Finikia for finishing

These are my favourite biscuits at present. They are so moist and fragrant and delicious.

I made a batch of these a week or two back to celebrate my finishing university - hurrah! Even though Finikia biscuits are a celebratory treat usually made by the Greek Orthodox at easter time - I feel finishing my degree (a Bachelor of Global Studies with a major in Arabic and Islamic Studies) after 3 and a half years deserves some kind of celebratory baked good!

The recipe is as follows:
f i n i k i a c e l e b r a t i o n b i s c u i t s

125g butter softened,
11o cup caster sugar,
finely grated rind of 1 orange
125ml fresh orange juice
125ml vegetable or peanut oil
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups semolina
1/2 cup ground walnuts
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each of ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger

for the syrup: 1 cup water, 1/2 cup caster sugar, 1 cup honey, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (you can use pistachios too)

-preheat moderate oven (180'c) and line baking trays with paper
-in a large bowl cream the butter, sugar and orange rind until light and fluffy
-combine the flour, semolina, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves - beat into creamed mixture alternately with the orange juice.
-Turn out mixture onto a floured surface and knead until a firm dough. Pinch off tablespoons of dough and form them into ovals. Place the biscuits 5cm apart on the baking trays.
-Back for 25 minutes or till golden. Cool biscuits on trays to room temperature.

-Meanwhile make the syrup; over medium heat combine water, sugar, honey , lemon juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and then boil for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
-While mixture is boiling hot dip the biscuits in with tongs (I placed mine on top of a metal potato masher) - making sure to cover them completely.
-place finikia on a wire rack to dry and sprinkle with walnuts - its good to put some paper towel under the racks to catch the sticky drips
-and enjoy!

(they keep up to two weeks in a sealed container - and I think they get even better with time)
Ah, university... I have loved you and loathed you. You have let me take so many photos of your old stone facades, your secret doors, and grass so green. You have one of the best libraries I know - with books on level eight that smell so good (english literature generally does). You have confirmed that I will always begin to fall asleep in lectures at 3.45pm. And that I will always start my essays too late. You have excellent curry put on by the vegetarian society on Mondays. And your poster-boards and ladies lavatory doors always keep the eye and mind amused. More than that, you have provided me with one of the most beautiful and dear of friends.

It has been a blessing and a privilege to learn more about our world and its people, for that I sincerely thank you.

(merci to Shell for capturing photo no. 2 - what a jovial day we had back then)