Koulourakia: a Greek treat

by Gus Cronwell, opinion editor

Koulourakia is a traditional Greek cookie! They were first served around Easter time to celebrate the breaking of the Lenten fast, but nowadays they can be found at any Greek holiday celebration, including Christmas. Very buttery with a hint of orange and vanilla with sesame seeds on top, these are an excellent, mildly sweet treat!

To prepare you’ll need: 

½ cup butter softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

¼ cup milk warmed to 80F

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 orange, zested

2 tsp baking powder

2 ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp of water (for the glaze)

Sesame seeds (to top)

Step 6
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, and beat until lightly colored. Add the milk, vanilla, orange zest, and baking powder. Mixing as you add.
  2. Add the flour, a little at a time, while mixing, until you have a soft but not sticky dough.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it for 30 minutes.
  4. While your dough is resting, preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  5. Once the dough has rested, dip your fingers in a little flour and pinch off a 1 inch ball of dough. Roll the ball into a 7 inch rope on a lightly floured surface. Fold the rope in half and twist the two strands together to form the cookie. Continue with the remaining dough. Alternatively, you can braid the dough. 
  6. Place the shaped cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart like shown at right.
  7. Brush each cookie with the egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water). Sprinkle the cookies with sesame seeds if desired.
  8. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes, rotating your baking sheet halfway through baking time for more even cooking. Cookies are done when they are lightly golden.
  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
This recipe makes about 60 koulourakia so, if you need to, just cover any excess dough while your first batch bakes, so it doesn’t dry out

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