own brownies—with Greek coffee. Coffee and chocolate is a classic combo so it just made sense. My recipe blends the grounds of Greek coffee with cocoa powder for a dark and decadent result that’s just as gooey as the boxed brownies I’ve adored for so many years. Now I don’t have to run to the store at random hours because all the …

Helen’s Oatmeal Cookies

I recently browsed through my late Yiayia Helen Metos’ recipe book, filled with her recipes plus clippings from recipes she found from the paper or given to her by friends. I was told from my mom that her oatmeal cookies were everyone’s favorites, so I had to test for myself. Results: these cookies are amazing–so wonderfully soft and chewy that I just had to share her timeless cookies. Enjoy! Save Print Helen’s Oatmeal Cookies Recipe type: Dessert/Cookie Serves: ~40 cookies   Ingredients ¾ cup shortening, softened to room temperature 1 cup brown sugar ½ cup granulated sugar 1 egg ¼ cup water 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup flour 1 tsp salt ½ teaspoon baking soda 3 cups oats, uncooked Instructions Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Place shortening, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat thoroughly. Sift flout, salt and soda; add to shortening mixture, and mix well. Blend in oats. Drop teaspoons of dough onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes. Notes For variation, add ½ tsp cinnamon and ¼ …

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m all for simple recipes, especially when it comes to baking. That’s why I love these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies: they only require three ingredients and are ready in 25 minutes. I first tried these cookies years ago at a party, and my friend Lexi gave me the recipe. I’ve been making them ever since and they’ve become favorites at parties I take them to as well. Enjoy these soft and flavorful cookies! Save Print Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe type: Dessert/Cookie Serves: ~   Soft and gooey easy to make pumpkin cookies. Ingredients 1 box spice cake mix 3 cups pumpkin puree (~24 oz) 1 cup chocolate chips Instructions Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. In a large bowl, add the spice cake mix and pumpkin puree and mix together until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips until combined. Drop round spoonfuls of the cookie mix onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minute, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 3.5.3229

Baklava

Everyone knows BAKLAVA. Layers of flaky phyllo pastry blanketed with ground nuts plus plenty of spice (and everything nice), soaked in a sweet honey syrup. Many consider baklava as the gold standard of Greek desserts. I’m not sure if this constitutes a mortal sin against Greek culture but I will say it anyway: I’m not the biggest fan of baklava. I do like lamb though, so hopefully that admission keeps my credibility up. At one point, I honestly considered not including a recipe for baklava on my blog. But then Zeus and his immortal pals conspired to change my mind. Two things happened in one week. I told my Yiayia Saltas, quite casually, that one of my clients wanted to learn how to make baklava. The next day she shows up with her own baklava recipe, handwritten just for me. That same day, I scanned through my late Yiayia Metos’ recipe book for a dinner recipe. Her recipe book is a treasure trove my mom and I hold onto. Many of her recipes, from desserts to main …

Pumpkin Pie with a Phyllo Crust

Two months ago I was asked to cook a Greek dish on a local TV station, KUTV 2, to promote the Salt Lake Greek Festival. I cooked one of my favorite dishes, Bouyiourdi (spicy baked feta) while chatting with Chef Bryan Woolley (cookingwithchefbryan.com). Much to my surprise, Chef Bryan asked to come back on the show again, this time featuring a pumpkin pie recipe just in time for holidays. Truth be told, I don’t love sweet pies, I’m more of a savory girl myself. But, there is just one pumpkin pie recipe that I will devour self handedly, the one my mom makes. She uses a filling inspired by Paula Deen, and uses a pre made graham cracker crust that goes perfectly well with the spices from the filling. For the show, I decided to use a phyllo dough crust instead, to make more of a “Greeky” twist on this classic dish. The results were wonderful, and resulted in a light and sweet pumpkin pie. Watch the featured TV segment here: https://kutv.com/features/food/recipes/cooking-with-chef-bryan-greek-pumpkin-pie Ingredients: 1 (8-ounce) …

Bougatsa

How to impress a foodie: serve them BOUGATSA creaminess. How to impress a history buff: serve them bougatsa knowledge. Both the history buff and the foodie will wonder where bougatsa have been their whole lives. They say bougatsa originated in Serres, a city north of Thessalonaki where many Greeks immigrated during the Greco-Turkish war that ended in 1922. Making phyllo-wrapped pies and desserts was nothing particularly new, but the sweet pies in this region—filled with thick, rich cream—became a hit. The immigrants in Thessaloniki couldn’t get enough of the affordable, tasty treats. So, what makes bougatsa so delicious? Creamy semolina custard or soft mizithra cheese, topped with cinnamon and sugar. To taste the best mizithra cheese version, go to Crete. Visit Chania, if you can, sit in the historic limani (port) area, order one or two or three bougatsa and thank me later. And send me one while you’re at it. At home, I make my bougatsa with the semolina filling because quality mizithra is hard to find. Plus, it’s easy to make, not too …

Festive Blue & White Cookies

Every March 25th my friends and I celebrate Greek Independence Day with a festive get together. We eat a delicious Greek meal that includes all of the favorites from salads to dessert and everything in between. And, when we can find good salt cod, we make bakaliaros skordalia (fried cod and garlic sauce), which is traditionally eaten on March 25th in Greece. We all sport obnoxious amounts of blue and white clothing from head to toe to display our Greek pride. Recently we’ve even added a blue and white theme to our menu. An example are these blue and white cookies. The cookies are made with blue velvet cake mix, some butter and cream cheese for a gooey texture, and finished with white chocolate chips. They are so simple to make that you can task your kids to whip them up—and so they can be the ones stuck with the blue hands when rolling the dough together. Take a break from the traditional recipes and give these fun and festive cookies a try, they’re truly …

Loukoumades (Greek honey donuts)

Mary Saltas Mannos was just 76 years old when I was born. She’s my papou Pete Saltas’ older sister, making her my great aunt. My papou had seven siblings and Aunt Mary was the first Saltas born in the United States, in 1915. Whenever I visited Aunt Mary, she would welcome me on her front porch with her arms extended and a beaming smile, shouting a high pitched “ELENI!!” pulling me in for a pinch of the cheeks and a bear hug amazingly strong for someone of her small stature. I clung to her because she reminded me so much of my Papou Saltas, who passed away in 2005. Both were strong, stubborn Saltas.’ And, oh, could Aunt Mary cook! Mary turned 103 on February 24, 2018. Until her 100th birthday she remained as healthy as she was 80 years ago, and lived pretty much independently in her home with her son, Father Makarios, a Greek Orthodox monk (who now serves at St. Catherine’s Monastery in  Mount Sinai, Egypt—but that’s another story). At her house …