Our Greek cookies and baklava were first introduced at the local Farmers Market’s in St. Augustine and Jacksonville, FL, just before the holidays. I can remember my very first market in which I made 850 Koulourakia cookies (YaYa Sticks) and was told to make something else… what better to compliment them with than Baklava! Believe it or not, I kept the Baklava on the back seat, but our customers were begging for more of this gooey, syrupy and nutty pastry.
February of 2011 our Chocolate Baklava was introduced with Chocolate Raspberry making it’s first debut in Spring of the same year. Customers, just like yourself, were lined up for miles… well, maybe not miles.. but they were lined up and bought every last piece we had! All that was left at the end of the day were empty trays!
The very beginning of my baking experiences all started in my greek YaYa’s kitchen when I was very young, 6 years old to be exact! The very first thing she taught me was “kitchen duty”! She placed a small step stool by the kitchen sink, better reachability in order to wash those gooey bowls, dishes, and “what nots” covered with flour and sugar while she was busy making her buttery Koulourakia and mouth watering Baklava. I would be spying over her shoulders while she patiently and maticulously kneeded her dough, all by hand… no Kitchen Aid equipment in my YaYa’s kitchen.. everything was made by hand! Baklava, cookies, breads, spanakopita, pastiso all made from scratch. To this day I consider myself the fortunate grandchild… the one who spent the most time with her while she patiently taught me how to make these wonderful greek pastries. Afterwards, she would treat me with my favorite dish… french toast…don’t chuckle…. I loved my grandmother’s french toast! We would take our french toast, a few greek cookies along with two cups of expresso coffee and greek cheese.. my coffee was a 50/50 blend, half coffee, half milk and sit outside on the veranda next to the grapefruit and orange trees planted close by. She made everything taste so yummy and we both enjoyed eating the rewards of her wonderful baking and cooking.
My YaYa had a wonderful legacy and now I have my own thanks to her! I’m now a proud YaYa myself, six (6) grandbabies, my very own Koukla’s (dolls) and we spend a lot of time in my kitchen making some of the very same greek goodies.
Now you to can enjoy some of these favorite Greek pastries that were passed down from my YaYa’s kitchen to yours. Give me a ring and let me know what you would like to try!
Blessings To All Of You!
Jackie Biles has been a professional baker only recently sharing much beloved family recipes with more than friends and family here in Jacksonville. Greek by heritage, Jackie prepares authentically Greek desserts, preparing each one by hand in the Greek tradition. Her certified kitchen is on Old Kings Road: 8101-4 Old Kings Rd. Jacksonville, FL. 32217