What Are Koulourakia?
Koulourakia are a traditional dessert cookie eaten on Easter Sunday in Greece. They are characterized by a butter cookie base, egg glaze, and a little surprise - a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top! The cookies are usually hand-shaped into rings, braids, or the one shown in the photo above, a "twisted snake". The snake is most often seen used by the Minoans, since they believed that snakes have healing powers!
What Ingredients Do You Need?
These are simple cookies and require only basic ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.
- Salted butter - you can use unsalted and add a pinch of flour to the dough.
- Sugar - plain white granulated sugar
- Eggs - not much to say about 'em. I used size large.
- Fresh squeezed orange juice - you can use bottled juice in a pinch since it's such a small amount, I won't tell anyone
- Sifted all-purpose flour - sifting the flour before measuring will ensure the best texture in your cookies.
- Baking powder - this will help your little twists puff up in the oven.
- Raw sesame seeds - you'll only need a bit for sprinkling onto the dough before baking. This is what gives koulourakia their unique flavor.
You won't need any special equipment to make these cookies, though I do recommend using an electric mixer (hand or stand) to cream the butter and sugar properly. This is my favorite hand mixer.
How Do I Shape The Dough?
These cookies are traditionally shaped as rings, braids, or the one I chose - the twisted snake. I'm used to seeing this shape at the local Greek festival we try to attend each year. The cookies are always served alongside a cup of strong Greek coffee - yum!
On a lightly floured surface, and with floured hands, pinch off a ball of dough and roll it out into a rope 3-4 inches long.
Then bend the rope in half, into a U-shape.
Now twist the bottom part of the U together twice, or however many times you need. Your ropes might be different sizes than mine, and that's okay!
Line up the finished shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1.5 inches apart, brush with an egg wash for extra shine, and give each one a light sprinkle of sesame seeds.
You'll probably need to bake the cookies in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your pan. Just make sure to use a cooled pan for each batch! Depending on the size of your twists, this recipe may yield anywhere from 24-36 cookies. The cookies are done when they are lightly browned, around 16 minutes for my oven.
They taste like a lovely basic butter cookie, but with a fun shape and a bit of something special from the sesame seeds on top. Eat them on their own or dunk them into milk or hot Greek coffee.
Here's the recipe! I found the original at www.grouprecipes.com The only thing I changed was using juice from a real orange instead of "orange juice", which I assume meant the stuff in a carton. Nothing wrong if you want to use that - I just had an orange handy and no orange juice, so that's what I did!Print
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Other Easter Posts:
Hot Cross Buns - made with cinnamon roll dough!
Glazed Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies - Oh so soft and not too sweet!
Chocolate Pretzel Bird Nests - A fun food craft for the kiddos!