Roxakia are a Greek type of sweet dough. I hope it’s mainly Greek but you never know. Anyway. They are bite sized cocoa and vanilla and cinnamon goodies that look lovely and taste like heaven. Avoid if syrupy stuff is not your cup of tea, but you will love them if you like any of the syrupy Greek, Turkish and Arabian goodies.
So. Friends of the Greek blog LOVE this dessert and have been asking me to do a video for absolute ages. I got around to it over the weekend (you can watch the video here – it’s in Greek obviously but you’ll see the technique I am describing below) and I managed to take some pics for the English side too.
This is a recipe by Mummy Despoina and I practically grew up with it. Her measurements would give you 60 bite sized roxakia but she does a lot of entertaining so the quantity is fine for her. I’ve adjusted it a bit cause 60 are too many (even though you can arguably never have too many of these). My measurements will give you about 25 – 30 roxakia. If you really want to end up with 60 double everything EXCEPT the eggs (use 3, don’t go for 4).
For the vanilla dough:
- 2 eggs (whole)
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup of warm milk (not boiling hot)
- 1/2 teaspoon fast action yeast
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- plain flour (BUT note the first ingredient of the cocoa and cinnamon dough below)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the vanilla dough mixture BEFORE you add any flour
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
- 1 to 2 teaspoon cocoa (to taste)
- plain flour
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar (granulated or caster)
In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the vanilla dough EXCEPT the flour. You don’t need to beat them a lot. Just enough to get them incorporated.
You will be left with a runny (kinda like soup) mixture. Don’t worry, this is exactly what you are looking for.
In another bowl shift the cocoa and the cinnamon. Then add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the vanilla mixture and stir thoroughly so that you’re left with no lumps.
Start adding flour to both mixtures slowly and mix with your hand. When the dough leaves no mark on your hands it’s ready. It should be oily (it’s the vegetable oil) and extremely soft. However, not wet. If you insist on quantities these measurements that I’ve given you mean that you will use about 500grams of flour in total but do not pour the whole thing in one go. Patience (said the Greek. Yes I do get the irony).
You are left with a big vanilla ball of dough and a smaller cocoa and cinnamon one. No need to knead too much or let rise. Use immediately.
Cut each ball exactly in two.
With the cocoa and cinnamon dough (one half) form a long and thin sausage (approximately the width of your finger).
Roll the vanilla dough (one half) so that it’s the same length as your cocoa and vanilla sausage but at least 2 or 3 times wider.
Place the cocoa dough in the top part of your vanilla dough and roll it up.
Nothing to it.
Snug as a bug in a rug.
Since you halved the balls of dough you should end up with two of these.
Cut little pieces (let’s say two finger width).
Just press them a bit and place them on a baking tray on top of some baking parchment.
If you are a perfectionist you could cut the vanilla dough after you’re rolled it in a rectangle so that they are all exactly the same. I think that’s a complete waste of good dough and time. They look so much better in various sizes.
If you don’t have enough baking trays just leave some on a plate and bake later. They ‘ll be perfectly happy to wait.
Bake them in your oven – fan 200 Celsius for 20 to 30 minutes. This is the colour you are looking for. Don’t burn them, they will taste bitter.
When you take them out of the oven they should be really hard! Trust me, there is method in the madness.
Leave them to cool COMPLETELY!
In a pan put your water and sugar. Slowly stir over medium heat so that the sugar will melt and the water will turn clear again. The moment you see small bubbles forming take it off the heat. If you leave it to boil too much the syrup will be too thick and it will be impossible for it to soak the roxakia.
Place the roxakia in a deep dish or anything else that works. Keep in mind you will put the boiling hot syrup in there so it’s a good idea to use something that will not break.
Take note when I say this. The roxakia should be COMPLETELY COLD and the syrup COMPLETELY HOT. This is the only way they will soak up, do not experiment with this stage, you’d end up with syrupy outside and a hard mess inside.
The addition of the hot syrup is exactly why the roxakia should be rock hard after you baked them. If they weren’t you’d add the syrup and end up with mash.
Carefully pour the whole of the syrup over the roxakia. They WILL be swimming in syrup. Do not assume that I have made a mistake and made you cook up too much syrup. Trust me, this is exactly how much they need.
Over the next 2 to 3 hours carefully turn them upside down at least 3 or 4 times. They take ages to soak up.
This is exactly why they are pure perfection the next day.
Hope you enjoy them!