Easter cookies from Ioannina
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For 50-60 cookies
- 10 eggs
- 1050-1200 g. flour for all purpose (37.04-42.33 ozs) depending on how much the dough will absorb so that it is soft
- 2-3 vanillas
- 1 sachet baking ammonia (30 g. - 1.06 ozs)
- 500 g. sugar (17.64 ozs)
- 250 g. butter (sheep, cow or margarine) (8.82 ozs)
- 1 glass of water milk to dissolve ammonia (around 200ml) (by using milk the cookies come out softer. Instead of milk we can alternatively use orange juice, or half a glass of milk, half a glass of orange juice)
Melt the butter at low temperature. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place them in two different bowls (you can hit them together for convenience but the cookies will become less fluffy). Beat the egg whites with a mixer until they turn into meringue.
Still using a mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and then add the meringue, while stirring gently with a spatula. Add a little flour, continue the beating on low speed and then add the butter and a little more flour. Heat the milk (to be warm), pour into it ammonia to dissolve and then add it to the above mixture. Since the ammonia will inflate, try not to fully fill the glass with milk and also to place it just above our mix. (If you use orange juice instead of milk, dilute ammonia in juice). Add the vanillas, stir and gradually add the remaining flour, while stirring continuously.
Leave the mixture to tighten for a little time. Preheat the oven at 180° C (356° F). We grease the baking pan and our hands, then take some dough with a spoon and place it in the pan. We form the dough in a shape of our preference, leaving enough distance between the cookies because they inflate a lot. To achieve the classic shape, which is round and large, as the sesame bagels from Thessaloniki, initially we open with our finger a hole in the middle and then we push the dough gently against its inner walls, in a circular motion.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until they turn golden brown (the time depends on the oven, so we should be careful). It is practical to have 2-3 baking pans available to finish the baking process faster. When we remove the pan from the oven and take out the cookies with a spatula, we clean the pan from residues so as to be clean for the next batch and let it cool off slightly before continuing with the rest of the dough.
Sprinkling the cookies (Optional). The cookies can be easily eaten straight from the oven, but we can also choose to sprinkle some of them. They are equally delicious and much more festive!
You will need rosewater, preferably organic. After the cookies cool off (or the next day), spread them one by one with rosewater, using a brush. Leave them dry, so as to be slighlty wet and then sprinkle them with powdered sugar.