I am proud to say I am the grandchild of Greek immigrants. When I was growing up, and still to this day, the holidays were a splendid spread of amazing food and delectable pastries.
Lucky for me I have a daughter (Michelene) who has a desire to learn those old world recipes before my mom leaves this Earth. We’ve had two “cookie sessions” with my mom, fondly referred to as Yiayia by my daughter.
In these sessions, my mother completely sets up the entire event (as you can see above!), Cally snaps pictures and records video (priceless someday I’m sure), and I of course assist and sample the final delicious creations.
Yiayia decided on a soft nutty cookie called “Finikia” this time. If you have ever been to a Greek food festival, you have no doubt tried Finikia.
The most interesting part of this recipe was mixing freshly squeezed orange juice into Cream of Wheat by hand. Then, this mixture was folded into the Crisco, egg, sugar, almond and flour batter and viola! a cookie of delicious-ness was born.
A separate hot syrup of sugar and water (with a splash of lemon!) was created and this is what we dipped the baked cookie in. Finally, we rolled them in ground walnuts and Yiayia sprinkled the cinnamon. Ah- they were amazing!
There is really something special about three generations of women coming together to learn a bit of their heritage. I imagine someday this will be a fond memory for my daughter who hopefully will teach her son, my grandson Gavin, how to make this wonderful cookie someday.
I think we ate at least a half dozen Finikia when they were done. Yiayia packed them all up for us so we were free to take them home to our family and friends. If you’re feeling ambitious, I’m attaching my mom’s recipe below for you to give a try. Happy Baking!