These traditional Greek cinnamon cookies are golden brown circles of perfection. Just a bit crunchy with the subtle taste of cinnamon and oranges, each bite will have you wanting another!
So simple to whip up, Greek cinnamon cookies are my coffee’s best friend and I make them often. ‘Often’ because you can also mix up the dough ahead and bake your cookies within a week OR freeze portioned dough balls and thaw/bake up to three months down the road 🙂
The slightly molasses-ey flavor of the brown sugar more closely mimics the cookie’s original sweetener, date sugar. As cane sugar was not readily available in Greece until about the 1950’s, date sugar and date syrup, with dates native fruits to Greece, were much more typical sweeteners. I love to make a date sugar batch every now and then (substituted 1:1). It gives the cookies a very particular flavor that’s completely wonderful in combination with the cinnamon and that I find delicious. Definitely worth trying out if you’re so inclined 🙂
Sunflower oil is what my Yiayia always used for her cinnamon cookies instead of olive oil and I do the same. It’s a lighter oil with almost no flavor of it’s own and one of the most traditional Greek seed oils, second to sesame I believe. You’re welcome to use olive oil, I’ve certainly used it more than once and still love these cookies. The amount of oil called for here is quite specific (7 fluid ounces or 14 tablespoons) and is exactly what you need to achieve cinnamon cookie perfection so don’t be tempted to change that!
And in this recipe, I do recommend using white whole wheat flour but regular all-purpose flour does the job well too if that’s what you have on hand. I prefer most often to make these cookies with a harder flour (whole wheat or red fife flour) which, like date sugar, can fall outside of normal palate preferences but adds such a fantastic bit of texture so – the white whole wheat flour will be our happy middle ground.
To me, it seems the harder the flour the crunchier (note: not crumbly-er) the cookie. A crunchy while not crumbly cookie is hard to find sometimes and this, my friends, is just that cookie 🙂
In a medium bowl, combine and set aside:
- 4 cups white whole wheat four (or see above for substitutions)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
In a large bowl, whisk together:
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
When dissolved, whisk in
- 7 fluid ounces sunflower oil (or 14 tablespoons)
until liquid becomes almost opaque.
Optional but highly recommended to stir in:
- 1 tablespoon on orange zest
Also optional but recommended for dusting, a salad sized plate of:
- 1 cup white sugar
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine to form a loose and slightly tacky dough.
With a 1/3 cup measuring scoop, scoop dough and turn out onto counter. Cut each scoop in half and roll each half into a ball. Place balls of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and lightly flatten with the bottom of the 1/3 cup scoop or a drinking glass. Turn each flattened dough circle onto the plate of sugar and then place sugar-dusted circles back onto baking sheet.
A half-sheet baking pan fits 12 cookies perfectly and this recipe makes 25 cookies – 2 dozen plus one for the baker 🙂
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. For a slightly more cake-like cookie, reduce the baking time by about 3 minutes.
Allow to cool for about 35 minutes before eating – I find they’re best at abut 3 hours after baking but rarely can wait that long for a taste 🙂