OK, so this recipe has a tropical twist. Those who know me, know that I love Hawaii. We used to go every Christmas with my family. My family had a restaurant, and in the restaurant business you can really only get away at certain moments, usually when the season is slow, which is why we would escape there for a few days during winter, schedule permitting. It was the only time we would be able to vacation as a family. In addition, I must be the only Canadian that doesn’t know how to ski. And I come from Victoria, which is literally a long drive away from Whistler. My theory is that my Cypriot parents hated the cold, and as such, when Canada got cold, my parent’s solution, if possible, was just to leave. The first time I came to Cyprus at Christmas, I remember packing my bikini and my mom laughing at me. She was right, I was wrong. Cyprus is sunny, always, but too cold to swim in the middle of winter! Anyway, I am babbling. These cookies. These are an Easter tradition. I am embarrassed to say I do not know much about the history of why we make these, just that we do, every Easter without fail. Their trademarks are the pretty braids and the buttery-cookie texture – they are a dry cookie, not moist. They make the perfect cookie for dipping in coffee or tea. They are slightly addictive, and I find myself eating more than one anytime I open up the box. They last for a long time, and are really handy to have around when guests visit. As you may have guessed, I added a bit of a twist. I really love coconut and tropical flavours, and actually these cookies go pair very well with a touch of rum and coconut. I mean, butter, rum, coconut, vanilla… it’s almost a shame not to combine these flavours. And, because I used Mitsides Self-Rising flour I didn’t have to add any baking powder, which makes the recipe just that little bit more easy to make. Of course, if you want to make the traditional version, just don’t add the coconut or rum. Cypriot Easter is coming up next week, so I have started to prepare all the Easter recipes so if you are interested in those, be sure to follow the facebook page and also watch out for my next recipe, a tsoureki-chocolate bundt cake!
time: 1 hour
makes: 60-70 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter (128 grams)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, (separated into egg yolks and egg whites)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 cup coconut flakes
4 cups Mitsides Self Raising Flour
2 tablespoons rum
egg wash for brushing (1 egg beaten together with 1 teaspoon water)
1. In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, and beat well until incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add the rum and stir together.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
3. Add the coconut and vanilla into the butter mixture and mix together with your hands. Then alternate adding the flour and egg whites into butter mixture and use your hands to mix together until a soft dough forms. You may not need all of the flour. The dough is ready when it does not stick to your hands when rolled.
4. Preheat the oven to 175C.
5. Roll the the dough out into long cylinders and shape into small braided cookies, about 10 cm long and 2 cm wide. Place the cookies on parchment paper on a baking tray. Brush with egg wash before placing in the oven.
6. Bake the cookies for about 25-28 minutes, until golden brown.