Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, these vanilla buttery cookies are perfect to have with a hot winter (or just on its own) drink by the Christmas tree.
Happy December and happy international cookie day! The Christmas season is my favorite time of year, and it is finally here! My favorite Christmas tradition is staying up late and baking hundreds of cookies with my mom to share with friends and family. Every week until Christmas, I will be posting some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes, so follow me on my blog and social media so you don’t miss a recipe!
Today, I am sharing my favorite, Greek Sesame Twist Cookies (minus the sesame). These cookies are a staple in my house for the holidays. My mom and aunt got this recipe from a Good Housekeeping magazine when they were pre-teens, starting their traditon of making Christmas cookies. Because I am not the biggest fan of sesame seeds, I just omit them. I guess I make more of a Greek Twist Cookie. Every year at Christmas Eve, my aunt will make her version with the seeds and my mom and I will make ours. And every year, both versions are gone before the end of the night.
These cookies are extremely simple to make. It’s a one bowl recipe, the dough is very easy to work with, and you don’t even need to chill the dough! Begin by beating sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then, add eggs and vanilla. It may look chunky and not very well mixed, but this is normal. On a low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Divide the dough in half and cover the other half with a tea towel or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. It is important to make sure the dough doesn’t dry out or your cookie dough will crack more easily. Take about a Tablespoon of dough and roll it into a smooth ball between your hands. Then, roll the dough into a 6-inch long rope. Gently, fold the ends together and twist 2-3 times. Be sure to not over twist, or the dough will crack. These cookies do not spread much, so placing them an inch apart on a lined cookie sheet will be okay. Before baking, brush the top with an egg wash and, if you want sesame seeds, sprinkle them on now. Bake until the top and bottom of the cookies are slightly golden.
In the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to try something new with the twist and make candy cane shaped cookies. I began by dying half of the dough bright red, keeping in mind this color will fade a bit in the oven. I then took a Tablespoon of each color and rolled them into 6-inch long ropes, intertwined them, and shaped them into a candy cane shape. They were super cute and were full of holiday spirit, I will definitely be doing this again in future years!
I’d love to see your Greek Sesame Twists! Tag and follow me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane! I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Greek Sesame Twist Cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg white
- 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 cookie trays.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until creamy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla. (The mixture may look chunky)
- On low speed, pour in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
- Divide the dough in half. Wrap one half with plastic wrap or a tea towel.
- With slightly floured hands, roll a tablespoon of dough into a 6-inch rope. Gently fold the rope in half and twist 2-3 times, repeat with the remaining dough. *Note: you can shape your cookie however you would like after twisting the dough.
- Place an inch apart on the cookie sheet.
- Brush the cookies with egg wash, sprinkle the sesame seeds on top (optional).
- Bake for 12-18 minutes, or until the bottom is lightly golden.