Diples – Greek Christmas shortbread cookies
Diples are a traditional cookie that are most commonly served at Christmas time. They can be folded in different ways before they are cooked, and at Christmas they are sometimes folded in to a triangle to reflect swaddling clothes. No matter how you make them, they are a delightful treat.
There are many different recipes for Diples – some are family secrets. Here is a popular one that is among the simplest to make.
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
Grated rind of 1 orange
2 Tbs brandy
Olive oil or vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
In a large bowl, add the eggs and mix with an electric beater until the eggs are light and fluffy. Stir in the olive oil, the orange rind and the brandy.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture in to the egg mixture.
Turn the dough onto a floured board. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it is smooth; if the dough is too sticky add a little more flour as you knead it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
In the meantime make the syrup by bringing the honey and water slowly to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice and cinnamon, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
Heat the oil to 360 F. Using a fist-size piece of the dough, roll it out on a floured surface – it should be 1/3 of an inch thick or thinner. Cur the dough in to 1˝ inch square shapes such as triangles, squares, diamonds or indeed any shape you prefer. You can fold the shapes if wish.
Drop the dough in to the hot oil and deep-fry in small batches until the pastry is golden, about 1 minute. Drain the diples on paper towels and transfer to a plate. Pour a little of the syrup over each layer of diples and sprinkle with the walnuts and a shake of confectioners’ sugar. When fully dry, put in a container and cover tightly.
This recipe makes between 36 and 48 diples.
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