These cookies vary from other Traditional Greek Easter Cookies in that they include the key ingredient - Mastiha (or Mastic Gum Tears). Gum Mastic is a transparent, lemon-white coloured, tear-shaped natural resin from the mastic tree, which grows on the southern part of the island of Chios, Greece and nowhere else in the world. I can be purchased on-line or at a Greek market.
I found some interesting facts about Mastic Gum Tears here:
This may explain why I can eat so many and not get sick. Good thing I only make them once a year.
My grandmother would always tell us the ancient Greeks used Mastiha in these cookies and that nowadays they are made with vanilla. I searched Traditional Greek Easter cookies and found vanillin as the listed ingredient in most of these recipes which is a product of the Vanilla bean. I have never tried to make them with vanilla or vanillin. My mother adjusted a recipe she found for these cookies and it's just like grandma's - Love you mom!
Traditional Greek Easter Cookies
2-1/2 Cups sugar
1 lb. butter softened
1 dozen eggs
1 Cup whipping cream
1 oz. ground mastiha
2-1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
5 lbs. flour
1/2 Cup sesame seeds
1 egg for topping
Cream butter, add sugar, cream until sugar is dissolved. Add eggs one at a time and mastiha. Add baking powder, add whipping cream, alternating with flour, mix with mixer as long as it is not too thick, then mix by hand just until the dough can be manipulated without sticking. Refrigerate dough.
Roll dough into 12 x 1/2" strips, roll in sesame seeds and twist into pretzel shapes. Beat egg with 1 teaspoon water, brush onto cookies before baking. bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes. Let cool. They are better as they dry out.
|Mastic Gum Tears.|
|If you don't have one of these scraper paddles for your Kitchen Aid -|
I recommend you get one and forget about stopping to scrape the bowl.
|This recipe makes a lot of cookies.|
|Mix in additional flour until dough is not sticky working in |
batches (This is 1/3 of to dough), refrigerate until ready to use.
|Roll into 12 x 1/2" strips.|
|Roll in sesame seeds.|
|Twist into pretzel shapes.|
|Enjoy! Cookies will keep for several weeks.|
Thanks for stopping by! Have a fabulous Easter!