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Constantinople Cake

traditional golden cake from Constantinople

Our dad’s mom, Yiayia Maria, would make this cake for us and we loved it, still do! It was a favorite of our grandfather’s who hailed originally from Smyrna (now Izmir in Turkey) and  he preferred it to all other sweets. That tells you something right there because he had one, SWEET tooth 🙂

You can tell this cake recipe has it’s roots in Asia Minor from these key ingredients: white (fancy) flour, white sugar AND spiced almond milk. The Persians brought almond milk to Constantinople and the trick to using it in baking will change the way you use, and drink, almond milk forever more! Continue Reading →

Greek Carrot Cake

traditional Greek carrot cake

This is, hands down, the tastiest, most flavorful, most delicate carrot cake you will ever enjoy. Authentically Greek and traditionally vegan, this easy recipe is a winner every time. Yes, I love it very much 🙂

Like to know the secret to this simple carrot cake’s divineness? Traditional Greek carrot cakes do not use raw, grated carrots and instead go a wonderfully different way. The carrots are first boiled in just a bit of orange juice and water with a few whole cloves and a cinnamon stick.  Right there you know this recipe is going in an amazing direction! The moist, dense and light crumb Continue Reading →

Almond Cookies

golden, gluten free, Greek almond cookies

These beauties are as delicious as they are lovely and gluten free too! When wheat flour was less available, nut flours were used instead in both sweet and savory recipes.  Nut flours have a long and tasty history in traditional Greek food culture and this cookie recipe is a wonderful example of baking with almond flour. Greek almond cookies are authentically sweetened with honey, easily substituted with agave nectar if you prefer, and lightly spiced with cardamom – just made for a cup of coffee or tea. You will LOVE these!

On our Dad’s island of Chios, Greek almond cookies were often flavored with an almond flavored syrup called soumatha  (σουμάδα) and I’ve learned Greek Cypriots also have this tradition. Soumatha is also used to preserve cherries, a local fruit tree on Chios and more well known in Continue Reading →

Pumpkin Sweetbread / Tsoureki

traditional Greek pumpkin sweet bread

traditional Greek pumpkin sweet bread

This traditionally dairy free sweet bread (tsoureki) was made during the winter months when eggs and butter were less available, using autumn harvested pumpkins.  Greek sweet breads are most often braided and have a moist, denser crumb than regular table bread as well as being just slightly sweet 🙂 This one is especially flavorful and amazing all on it’s own or slathered with your favorite jam. And don’t be afraid of making your own bread – it’s not difficult at all and this is a great recipe to start your homemade bread making career with! Continue Reading →

Lalagia / Λαλάγγια

lalagia - traditional donuts of the Peleponnese

lalagia – traditional donuts of the Peleponnese

Lalagia (Λαλάγγια) are the donuts of the Peloponnese! You can grab a bag of these ridiculously addictive authentic fried dough snacks in probably every bakery in all of Messinia and in many Greek markets in the US/Canada too. Whether you enjoy them as a savory or sweet treat, warm from the stove or days later, you’ll soon understand why they’re so popular!

What sets lalagia apart from other Greek fried dough  like loukoumades or fried bread (ladopsomo/tiganopsimo) is that the recipe uses olive oil in the dough.  Adding this one ingredient makes all the difference and produces the most wonderfully light, crunchy sticks  that can be formed into all sorts of shapes.  Lalagia are traditionally a Christmas-eve treat and children are often told the rather odd shapes scare off any evil spirits working up mischief on the night before

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Chocolate Date Nut Bites

chocolate date nut bites

chocolate date nut bites

This recipe came from my Yiayia’s leftover date/nut baklava filling to which she added a spoon or two of carob powder for us kids as we hovered over her mixing bowl. Don’t laugh but I was eating a Kit Organics bar one day when in a rush to eat something not totally terrible for me and had the most wild tastebuds-deja vu that I had eaten this before.  The taste memory was foggy at first and then it came flooding back over me –  individual spoons of that incredible date nut baklava filling. Well, ladies and gents, here it is for you all in bite form – addictively positively wonderful in every way. Continue Reading →

Sesame Cookies

traditional Greek sesame cookies

traditional Greek sesame cookies

Sesame cookies (σουσάμι μπισκότι) are a light, tender, cake like, nutty, just lightly sweet, positively wonderful treat and they’re enjoyed all over Greece.  You’ll find these in bakeries in every region of the country and, of course, throughout the Greek diaspora.

These cookies are enjoyed especially during the lenten season as they are made without olive oil and appropriate for even the most strict fasters.  So good and so easy you’ll love them year round – and less than 45 minutes from start to finish! Continue Reading →

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