Saturday, December 22, 2012


Bâton Salé... Presenting the wonderful, addictive, savory cookie!!!
These little treats are just like potato chips, in that you can't eat just one.  You have to go back and get another and another. It's just a guilty pleasure. They are salty, cheesy, buttery, they melt in your mouth, they are irresistible.  If you are familiar with koulourakia, you know that they are a sweet buttery Greek cookie.  Here is a different version: these koulourakia are not sweet... they are savory, or as Greeks call them, they are "salty koulourakia."  They are also referred to as "bâton salé," which in French means "salty sticks."  I don't know why they have two names but they can be found in patisserie shops all over Greece, and they are a very popular snack. 
This recipe was given to me by my aunt Sophia, who told me that she got it from the owner of a patisserie shop. It's supposed to be a top secret recipe.  I don't know what methods my aunt employed to get it, and I don't want to find out, either. Suffice it to say that it's a great recipe.  Salty koulourakia go well with drinks, especially with beer. They're also a great accompaniment when having tea.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup canola oil
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup ground Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons feta cheese, finely crumbled
about 4 cups of flour
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk, to be used for egg wash
Fresh out of the oven!
Melt the butter, let it cool and then whisk it with the oil until well blended.  Add the eggs and continue whisking. 
Add the milk, the salt, pepper, and the cheeses, and continue beating.
Sift the flour with the baking powder.  Add it gradually to the butter mixture, beating between each addition.  
Turn the dough onto a board and knead, adding more flour if necessary, not not so much that the dough gets tough.  
Cut the dough into pieces of about 1 inch in diameter.  
Shape into rods or circles.  
Place on parchment lined baking sheets, and brush with egg wash.  
The tops of the koulourakia can be decorated with almonds or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Bake in a preheated 350º F until golden in color, about 20 to 30 minutes. 
Here they are, all piled up and waiting to be placed in  storage containers.  If stored at room temperature in an air-tight container, salty koulourakia stay fresh for about  two weeks.

They are high in carbohydrates, but they contain no sugar. Does that make them a good diabetic treat?  My mother, who is 86 and diabetic, seems to think so. Don't try arguing with her. Actually, diabetics should eat protein first and should abstain from eating a lot of carbohydrates. On occasions when mom's blood sugar is low and she needs to have a snack, I give her a glass of warm low-fat and lactose-free milk, a banana, and a couple of graham crackers. That's a very nice snack for a diabetic.  If we have these koulourakia in the house, I will give her a couple of them instead of the graham crackers. Sometimes I give her yogurt... but I am beginning to digress here.  I recommend that you have some "bâton salé" with a nice cup of tea.  Do that.  And yes, they'll taste even better if you dunk them in your tea.  I promise!


  1. Right! I'm going to have to take the next flight out of Ireland and invite myself over to your house for these, Ana. I've never had salted koulourakias, even though my nuna did make the regular sweet ones, but she also did make savoury ones that weren't cookies, but rather, 'hand pies' or savoury turn-overs that she filled with either three different cheeses or spinach and cheese, and she interchangably called them either 'boyikos' or 'bourekyas.'

    These look absolutely delicious and yes, highly addictive, Ana, so I'm hoping by the time I get to your house, there'll still be some left for me to nibble on, lol.

    Wishing you and your mom and all your family and loved ones a very happy Christmas, and looking forward to the new year. With love, June

    1. Hi June! I have often wondered where these things originated, and I've looked around to find an answer, but there is really nothing written about them. So now that you mentioned bourekyas, you got me thinking. The dough is really similar to that of bourekyas, so I think these koulourakia are a version of un-stuffed bourekyas. I bet you that's how they originated. At any rate, my mom is downstairs, and guess what she is making to give away as Christmas gifts??? BOUREKYAS! Stuffed with cheese. It's a shame to give them away, they smell so good, the whole house smells of the aroma of bourekyas. I wish you were here!!!

  2. Oh, how I wish I was there with you (and your mom) too! She's giving away bourekyas - as Christmas prezzies! And I'm not there on the receiving end of these delicious pastries!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about (and looking at) how amazing they must surely taste (and smell while they're baking).

    I wish my nuna were here today (God rest her). Then I could ask her all about why she never did refer to the sweet cookies as 'koulourakia,' but rather her word or pronunciation of the word 'koulouria' (she pronounced it 'kloo-thee-ya'). I honestly cannot ever recall her using the word 'koulourakia' when she made the cookies for us. Not even once. They were always called 'kloo-thee-ya' (which, even though it wasn't the right word for them, I'm sure this was her pronunciation of the word 'koulouria').

    On another Greek cooking blog (which shall remain anonymous and un-named), I was actually 'scolded' by the blogger herself for annoying her by enquiring about not only the words themselves, but the pronunciations being different, and the confusion I have/had about the words my grandmother used for the cookies and the 'hand-pies'. It's only because of my love of not only the foods themselves, but the culture and their origins and meanings and etymology, that I asked and enquired. Ah well...such is life in the blogosophere sometimes.

    Thank you, though, for taking the time and being so kind and patient in also wanting to find out where these words and the recipes and variations of the recipes originated from and evolved into, from region to region, and even country to country.

    I can so vividly recall the absolutely gorgeous aroma - the savoury perfume! - of both the cookies/'klooth-yee-ah' and the bourekyas (she sometimes exchanged that word for 'bee-yee-koos,' which I'm sure was her way of saying 'boyikos,' but just in her native Ioannina dialect. I've tried making both over the years, and while they do taste great, they're just not the same as my nuna's were. She should have and could easily have opened her own bakery in Ioannina (if she and my popu had not emigrated to the US, I mean) - she was an absolutely brilliant cook and baker.

    Thanks for this recipe, Ana. I will definitely at least try to make them taste, look and small as beautiful as I am sure your mom has been making them today...I doubt I can even come close, but with this recipe, I'll at least have inspiration and motivation.

    Have a beautiful and joy-filled Christmas and New Year's, my friend.

  3. Am going to make these this week - thank you! Καλά Χριστούγεννα! F xx

  4. My kind of cookie. I prefer salty and savory to sweet, have had these at your house and yes they are delicious. One of my favorites. Your mom, as wonderful as she is at her age can have as many as she wants.

    Beautiful tea mug, Ana :)

    1. Can't remember who gave me that mug as a present from Newfoundland where it was made... Its colors go well with my tablecloth, which I liberated from my mom's tablecloth stash. But back to the mug... Who could have given it to me, I wonder.... Have any idea?

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