Try to imagine a dense and moist cocoa, walnut and cinnamon cookie, wrapped in a layer of puff-pastry dough and then soaked in a sweet aromatic syrup, with hints of vanilla, citrus and cognac. This is my version of greek ROXAKIA !
My mother’s younger sister and thus my aunt, ANNA, who spent her younger years raising me when my parents were working, makes these wonderful cookies called ROXAKIA and she is the only person I know who not only makes them, but makes them perfectly.
My aunt Anna’s version uses 2 cookie doughs and the assembled and rolled cookies are usually made up of 1/3 of a light-colored vanilla dough that is wrapped around 2/3 of a much dark cocoa and walnut and cinnamon dough, and then everything is soaked in a syrup.
They’re very soft and moist and sticky sweet and quite wonderful but neither of us, whether my mom, my sister or I, have ever been able to recreate them in our own kitchens. I think it may be because my aunt bakes with hunches and feelings, not quite measuring things exactly and not able to give us an exact recipe, even though she tries. She just knows what to do to modify the recipe each time and makes them perfect.
My version is a combination of what my aunt makes and what I once purchased in a supermarket that was launching a Greek foods week festival.
That sealed box of cookies from the supermarket, also called ROXAKIA wasn’t what I expected ? They looked like ROXAKIA but instead of disks of a dark dough wrapped inside a light dough, they were wrapped in puff-pastry instead. They were tasty and sweet, complex in texture but not complex in flavors.
This is why I recreated this recipe through several trials and errors and ended up with what you can see and read here. They are a delight, with a crunchy, airy exterior and a soft dense middle, with a complex blend of flavors.
The ultimate test will be when my youngest cousin Angie, who is Anna’s youngest daughter, and Angie’s oldest daughter Kayla, come to visit me in Paris in approximately 6 weeks and they’ll get to judge if my version even comes close to their mom’s and grandmom’s version … :)