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Mavra's Paximadia

Come on over. I'll put the coffee on, and we can enjoy my Greek obsession, coffee with paximadia–one cookie in the morning and one in the afternoon–as I do when visiting my favorite Greek island. A sweet, crisp and dense version, these are vegan-friendly, since they do not contain eggs or dairy, using wine and olive oil to hold the dough together. This recipe is from my Greek friend's mother, Mavra. I had to twist her arm and beg her for the recipe!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: cookies, dessert, Greek, vegan
Author: Chef Robin

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole raw almonds
  • Zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, more if necessary
  • 1 cup raw sesame seeds

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a food processor, roughly chop the almonds, then add the zest, orange juice, wine, olive oil, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Process until mixed well.
  • Empty the contents of the processor into a large bowl. Gradually add in flour, and mix with your hands. You will need approximately 3 cups of flour. Your dough should be smooth to the touch and not very tacky. Add more flour as needed. Gather the dough and knead it into a ball. Turn onto a clean work surface, and divide into 3 pieces. Form the dough into three long skinny loaves, each approximately 12 inches long. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Place the sesame seeds on parchment paper, and then roll the loaves around so the sesame seeds adhere to the dough.
  • Place a clean sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray, and lay out the three loaves an inch or so apart. Place the tray on the middle rack, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes, then cut the loaves into 1-inch slices with a serrated knife. Arrange the cookie slices flat on the baking tray. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the cookies to cool in the warm oven. Remove the paximadia and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

Notes

Chef's Note: Often you will see currants in Paximadia. On the beautiful island of Zakynthos, the largest island in the Ionian Sea. The island, also known as Zante, holds the tradition of growing grapes and the people have been drying them under the sun to make currants for more than 3,000 years.

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