Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, in general, is the place where civilisations collided throughout history! You will not believe how many microcultures exist in this region. From the influence of the Arabic world, far east to the predominant heritage of ancient Romans and Greeks. Since we are now in the week between two Easters, well, let’s call them western and eastern Easter, this was a direct inspiration to create another festive recipe for all the Ketonians who will celebrate. And even if you or your family don’t celebrate, it’s always time to give some good Keto cookies a chance. Especially with the Eastern Mediterranean twist.
Shaping the keto cookies can be tricky
Well, after our Koulourakia, which we ketonised and loved, we wanted to see some other Greek and surrounding countries cookie tradition for Easter. It’s basically similar. In fact, if you have good eggs, butter and a little bit of keto friendly flours, you will always succeed with cookies. But as we know, not everybody can be successful when Keto cookies call for specific shaping. I am receiving many messages from Ketonians who seem to have troubles to shape their koulourakia in the traditional form with keto dough.
What can I say, for me, as you can see in the video, it’s a “piece of cake”. I am starting to think it’s the psyllium variety that causes trouble. If your psyllium is not light in colour and powdered, chances are it will not have the same binding ability. But, this version will fix that problem!
As you can see in this video after I finished the first batch with the piping technique, I realised that my dough got so thick that I was able to shape the rest of it the same way as I did with Koulourakia. So, if you did not succeed, maybe you can prepare this dough (which is slightly different) and work on your shaping technique. You can also just make balls and then press them with a fork or knife a few times. But if you want the awesomeness of cookie press, here’s a tool which you have to have in your Keto home bakery!
How we sought inspiration?
First, let’s take about the taste. Nothing smells better than citrus zest in cookies. That is if you are talking about Mediterranean cookies. Whenever I make cookies, I simply want to add orange and lemon zest. If I have, (which is rare these days cause we are Keto over 2 years now) I add tangerine, or grapefruit zest too! In this part, you can get creative and add whatever edible (organic) essential oil you can find.
Now, let’s go on a small tip!
What we borrowed from Armenian tradition? In Armenia, the most traditional Easter cookies are called “Zadgva kahke”. As any other Eastern recipe, these contain “Mmahlepi” and we couldn’t include it. The main reason is that it’s almost impossible to find it in many western countries. Mahalepi is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, and if you are able to buy it, your cookies will smell divine! At the same time, Romanians have a tradition of making aromatic vanilla cookies that are covered with powdered… well, you know – that thing 😉 They look amazing and smell equally good! In Greece, besides Koulourakia, each family has its own tradition of making another variety of cookies. Apollonas’ family had Ouzokouloura which smell like Ouzo and fennel. In fact, if you decide to add ouzo or fennel in these cookies – you will enjoy the most interesting twist!
When and how much of Keto cookies can you have?
All around this area, South-Eastern Europe, cookies are smelling at any corner in the springtime. They are not the main star of the festive table, but they’re a thing of tradition. If your cookies are Keto, you will most probably not have even 1g net carbs in them. So, you can have up to 4 and really don’t worry about the macros. But, if you decide to go Low-Carb during the celebrations, you will be able to have a few more. Not that you’ll be able 😉 They are so intensive in flavour, that after a good Lamb roast and other festive “real” foods, you will be more than happy with just a cookie or two!
Let’s get to Eastern Mediterranean Keto Cookie creation
Eastern Mediterranean Keto cookies
- 6 medium eggs free-range
- 4 tbsp stevia or monk fruit blend sweetener
- 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp natural rum flavouring you can use 1 tbsp real dark rum
- 1/2 tsp natural orange peel aroma optional
- 2 tsp powdered orange zest
- 2 tsp powdered lemon zest
- 200 g melted butter grass-fed
- 1 tbsp psyllium powder light variety
- 5 tbsp almond flour alternatively use sesame seed flour
- 4 tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tbsp stevia or monk fruit blend sweetener powdered
Beat the eggs with the sweetener, salt, Ceylon cinnamon, baking soda, aromas and powdered citrus zest for at least 8 minutes. Start slowly pouring melted butter and keep mixing.
Add psyllium and then one by one spoon of almond flour. In the end, add coconut flour and the dough will quickly thicken. You can start filling the cookie press with a star shaping tool and squeeze the cookies while the dough is still not too thick. If the dough gets too thick after several minutes, just shape it with your hands. (see the video)
Bake the cookies in the oven at 150ºC for 20 minutes. Let them cool down a bit and then sprinkle them with powdered sweetener. You can use a coffee grinder to get powdered sweetener out of your crystalline form blend sweetener. Make sure you don't use 100% extract sweetener because that would be way too sweet!
-For Armenian Twist, use 1 tbsp of Mahleb spice instead of orange and lemon zest.
-For Romanian twist, use vanilla extract instead of rum.
-You can use Ouzo and a bit of fennel to get the Greek Ouzokoulouro effect.
-You can play with the spices and your Eastern Mediterranean cookies can be your own inspirational creation!
Other spices you can add:
ginger, powdered clove, anise, nutmeg, peppermint, coffee, cacao, mastic...