Loukoumades—Greek pastries—on a blue plate

Loco for Loukoumades
When asked to name a Greek dessert, nine out of ten people polled will answer baklava. That one person out of ten that gives you a different answer is probably Greek. And, their answer would most likely be loukoumades.

I have several friends who go crazy for these little guys (and not just while attending the Greek Festival). Of course, all of them are of Greek heritage, and given their level of reverence for these crispy golden bites of awesomeness, you would think that loukoumades would have a bigger presence outside of a Greek restaurant. But, alas baklava is still king.

Loukoumades are without question comfort food. They are essentially Greek donuts. Their yeasted dough is rolled into little balls and then fried in oil. When finished they are doused with honey and sprinkled with nuts and sometimes cinnamon. It is also not unheard of to see them served with chocolate sauce. Walnuts are traditional but I, myself, am not a walnut fan. I prefer my loukoumades with chopped almonds or pistachios…but that’s just me.

Fair warning, they are sweet. They are also addictive so proceed with caution.

Loukoumades Recipe
Adapted from My Greek Dish
Yields approximately 5 dozen

Loukoumades are bite-sized fluffy honey balls, the Greek version of donuts. They are deep-fried until golden and crispy. Loukoumades are traditionally served soaked in hot honey syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon, and garnished with chopped nuts.

For the dough
1 cup of lukewarm water
1 cup of lukewarm milk
1/2 ounce active dry yeast
3-1/4cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
vegetable oil for frying

For the syrup
3/4 cup honey
chopped walnuts, almonds, or pistachios
cinnamon powder (optional)
Chocolate syrup (optional)

Make the dough
Add the water, sugar, and yeast to a bowl and whisk until the yeast dissolves completely. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

Add the yeast mixture and the remaining ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk at high speed until the mixture becomes a smooth batter *about 2 minutes). The mixture should be smooth with no lumps.

Allow the dough to rise
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for at least 1 hour.

Heat the oil
Set a medium-sized frying pan on the stove and pour enough vegetable oil to easily fry the loukoumades. Heat the oil over medium heat to 320º F. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Form the loukoumades
Dip a tablespoon in some oil and shake it to remove any excess. Dip your hand in the dough and grab some in your palm. Squeeze a small portion of dough between your thumb and index finger, like you are squeezing your fist. Using the spoon, grab the dough ball from your hand and let it drop in the hot oil.

Repeat this procedure until the surface of the pan is comfortably filled. There should be room between the loukoumades. Be certain to dip the spoon in the oil & shake off each time, so that the batter doesn’t stick.

While the loukoumades are frying, use a slotted spoon to push them into the oil and turn them on all sides. Fry until they are golden brown. When cooked, place them on some paper towels to drain. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Serve them on a large platter, drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with chopped nuts and cinnamon if desired.

If you are in the mood for some chocolate, replace the honey with warmed chocolate sauce. Pour the warm chocolate over the loukoumades, sprinkle with some roughly chopped nuts, and enjoy!

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