Biscotti? Poppycakes! Paximathia.


In the house of the young Poppycakes, this time of year brought all kinds of baking. This baking excited the Sisters Poppycake Three not one bit, save for its ability to serve as currency in order to get the "better" treats from the neighbors who would arrive with their gingerbread, rum balls, plum tarts and the like. No hours of baklava preparation seemed worth it to the sisters if it yielded nothing so wonderful as fudge, brownies, or tollhouse cookies, peanut brittle, toffee or the heavenly perfection of divinity. Named perfectly, it hit the tongue like a paradise's pillow of sugary cloud. Only walnuts could adulterate its perfection. Our palates indeed, were culturally-biased and their bias ran away from our own Mediterranean fare.

Years passed and we regretted not learning the recipes of our reknowned parents.  (Their baking and cooking skills are truly legendary.) Fortunately, they do not hold grudges against their ungrateful children and recipes were restored to us.

Finally, with some trepidation, I approached the dipping cookie that has been a household staple all year long (my parents mail them to us)  and a big hit with Mr. Poppycakes.  They are called paximathia and you will want to call them something else, when you see their shape, their egg-freeness, but I caution you, after "Turkish coffee, (Greek coffee) and Turkish delight" (Loukomia is what we call that) though I love Turkish fare and all things Italian, I am not receptive to that word, so it would be best if you practiced saying PAH-xee-mah-thee-ah.  Go to Starbucks if you must say that other word and what you will get will not have orange juice and cloves, brandy and my blessings.

Here is the base recipe and of course, my copy has Mother-scribbles all over the margins. They are my favorite part, next to the memory of helping her roll the cookies and of her graceful hands holding the dough into my hand and saying "you see how that feels? That is the right consistency. Add flour until you get to that."  It's the space between five cups and six cups of flour added slowly or a few decades and a few memories reached for by touch that make all the rich difference. 

Happiest Holidays Dear Tasters!