Many cultures have their own version of a doughnut, and Greeks are no exception. Greek doughnuts are known as loukoumades, and they are fried dough drizzled with warm honey and topped with cinnamon and walnuts. It is hard to describe how good they are. You literally need a moment when you take your first bite. In general, I am not a doughnut eater, but I make an exception for these. I usually eat them once a year at the local Greek Festival. I never make them at home, because frankly it would be too dangerous :). However, several weeks ago I made some garlic knots and their texture reminded me of loukoumades …. which got me thinking. I decided to use my garlic knot recipe and create a treat inspired by loukoumades. These are baked cinnamon nuggets of bread topped with warm honey. Their texture and flavor are definitely reminiscent of loukoumades, but with much less fat.
They are chewy, soft and not too sweet. Truly a delicious and inspired treat!
Sift the flour and cinnamon, and then add the sugar and salt. Stir well with a whisk and set aside. In a warmed mixing bowl, add the water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes and then ensure it is incorporated. Add the olive oil and flour mixture. If you are using a mixer, turn it on low, mix until it comes together for about a minute. Add extra flour if needed. Knead on low for an additional 3.5 minutes. The dough should not be sticky and should spring back when poked. Form a ball and place in an oiled bowl and lightly oil the dough on top.
Loosely cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk in a draft-free spot. Gently remove the dough and place on a scantly floured surface. Pat into a rectangle and fold over three times into another rectangle. Cut into 2 pieces and form 2 balls. Place each in a greased bowl, and loosely cover and let rise for an additional 30 minutes in a draft-free spot.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pan and set aside.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface, and flatten out until you reach 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the dough into 2 inch thick strips. Then cut each strip into 1.5 inch long ‘nuggets’. Place on a greased pan and in the 400 degree oven. Let bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the bottom and top just start to brown. Be careful not to burn these.
While the ‘nuggets’ are baking, add the honey to a pot over low heat and just heat through.
As soon as the nuggets come out of the oven, drizzle or toss them with warm honey. Serve immediately.
#1 Only put honey on the nuggets you are going to eat right away (freeze for longer storage). Add honey when you eat the remainder.
#2 Eat these without honey to cut down on sugar. They are a very nice lightly sweetened snack.
#3 Serve these to your little ones as a fun snack. My kids love them!