Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Greek Easter Cookies (Koulourakia)

Do you ever want “just” a simple, but delicious, cookie? One that’s easy to make, doesn’t have a zillion ingredients, keeps well, and is perfect for enjoying as a light breakfast, or as an after dinner treat? Well, look no further.

In doing research to bring a traditional dessert to a friend’s home for Greek Easter dinner, I happened upon Koulourakia, a crispy, yet buttery-soft, citrus-scented cookie. At first taste, right after the first tray emerged from the oven, I was not overly impressed. They were nice enough, but not anything special. But after my second tasting (quality control!), they started to grow on me. I loved their adorable little braided shape and the lightness of the dough. My dinner companions loved them (and the highest complement of all, telling me they reminded our hostess of her Greek mother’s version!); and as I continued to enjoy one (or two) after dinner last night, dunking them into my coffee, I proclaimed them a winner! 

I think next time (because there WILL be a next time), I might add a bit more orange flavor, and maybe instead of sesame seeds as a topping, I might opt for some crystallized sugar for a touch more sweetness. Of course, I know this totally changes the original nature of this cookie, but no harm in experimenting, right?

Happy Spring!

Photo courtesy of 

Koulourakia (Greek Easter Cookies) 

Adapted from 


1/2 C unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C sugar

2 eggs

1/4 C milk, warmed to 80°F

1 t pure vanilla extract

1 orange, zested

2 t baking powder

2-1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1 egg beaten with 1 TB of water (for the egg wash)

Sesame seeds (for topping)


  1. In 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 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Once the dough has rested, dip your fingers in a little flour and pinch off a 1” ball of dough. Roll the ball into a 6” 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 (see note at bottom of recipe).
  6. Place the shaped cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 1” apart.
  7. Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took exactly 15 minutes, so watch carefully), rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking for more even cooking. Cookies are done when lightly golden.
  9. Let cool on the baking sheet on a rack for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  10. Store cooled cookies in airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Note: this recipe makes alot of cookies (approximately 50-60) so cover remaining dough with plastic wrap while first batch bakes to prevent dryness.

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