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Koulourakia - Greek Easter Cookies

Koulourakia are traditional Greek Easter cookies prepared during Greek Orthodox Easter festivities. Flavoured with orange zest and topped with sesame seeds, these Greek butter cookies will become a new staple on your Easter table.
Course sweet treat
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Calories 128kcal
Author Peter G

Ingredients

  • 250 grams butter softened
  • 200 grams sugar caster
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 orange (use juice and zest)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 600 grams plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl of a stand mixer until pale and thick (make sure to use the paddle attachment). This should take approximately 3-5 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add your eggs one by one ensuring they are mixed well.
  • In a separate jug combine the orange juice, zest, vanilla, baking powder and soda. Stir and add this back to creamed butter mixture. Mix again until well incorporated.
  • At low speed, slowly add the flour (I like to use a large spoon to do this), making sure it is mixed well before adding the next one. Repeat until all the flour is used and you have a soft dough.
  • Check the dough with your fingers - it should feel soft (not sticky) - yet pliable. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for half an hour in the fridge. (see note 1)
  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and form it into a ball. If you want to be super precise, you can weigh your koulourakia - for reference, mine weighed 30 grams - approx. 1.5 oz
  • Using your hands, roll out the dough into a long rope - approx. 20 cm (7-8”) and form into your desired shapes. You can do plaits, “snails”, S shapes and pinwheels (refer to picture below).
  • Preheat your oven to 170 deg C - 340 F (NOT fan-forced) and place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle over sesame seeds.
  • Cook for 20- 22 mins until they have coloured. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 mins. Then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (see note 2)

Notes

  1. The dough.  Achieving the right texture for our dough is paramount in producing Greek Easter cookies. It’s important to feel the dough once it’s been kneaded in the stand mixer. Use your fingers and if you think it’s too sticky, adjust by adding a little extra flour. Add one tablespoon at a time and feel after each mix. Don’t add too much otherwise, your cookie dough will turn out dry and crumbly.
  2. The colour of your koulourakia.  Because these are butter cookies, they tend to be more on the blonde side when baked. Glazing them with egg wash gives them a nice golden brown colour. If you find they are still a little pale, try placing them under a broiler for a few minutes - just don’t burn them!
  3. Storing.  You can keep your cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g