Koulourakia Greek Easter Cookies are light and crumbly like shortbread but not too sweet. They’re perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea! This Koulourakia recipe is quick and easy to make, with flavours of sweet vanilla, sumac and citrus zest.
Easter may still a few weeks away, but you wouldn’t know it judging by the supermarket shelves. They’ve been packed with hot cross buns for weeks, so no wonder it feels like time flies by so quickly.
The busier we get, the faster time flies, which is why we think holidays like Easter are so important.
They’re a chance to slow down and relax. To spend time with those important people in our lives and eat some delicious food along the way! 😀
Like most holidays in Australia, Easter tends to revolve around food. But at this time of year, we find ourselves craving a sweet treat
or two like these adorable Koulourakia – Greek Easter Cookies.
Light and crumbly, ever-so-slightly sweet and with a refreshing citrus burst, you’ll be munching on Greek cookies in no time with this easy Koulourakia recipe.
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With a simple base of flour, butter, sugar and eggs, you can make your Koulourakia cookies in a heap of different shapes and subtle flavours, some super authentic, and others a little non-traditional like the version we’re sharing today.
The basic/original Koulourakia recipe calls for a dash of vanilla extract, with some recipes including some freshly grated zest from citrus fruits like orange or lemon.
But there’s no reason you can’t mix things up if you’re feeling a little experimental!
Today, after a huuuuuge discussion with some of our awesome friends on Instagram, we’ve decided to add sumac to our Koulourakia cookies.
Have you ever used sumac before? It’s a powdered spice made from dried Middle Eastern berries. Often used with meats in Middle Eastern cuisine, it’s versatile enough to add to any sweet or savoury dish, adding a slightly tart, sour citrus burst and helping to offset some of that sweetness from the sugar in our Greek cookies.
The great news is nowadays it’s readily available in the spice section of your supermarket or online.
We love experimenting with this sumac (hint hint: if you love cake, check this baby out), and we’re pleased to say it goes amazingly with Koulourakia!
Next time we might have to take our biscuit experiment even further with even quirkier flavours like Japanese kabosu, yuzu or mikan/mandarin orange…
Koulourakia Recipe – How To Shape Your Cookies
Once you’ve created your cookie dough, Koulourakia can be made in a variety of different shapes – from the traditional to the more… creative.
However, they all start from the same basic method, which is to take a small amount of Koulourakia dough in your hands, form it into a ball, and roll it into a rounded strip about 15cm long by 1.5cm thick.
It takes a little more work than pressing out a simple flat cookie, but it’s also a heck of a lot more fun.
Almost like play-doh that you can eat. 😀
Below are some of the more traditional shapes for your Greek Easter Biscuits, but in all honesty we figure they’ll taste good no matter how you shape them. 😉
To master this shape, simply take your dough strip and bend it in half, then give it two little twists. You should end up with a cute little braid or “key” shape.
Yep, that’s our silly name for this shape – you could probably call these flat spirals, but ‘snails’ sounds more fun. 😛
Simply take a strip of dough, and roll it up until you’ve created a flat spirally snail.
(Adding a snail head or tail is, of course, completely optional.) 😛
S’s & O’s
Just like snails, the ‘S’ shape is created by rolling the dough up into a flat spiral, but this time you’ll roll it up from each end towards the centre, in opposite directions.
And for the O’s, all you need to do is form a simple circle shape just like a donut and you’re done. Easy!
Koulourakia Cookie Toppings
Traditionally speaking, Koulourakia cookies are normally brushed with beaten egg for a crispy golden shine.
But if you’re looking to amp things up with your Koulourakia recipe, you might like to top them with some of the following:
- Icing Sugar: Play it safe with a light sprinkling or dust liberally for extra sweetness.
- Sesame Seeds: a hint of savoury deliciousness.
- Sliced Almonds: Nutty goodness and extra crunch.
- Sprinkles: Non-traditional but lots of colour and fun, especially for little ones!
After that all you need do is pop them in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes… Juuust enough time to brew up a coffee and find your favourite book for a sweet little afternoon break. 😉
And finally, this recipe should leave you with around 20 freshly baked Koulourakia biscuits depending on how big you make them. They last quite a while when stored in an airtight container, so don’t feel like you have to eat them all within a few days.
(Unless that was your plan all along…)
- ¾ cup butter softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp lemon zest adjust to taste
- ½-1 tsp sumac optional: our experiment!
- 2 eggs + 1 extra egg yolk reserved for egg wash
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- icing sugar
- sesame seeds
- almond slivers
- Let's get started! Go ahead and preheat your oven to 176˚C / 350˚F.
- Pop your butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat on medium high until smooth and creamy.
- Next, grate in your fresh lemon zest, adding as much or as little as you like depending on the strength or subtlety of flavour you’re after. Add in the vanilla extract and sumac if you’re keen to try our Wandercooks version, or omit the spice if you prefer. Then beat on low briefly until the flavours are evenly mixed.
- Then, add two eggs (one at a time) to the mixture, blending on low until they're evenly incorporated.
- Now, add the baking powder and 1 cup of flour and mix on low for a few minutes mixed through. Continue adding more flour a bit at a time until the dough is nicely formed. You're aiming for dough that's still soft but not too sticky.
- Transfer the dough mixture over to a clean, floured surface and knead with your hands for a few mins until the dough is smooth and even. Then cover with cling film and let it rest for 20 mins.
- To make your dough shapes, take a small handful of dough and form into a ball with your hands, then roll out into a thin strip around 15 cm long x 1.5 cm wide. Twist into braids, roll up into spirals or 'S' shapes, or form them into any shape your heart desires!
- Brush with beaten egg yolk and top with any of the optional toppings you want to use, then place on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for around 10-15 minutes until golden brown.