Koulourakia - Greek Easter Cookies
Light and crumbly like shortbread but not too sweet, get ready for our Koulourakia cookies to knock your socks off this Easter. With flavours of sweet vanilla, sumac and citrus zest, these biscuits go perfect with a hot cup of tea and only need 20 minutes in the oven!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 20 biscuits
- 150 grams butter softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp lemon zest adjust to taste
- 1 tsp sumac
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp milk to wash
- 2 tsp icing sugar
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp almond slivers
- 2 tsp sprinkles
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 180˚C / 350˚F.
Pop your butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and combine using a wooden spoon or 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 mix briefly until the flavours are evenly mixed.
Then, add the eggs to the mixture, mixing through or blending on low until they're evenly incorporated.
Now, add the baking powder and 1 cup of flour and mix for a few minutes until mixed through. Continue adding the remaining flour a bit at a time until the mixture turns into a dough. You're aiming for dough that's still soft but not too sticky.
Transfer the dough mixture over to a clean 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! Watch our video for a step by step guide to rolling each shape. Get creative!
Optional: Brush with milk and top with any of the toppings you want to use, then place on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- If you find the dough is too dry, add a little more butter. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour. Finally, if you're still unsure, watch our video to see the texture for the perfect Greek Easter cookies.
- The biscuits 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.
Variations & Substitutes
- Can you freeze the cookies and the dough? Yes! That's the magic about this recipe - you can either do a double batch of dough and cook half and freeze the other OR cook the lot and freeze some of the biscuits.
- What does koulourakia mean? Koulourakia comes from the Greek word - “kouloura” meaning a loop or twist, just like the shapes of the biscuits themselves.
- How to shape koulourakia? 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 you can eat. Below are some of the more traditional shapes, but in all honesty we figure they’ll taste good no matter how you shape them.
- Traditional Braid 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.
- Snails 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.) :P
- 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 doughnut and you’re done. Easy!
- Get creative with your 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, you might like to try 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!
- Make the naughty version called Drunk Koulourakia aka Koulourakia Methismena. Add in a shot of ouzo, frangelico or whatever liqueur takes your fancy.
- For a more golden topping brush with egg yolk instead of milk.
Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg