Fenikia (Greek Honey Cookies)
My grandmother taught me how to make these just this way. They always come out perfect even though it's bit unorthodox in it's measurements. The size of your glass determines how big a batch you will end up with. It's a favorite because they're tasty and fun to make (well I think so). There are more precise recipes out there, but I follow this one.
The mastika* can be found at specialty shops and international markets. We usually get ours from my grandmother who gets it from Greece when she's there. I've also found it online. Without the mastika, this would come out just as good, but the flavor would be a little different.
In a large bowl, mix together the following:
1 glass (8-16 oz) of oil (vegetable or other light oil)
1 stick (8 TBS) melted butter or margarine (if butter, let the milk solids settle to the bottom of your saucepan and use only the clear butter)
1/2 glass orange juice
1/2 glass sugar (can be reduced to 1/4 glass)
3/4 glass of farina (uncooked)
mastika (masticha), crushed (use a rolling pin and crush with sugar)
dash cloves (powdered)
1 Tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tsp. baking soda
optional, when shaping cookies, fold a walnut (or other nut) into the center,
or, you can add crushed nuts with a little sugar and cinnamon (this is also used as a garnish on the honey-dipped variety)
In a mixing bowl add everything except the last four ingredients and blend well.
Add sifted flour, enough to form a workable dough. Add more flour as needed. The dough will be oily, more flour helps firm it up. Refrigerating the dough helps too.
Shape dough into oblong ovals (kind of like a halved hard boiled egg) and with your thumb, press a slight indentation into the top, the long way. If you dip these, the syrup will pool there (a bit) and have a better chance of being absorbed.
Place the shaped dough about an inch apart on your (ungreased) cookie sheet.
Bake in a (preheated) 400° oven for 15-20 minutes. They should be firm and a light brown in color, slightly brown on the bottom.
These can be eaten as-is, or you can dip them in the following syrup:
Boil in a small saucepan:
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
lemon juice (2 TBS. or so reconstituted type, or a firm squeeze of fresh)
Bring the first three ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan and let boil for at least 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add a good squeeze of lemon (or the 2 TBS. reconstituted lemon juice). You can reheat this on low heat to warm it back up if it cools before you're done.
Dip the cookies into this syrup; keep submersed for a few seconds and then place on wax paper or a draining rack. The cookies will absorb more of the syrup if they're still warm. Garnish with a sprinkle of the nut mixture.
For the nut mixture, mix together in a bowl:
1 cup crushed nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, any type), 1/3 cup sugar 1 Tsp. each of cinnamon and cloves.
These are dense, satisfying, and very tasty. The undipped version can be saved for a week or so in an airtight container (and dipped later, or just eaten plain). Store layered on paper towels. The dipped variety never lasted very long around here :)
You can view two more pictures here and here.