Tsoureki Paximadia or Tsoureki Biscotti

Greek biscotti, or paximadia, made with tsoureki bread and dipped in chocolate and sprinkles

Greek biscotti, or paximadia, made with tsoureki bread and dipped in chocolate and sprinkles


Παξιμάδια τσουρεκιού. The common adage “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade” (or avgolemono soup) is pretty good advice. The sentiment can be extended to so many things, including tsoureki. If you have read the post that accompanies our tsoureki recipe you’ll know that although our recipe is now fail-proof and delicious, it wasn’t always so. We have survived many disappointing tsourekia, with some being too dense, undercooked, or simply blah. Having been raised in a household where “waste nothing” was a very important mantra, we could never just dump our tsourekia in the trash (except for the one we called “The Tsourocki”….read more about that disaster in the tsoureki post).

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Vegan shortbread cookies

Very simple shortbread cookies that are perfect for Orthodox lent.

Very simple shortbread cookies that are perfect for Orthodox lent.


With these vegan shortbread cookies, what you see is what you get! We have lived the disappointment of using cookie cutters to shape cookies just the way we want them only to find that they have flattened, spread, or risen while baking. Cut out flowers, kittens and firetrucks end up looking like blobs. Still delicious, but blobs. Not these cookies! These cookies come out of the oven looking pretty much the way that they went in. No surprises!

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Amygdalota (Αμυγδαλωτά)

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Amygdalota

The classic Greek almond cookie


Remember when you were a kid and you made someone that you loved a card, or a macaroni Christmas tree ornament, or a finger painting of what was clearly an abstract masterpiece? Remember how excited you were to offer your gift and to sit back and listen to the accolades? Remember the pride, the joy, the downright glee? We really, really hope that you do.

We remember that feeling, and frankly, we’re having the same kind of feels right now. But now it’s not about art, or arts and crafts…it’s about baking and we are practically bursting to finally be able to share with you our recipe for amygdalota. Youppi!!

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Tsoureki inspired shortbread

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Tsoureki inspired shortbread

Buttery shortbread cookies flavoured with mastiha and mahlepi

Our relationship with leftovers is complicated.  Well, not complicated exactly…just different.  One of us has a tendency to treat leftovers like a scourge occupying every limited fridge space, while the other one of us experiences physical pangs of guilt if every last bit of food isn’t used up, somehow.  This duality makes for some pretty interesting cooking moments. For instance, any recipe which only uses egg yolks means that one of us is pouring egg whites into the compost, while the other decides that it’s egg white omelets for breakfast the next morning.  A bit of dough remaining after all of the tyropites have been made means dough being tossed in the bin for one, and fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for the other.  You get the picture.

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Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)
Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

These pear-shaped cookies are syrup soaked and flavoured with a hint of orange!

This is a post about love.  True love, pure love, everlasting love, and sweet, sweet love. We are so humbled to be able to give you a glimpse into the beautiful story of Κυρία Βασιλεία (Kyria Vasilia) and the love of her life, while at the same time sharing her recipe for what may be the loveliest cookies you’ll ever have.

Several months ago, we were at our Thea Voula’s house (THE Thea Voula of cheesecake fame) for a party.  As is typical for any large family gathering, there was a lot of food, and a lot of dessert.  Good thing we were there for hours; enough time to eat, digest, and eat again.  When it was finally time for coffee and cake, we of course expected her cheesecake, maybe some baklava and likely a galaktoboureko or two.  What we didn’t expect was a platter piled high with syrup soaked, pear-shaped cookies called Ahladakia. These were cookies we recalled eating and loving in a past so distant we couldn’t even remember the last time we had enjoyed them.  We quickly turned to our aunt and asked her where they came from and she responded “Stella brought them”.

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Koulourakia with orange (Νηστίσιμα κουλουράκια με πορτοκάλι)

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Koulourakia with orange (Νηστίσιμα κουλουράκια με πορτοκάλι)

Koulourakia with orange are a Greek vegan cookie, perfect for dunking!

Our parents make so many types of koulourakia (Greek for cookies that are great for dunking into coffee or milk) that it is almost hard to keep track of them all.  To help differentiate one koulouraki from the other, they often refer to a key ingredient.  So here, we present to you koulourakia with orange…because, you guessed it, they contain a fair bit of orange juice.  They also often refer to different koulourakia by the person who prefers them over all others.  So these, along with being koulourakia with orange, are also affectionately referred to as “Georgia’s favourite”.

This recipe was revised October 2021, to make it even more delicious!

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Melomakarona cheesecake (Μελομακάρονα τσιζκέικ)

Melomakarona cheesecake (Μελομακάρονα τσιζκέικ)

The great flavour of melomakarona and cheesecake combined in our melo cheesecake!

Today was officially the end of the holidays for us.  Kids back at school, parents all back to work, and the merriment of Christmas and New Year’s gone for another year.  One of us has succeeded in taking down the Christmas tree and packing away the decorations, while the other is still wondering if the tree should stay up until Easter, decorated for every holiday between now and then, the way it did last year.  Despite our home décor differences, both of us agree that it might be time to do away with any leftover sweets and treats.  After all, it’s a new year, and for a few weeks at least, we should focus on joining countless others who vow that this is the year that we eat well, and exercise more.  But then again, life is short, and dessert is good.

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Kourabiethes (Kουραμπιέδες)

Kourabiethes (kourabiedes) are a Greek almond shortbread type cookie that is coated in icing sugar.

Kourabiethes (kourabiedes) are a Greek almond shortbread type cookie that is coated in icing sugar.

Who doesn’t dream about a white Christmas? We certainly do! Thankfully, living in Canada means that most years, our dream comes true.  It is rare that December 25th rolls around without a blanket of beautiful, white, fluffy snow covering everything!  If you have never made snow angels on Christmas morning, we really hope that you get to one day!  Our parents grew up in Greece however, a country not known for frosty winters and snow storms.  So, in their villages, the whitest and fluffiest thing they could hope for at Christmas time, were kourabiethes (kourabiedes).

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Koulourakia (Κουλουράκια)

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Koulourakia (Κουλουράκια)

Koulourakia (Κουλουράκια): A traditional Greek cookie perfect for dunking!

When our girls were little and we returned to work after blissfully long (but not long enough!), maternity leaves, we were blessed to have them cared for by our parents.  We would drop sleepy children off at their place in the morning and, after settling in to work, we would call our parents to make sure everything was okay.  The morning report we received would often go something like this:

Either of our parents: She (grand-daughter # 1, 2, 3 or 4) wasn’t that hungry for breakfast.  I hope she is feeling well. I’m quite worried. She only ate half her egg, two pieces of toast, a banana and she only drank one glass of milk. 

Either of us: Hmmm…well, that sounds alright.  She IS only 4 years old.

Either of our parents: Yes, well she has to eat, otherwise her stomach will close (this sounds much more ominous in Greek).  At least she ate 9 koulourakia when she first arrived.

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Melomakarona (Μελομακάρονα)

Melomakarona Greek cookies. These deliciously spiced, honey soaked, walnut topped Greek cookies just melt in your mouth.

Melomakarona is  a classic Greek cookie recipe dipped in honey, and topped with crushed walnuts

Growing up in a close-knit Greek family within a strong Greek community makes a significant impact on your values, your beliefs and, of course, your ideas about food. As young children we were taught about kindness, generosity and hospitality. We learned that one way to show love and caring was to cook and bake, and to then share what you had made with your family and friends.

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