Delicious traditional greek Easter butter sugar cookies made with touch of vanilla and orange zest. Excellent treat with cup of coffee.
Easter is around the corner, and usually I bake bread for Easter, and this time also I made some bread and will post it soon. When I searched for Easter cookies in Google I thought I am going to see only sugar cookies painted with bunnies and eggs. But I was wrong, I found this Greek Easter cookies (Koulourakia). I was attracted to this recipe because of its unique twisted shape. Basically it is a sugar-butter cookie with touch of orange zest, and vanilla extract. Finally I decide to try it for myself.
Koulourakia is a traditional dessert cookie eaten on Easter Sunday in Greece. It has butter cookie base and an egg wash; if you want you can sprinkle some sesame seeds. The cookies are usually hand-shaped into rings, braids, or like the one I made, “twisted snake”. The snake is most often seen used by the Minoans, since they believed that snakes have healing powers.
For the Greeks, one of the most important festivals is Easter, and they celebrate it a bit differently. It is based on the Julian calendar and it must be after Passover. It is always held on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
I tried to make Greek Easter bread with red dyed eggs two times. However both the times, bread lost its shape after baking. It was a beauty before baking and came out of the oven like some gigantic creature. I was very disappointed at my failure both the times, and told my hubby that I am frustrated. He told me to try again. But I really did not have the will power to try it again knowing all the amount of work it takes and again not knowing if my changes will work. So I will wait for another Easter to give this bread another try.
My daughter is now fond of Easter eggs she wants to hunt Easter Eggs along with Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen in our backyard. I can bring Easter eggs, but from where I will bring all the Frozen team. While I was growing up there was no Easter eggs only a holiday that was very important for me and my sister.
Coming to Greek Easter cookies (Koulourakia) recipe, I found most of the Greek sites and YouTube video’s gives the recipe to make 1000 of cookies with which we can feed a bunch of people. Since it is butter- sugar cookie, which I was also trying for the first time; I wanted to make only a few. Also in the traditional cookies, baking ammonia is used as they tend to make cookies more crispy and airy. I didn’t have it my hand, so instead used baking powder.
I first made the cookie dough and chilled the dough for about 30 minutes in refrigerator. That tends to retain the shape a little better. I baked it for about 20-22 minutes or until side’s starts to brown.
These cute crunchy cookies go well with coffee or tea, and worth a try.
Greek Easter cookies (Koulourakia)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Zest of one orange
- pinch of salt
- Egg Wash:
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit .
- Prepare a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the vanilla and eggs, orange zest and beat until everything get blend well.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few minutes until you have smooth dough.
- Chill the dough for about 30 minutes in refrigerator.
- Break off pieces (about a rounded tablespoon)
- Roll it into a thin rope of about 8 inch long.
- Bring the two ends together like this.
- Twist the two ends together
- Place it on the sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- When you have shaped all of the cookies, then beat the egg wash and lightly brush the tops of the cookies.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 20-22 minutes.
- Let them cool on a rack for 10 minutes. And store it in airtight container.
This is Swathi ( Ambujom Saraswathy) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.