In Greek: παξιμαδάκια, pronounced pahk-see-mah-THAHK-yah
You don't have to dunk these fabulous twice-baked cookies in coffee, tea, or milk, but they're perfect for it. The recipe is for a large quantity, and they keep well, but to make fewer, just divide the recipe. Because they contain no butter or eggs, they can be stored in airtight plastic containers (not refrigerated) for several months and frozen for longer storage. Having friends over for coffee? Serve up a Greek tradition - paximathakia - but "biscotti" may be easier to say.
- 1 cup of toasted sesame seeds, ground
- 2 cups of fresh orange juice, strained
- 3 cups of olive oil
- Juice of 2 medium lemons
- Grated peel of one lemon
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 cup of lukewarm water
- 16-18 cups of all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 - 5 pounds)
For the ingredients of the loaves:
- Dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, cinnamon, orange and lemon juice with baking soda, grated peel, water, and sesame seeds.
- Beat on medium-high for 5 minutes until thoroughly combined and the oil and juices are not separating. (If mixing by hand, use a whisk and beat until thoroughly blended.)
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 16 cups (4.4 pounds) of the flour with the sugar and baking powder.
- Add the dry mixture to the liquid slowly, using dough hooks or a wooden spoon.
- Knead with hands in the bowl until the dough holds together then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead well for 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and soft. (The dough will be softer and oilier than other cookie doughs.)
- Divide the dough into 8 parts to make 8 small loaves.
Preheat oven to 390F (200C).
For each loaf:
- Knead the dough until dense (holding together tightly), forming it into a loaf shape.
- Pinch the seam together, and form it into a loaf that is approximately 14 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inch high.
- Place the seam side down.
- Using a floured knife (not serrated), slice the loaf almost all the way through into 1/2 to 3/4" slices (see photo).
- Place the loaves on a lightly oiled (or non-stick) cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 390F (200C) 3-4 inches above the bottom of the oven. The bottom should be golden and the top should be just starting to brown.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and cut all the way through the slices. Allow to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 200-210F (around 100C).
- When thoroughly cooled, place all the slices upright in a very lightly oiled or non-stick baking or roasting pan. Bake at 200-210F (100C) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until dry.
Yield: about 10 dozen
- To toast sesame seeds, place in a single layer on a non-stick cookie sheet or baking pan and roast for about 10 minutes at 400°F.
- To grind the toasted sesame seeds, use a small mixer/chopper, a coffee bean grinder, or a mortar and pestle.
- Because this paximathakia are made without eggs and butter, they can be stored for several months in airtight plastic containers and can be frozen. Allow to cool completely before storing.
Alternative: Orange Raisin Paximathakia Omit the sesame seeds and sugar, and add 1 cup of black currants or small black raisins.