Sunday, February 16, 2014

Greek Celebration Cookies

Well, the 2014 Olympics in Sochi started over a week ago, so I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention something about it on here. As of last count, Canada has 14 medals, tying up in fourth for total medal earnings so far. As for anything else to do with the Games, I'm about as good a person to ask as a brick wall... I honestly haven't watched any of them myself except for a few moments here and there when my sister flips the TV to watch the ice dancing.

That said, the whole global (i.e. non-sport) element behind the games is something more my speed, and the whole multi-national dimension is a great way of teaching world customs, history, geography and cultural norms to our class. For our Olympic-themed cooking day, I tried to blend the Greek history and symbolism of the Games with a kid-friendly, easy-to make cookie dough, resulting in a barely modified traditional Greek festival cookie (usually served at Easter), laced with sesame seeds (an ancient symbol of immortality and prosperity), glazed with honey and egg (for more prosperity and good fortune) and finally shaped like the famous rings of the Olympic Games. Instead of milk or water in the dough, fresh-squeezed orange juice added a sweet-tart note that cut the richness of the butter.

Greek Celebration Cookies

Did I tell my kids about all that symbolism? Well, yes, in a way. But I wasn't about to turn a fun morning of cookie making into a history lesson - they have enough time left for them in school to delve into those hidden meanings! My reward was seeing the looks on their faces when they tasted their handiwork. Imagine, cookies that don't come from a box!

Greek Celebration Cookies
Makes 20
2 cups flour
⅓ cup toasted sesame seeds
pinch cinnamon
Pinch salt
⅛ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup (2.4 oz) salted butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
2 ½ tbsp orange juice
1 egg white
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or Silpat.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sesame seeds, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, vanilla and sesame oil, beating well.
  5. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate mixing in the dry ingredients with the orange juice. Dough should be soft yet workable with your hands.
  6. Divide dough into 20 pieces and shape into rings (like tiny bagels) and place on the cookie sheets.
  7. In a small bowl, beat together the egg white, milk and honey, then brush mixture over the cookies.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  9. Cool on the sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 117.0
Total Fat: 4.6 g
Cholesterol: 16.9 mg
Sodium: 27.1 mg
Total Carbs: 16.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 2.7 g