You know that feeling just before you go on a long holiday? For me, it’s always a combination of excitement and sadness. Sad to be leaving one place, particularly Cyprus in the height of summer, and excited to be going to another place, Canada …in the height of summer. It seems like there are endless little details to sort out, but I think I’ve done everything now. Today, I packed, dropped off the dog, the car, the spare keys, made 3 trips to my aunts to pick up food I am taking to my mom. I also managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the beach to enjoy a frappe, as well as make some cookies for an old mentor of mine who happens to be in a London hospital at the moment. Not sure what to take him, I decided to prepare a care-package of food, including some home-made cookies called “Piskota Pitita” or literally piped cookies. I also call them citrus blossom cookies, as this is the flavour that stands out when eating them. The citrus blossom flavour pairs very nicely with the brandy. As with most Cypriot cookies, they go great with Greek coffee as they are very flaky and light in texture. The cookies also last for a long time; save them in a closed container for up to a month. When making the batter: the “stickier” it is, the flakier and lighter your cookies will turn out. In other words, the dough will be sticky – it’s meant to be sticky. It’s not strictly necessary to have a piping bag to make these. I used a plastic bag, cut a hole in the corner, and put a piping nib at the end. I went through 3 plastic bags and various curse words, but it still worked. You can still make the cookies without a piping bag: they will still taste good.
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup vegetable shortening (such as spry or crisco)
3/4 cup sugar
2 small to medium sized eggs at room temperature
12 tsp brandy
6 tsp citrus blossom water
3 cups soft flour or all purpose flour
2 1/2 level tsp baking powder
2. With a mixer, beat the butter and spry on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to mix for about 3 more minutes, until the sugar has been incorporated.
4. Pour in the brandy and orange blossom water and mix until the liquids have been incorporated. The mixture should now look like the mixture in the picture above.
5. In a separate bowl, stir the flour together with the baking powder.
6. Gradually add 1 cup of the flour and baking powder mixture to the liquid mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining flour and baking powder and lightly knead the mixture with your hands until the flour is incorporated. It will be sticky.
7. Place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe little strips of dough onto the parchment paper. If not using a piping bag, simply shape the dough into flat, round balls and press down with a tip of a fork to form little cookies.
8. Bake for about 15 minutes. The cookies should be light golden brown in colour when done.