I try to make these every Easter. Buttery, short cookies that are moreish and come flavoured with orange or lemon or vanilla. As I had no fresh oranges, I decided to go with orange blossom water, orange extract and mastiha, seeing as I had some left over from making the savoury hot cross buns. I really wanted to make them dairy free too, so that my colleague could eat them, and the spelt was for the same reason, although not for the same person.
The non dairy spread was pleasant to use, much faster to work with as it was soft straight from the fridge, although I did need more flour than planned.
I used a stand mixer for this but I have done it by hand in the past.
200g Vitalite dairy free spread (or soft butter)
130g icing sugar
6 mastic tears, ground finely with ½ tsp demerara sugar
1 medium egg (aquafaba may well work here)
2 tbs coconut milk (or dairy milk)
400-500g white spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange flower water
1 tsp orange extract
Sesame seeds (optional)
Warning: The Vitalite spread doesn’t harden up like butter in the fridge, so be prepared for your hands to feel oily when you shape the cookies.
Put the spread and icing sugar in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix gently/on low. (I cover the mixer with a towel so that the sugar doesn’t cloud out too much.)
Add in the ground mastic, the egg, milk, 400g of the flour, baking powder, salt and flavourings.
Mix well/mix on low until it all comes together. If it looks way too sticky, just keep adding flour a spoon at a time until it starts to stick together and gather around the spoon/beater.
It should be soft, and a bit squidgy, but it should not stick to your hands.
Shape it into a disc, wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for a good hour.
When you want to shape the cookies, the shapes are up to you!
I like ‘S’ shapes, as that’s what I grew up with, but whatever shape you like is fine. Some people make twists, some circles, some S shapes. I roll mine out into a rope, then curl each end in to make the ‘snail shell’ of the S.
Some of the edges will crack when you roll and shape them, but that’s fine too.
Lay them onto lined baking trays, spaced about 2 cm apart. They will spread a bit, but if the dough is kept cold, not that much. It is a very forgiving dough, too, you feel free to re-shape if you like.
I did not egg wash mine, as I’m not overly keen on it, to be honest but do feel free to do so! Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you want to use them.
Bake for 20 minutes at 175°C. If they haven’t turned golden on the edges then put them back in for another 5 minutes. I don’t think a non dairy spread lends itself easily to goldenness.