Koulourakia - Greek Easter Cookies

Koulourakia – Greek Easter Cookies

Koulourakia are traditional Greek Easter Cookies that are always made around this time of year! This simple recipe uses basic ingredients to create a buttery crisp cookie that is ideal for dunking in tea or coffee!

Orthodox Easter is quickly approaching and we are in full on baking mode. Easter is a big deal around here and is the biggest celebration of the year. It also happens to include some of my favourite baked goodies that traditionally make an appearance this time of year!

Koulourakia are traditional Greek Easter Cookies that are made this time of year by everyone and their mother! Seriously, I challenge you to find a Greek household that isn’t baking these cookies up right now. There are so many variations of koulourakia out there as family recipes get passed down from generation to generation. My mother, mother-in-law, aunts and pretty much every Greek lady I know has a recipe they swear by. Although they are similar, they do vary in a few areas.

My recipe for Koulourakia

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a blend of old and new. It is based on my mom’s recipe for koulourakia with a few minor tweaks.

  1. I used baking powder instead of ammonia.

Traditionally, these cookies are made with baker’s ammonia which is used as the leavening agent. This is not a common ingredient to use here in North America as baking powder or baking soda is the usual go-to for leavening. Ammonia is used in Greece (and other countries) for dried baked goods and it is the leavening agent my mom uses for her version of koulourakia.

Although I can find this in the ethnic aisle of local supermarkets, I decided to swap it out and replace it with baking powder instead. This is partly because baking powder is something readily available and also because I just don’t like the smell of ammonia when it is cooking!

2. I used butter where my mom uses a mix of butter and Crisco vegetable shortening.

I personally like the taste of an all-butter koulouraki. Crisco is often used because it gives the cookies a nice, crumbly texture. Both versions are delicious so if you would like to go with my moms method, swap half the butter for shortening.

How to make Koulourakia (Greek Easter Cookies)

This recipe is actually pretty easy to make and starts the same way as many other cookies- by creaming together the butter and sugar. The only difference from many other cookie recipes is that you separate the egg whites and egg yolks for this version of koulourakia. The egg whites are beaten until they form stiff peaks and then they are added into the dough towards the end to add a little lightness to it.

Enough talk, let’s get to it!

Ingredients for Koulourakia- Greek Easter Cookies

To make a batch of these cookies (about 32 cookies), you will need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cups flour

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper [I do this with 2 cookie sheets and then reuse one of the cookie sheets for a 3rd batch].

In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), place the butter and beat for 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Separate the egg whites and yolks. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.
Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture. Add the milk and vanilla extract as well and blend until everything is incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

Mix the baking powder and flour together in a bowl.

Slowly add the flour mixture and egg whites a little at a time, alternating between flour and egg whites until everything is incorporated [do not overmix- once everything is incorporated, stop mixing].

Scoop out 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough. Roll the dough out into a 8-9 inch rope (about 1/3 inch thick) on a clean, dry surface. If your dough is sticking to your surface, lightly flour it (but be careful not to add too much flour or you will dry out the dough).

Fold the rope in half and twist it 3 times (see photos in the blog post above to see how to do this). Place the cookies on the cookie sheet, leaving a 2 inch space between them.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg and the water to make the egg wash. Brush the cookies with the egg wash.
Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes or until they begin to brown on the bottom. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I like to enjoy these cookies with a cup of coffee or tea! They are definitely a dunking type of cookie! I hope you enjoy this version of a family recipe!

Wishing everyone celebrating Easter soon a Kali Anastasi!

-Cathy

You may also like:

Melomakarona (Greek Christmas Honey Cookies)

Koulourakia – Greek Easter Cookies

Servings

32

cookies
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 3 1/2 cups flour

  • For the egg wash:
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper [I do this with 2 cookie sheets and then reuse one of the cookie sheets for a 3rd batch].
  • In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), place the butter and beat for 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Separate the egg whites and yolks. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.
  • Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture. Add the milk and vanilla extract as well and blend until everything is incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
  • Mix the baking powder and flour together in a bowl.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and egg whites a little at a time, alternating between flour and egg whites until everything is incorporated [do not overmix- once everything is incorporated, stop mixing].
  • Scoop out 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough. Roll the dough out into a 8-9 inch rope (about 1/3 inch thick) on a clean, dry surface. If your dough is sticking to your surface, lightly flour it (but be careful not to add too much flour or you will dry out the dough).
  • Fold the rope in half and twist it 3 times (see photos in the blog post above to see how to do this). Place the cookies on the cookie sheet, leaving a 2 inch space between them.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg and the water to make the egg wash. Brush the cookies with the egg wash.
  • Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes or until they begin to brown on the bottom (and lightly brown on top). Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

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