Autumn is here and it is time for moustokouloura. Moustokouloura are special cookies, very tasty and super healthy. They are special because their main and characteristic ingredient is grape must. Grape must is the juice of grapes and this time of year is plenty in Greece because of the vine harvest. In the countryside, where I live, almost everyone has its own little vineyard and make their own wine. Before the grape must goes into the barrel and the fermentation (which will convert it to wine) starts, some amount of it is used to make a variety of goodies. One of them is moustokouloura.
Moustokouloura can be made either with fresh grape must or with petimezi, which is concentrated grape must. As you understand fresh grape must can exist only this period of year, so petimezi is a way of preserving it. Fresh grape must is boiling for a long time on low-medium heat until it reduced to about 10% -20% of its original volume. So petimezi a kind of grape syrup (no extra sugar added) with dark color and sweet flavor which has used for sweetener since the ancient years. The health benefits of using it in cooking or baking is easy to be concluded knowing the raw material. Vitamins, antioxidants, minerals are only some of the nutrients existing in this valuable product. I am sure that you will love it!
It is easier for someone to find petimezi than grape must, so this is a recipe for moustokouloura with petimezi. Easy to be made and the taste is just unique! You have to taste them to understand how special they are! They don’t need a lot of your time so I hope you do!
- 4 cups self-rising flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil or corn oil
- 1 cup concentrated grape must (petimezi)
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
In a bowl mix together sifted flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and ground cloves.
In another bowl whisk together olive oil, concentrated grape must, brandy and orange juice for about 2-3 minutes until well combined. You can use a hand mixer if you like.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture whisking constantly. When whisking starting to be difficult, mix in the rest of the flour with your hands. The dough should be soft and pliable.
Preheat the oven at 175° C.
Take small amount of the dough (about the size of a walnut) and roll it to a rope about 1 cm diameter. Shape it to a circle by pressing the edges together.
Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 15-17 minutes. Do not over bake. They seem to be soft when taking out of the oven but they will harden when cooled.
Let cool completely on a wire rack.