My mother in law, who was one of the most special people in my life, taught me to bake and cook many, many wonderful Greek dishes. Memories of long, happy afternoons spent in her immaculate blue and white kitchen watching her deft hands prepare tantalizing meals as she spoke in her softly accented voice, remembering how HER mother taught her this intricate art. A favorite bakery item, passed down to her from her mother, was Finikia (Fin-Knee-Kia), which is a Greek honey cookie. They are also known as Melomakarona, depending upon which part of Greece one hails from. However, I only remember her referring to these wonderful little biscuits as Finikia. Crumbly, dripping with honey and coated with nuts, these cookies are rich and delicious. Traditionally, they are made at Christmas time in Greece; however, they are quick, easy and a treat year round. I make them whenever the mood for authentic Greek pastry strikes, and the family really enjoys them! Her recipe varies a bit from the traditional, as these are rolled out, filled with a nut mixture, baked and then dipped in honey/lemon and coated with nuts. Cinnamon, nuts and honey, you can’t go wrong with that combination! This recipe makes 36 cookies.
Finikia (Greek Honey Cookies)
1/2 Lb. Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Egg Yolk
3 Cups Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
Melt Butter. Add egg yolk and milk. Stir. Sift flour with baking powder and add a little at a time to the egg yolk, milk mixture. Knead into a firm ball.
2 1/2 Cups Chopped Walnuts (Save the remainder of the nuts for rolling the baked and dipped cookies)
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
Mix one cup of the chopped nuts (save the remaining 1 1/2 cups for rolling the cookies), the sugar and cinnamon together
Take a small amount of dough, about a one inch ball, and flatten to a 2-2 1/2 inch round. Place 1 tsp. of the nut filling in the center. Fold over and seal well.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
While the cookies are baking, prepare the syrup:
1 1/2 Cups Water
1 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Honey
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
Combine the water, sugar, honey and lemon juice together in a medium sized saucepan. Whisk together and let boil over medium high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Dip the baked finikia into the hot syrup and then roll in the remaining nuts.
This recipe makes 36 Finikia.