Koulourakia ( Greek Easter Butter Biscuits )

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Just in time for easter! These Traditional koulourakia (koulourakia paschalina)  are traditionally served at Easter time but are delicious butter biscuit the whole year round. They are light and fluffy perfect served with tea or coffee or milk and keep well in a jar or sealed container.

Greek Easter Biscuits are a butter based cookie with hints of vanilla and orange, hand shaped in various braid shapes, brushed with an egg and milk wash on top, and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  They have a sweet delicate flavour with a hint of vanilla.  Our greek home has been making these koulourakia biscuits for generations this way.

This particular recipe is the traditional one, not gluten free but simple and without preservatives or ingredients whose name you cannot pronounce. They also have an added advantage they keep well. The dough is rolled into a strand and the strands are twisted together and brushed with egg -milk wash and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

The recipe below has much less sugar than the traditional variety. If you like them on the sweet side, use 3/4 cup sugar.

koulourakia greek easter biscuits or greek butter cookies
A staple in all greek homes. They are a butter based cookie, hand shaped in braids most commonly, brushed with an egg and milk wash on top.

Koulourakia and Greek Custom

Most holidays in greek traditions involve copious amounts of foods.  Greek Easter Monday is a time of feasting for the extended family, and on Easter Sunday greek homes are preparing for the Easter Monday lunchtime gathering, making traditional meals and desserts.  To finish off the huge feast,  greek coffee is always served and a ‘koulouraki’ ( singular term for one koulourakia cookie ) or ‘kourambiethes‘ or ‘paximadia‘. You see, having something semi-sweet to dunk into a coffee is a pleasurable and social experience.  In fact,  growing up in a small village in Greece, koulourakia were served as part of breakfast with a coffee, or as a wholesome snack for children to have with their milk.

As you can imagine, adults male and female, and children like to eat koulourakia at home and really, it is not just at easter time, and as such most greeks would make these greek butter cookies in the hundreds.  The recipe will make between 30 and 40 biscuits.  Double your quantity ( or triple )  if  your feeding a Greek hoard!

For me, greek easter cookies are a staple, are made throughout the year for my family and are welcomed by everyone who I serve them to, even my non-Greek friends. 

Κουλουράκια για όλη την οικογένεια

My children, always love to see them baking in the oven and no-one is ever too old or young to eat.

In fact, my son just now passed by  the kitchen as I’m typing this up and who never hesitates to express his opinion passed through and said “ oohh… mum… those smell really good when will they be ready?” 

The recipe below has been updated to include some Bonus Tips.

Koulourakia ( Greek Easter Butter Biscuits )
Yield: 30-40 cookies

Koulourakia ( Greek Easter Butter Biscuits )

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
These koulourakia (koulourakia paschalina) are traditionally served at Easter time but are a delicious butter biscuit the whole year round. They are light and fluffy perfect served with tea or coffee or milk and keep well.

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

  • 200g butter unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 cups flour aproximately
  • 3 heaped tspns baking powder
  • 3/4 tspn bicarbonate soda
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tspn aniseeds ( optional)
  • 1/2 Orange Zest

Glaze

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbspn milk

Instructions

  1. Before you start make sure the butter is at room temperature. This means to touch the butter will be soft to touch and only just hold its shape. It will not be firm or cold.
  2. Cream butter, zest and add sugar gradually.
  3. Add eggs one at a time alternatively with the orange juice.
  4. Sift the flour well with the soda and baking powder.
  5. Add half the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and gradually mix through the rest of the flour little by little - until a soft dough forms.
  6. Shape as desired. I have included a sample of the different shapes you can use. All of the shapes pictured are commonly used in Greek homes.
  7. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of sesame seeds onto your working bench top.
  8. Roll the dough into a strand and when your strand has formed roll onto the sprinkled sesame seed and then shape. This will ensure the sesame seeds do not fall off after they are cooked.
  9. Place onto a greased baking dish or on greaseproof paper.
  10. Mix the egg and milk with a fork. Baste the cookies with the egg mixture. Half way through, baste again so that your cookies are finished off with a golden colour.koulourakia greek easter biscuits or greek butter cookies
  11. Bake for 20 mins at 180 Degree Celsius preheated fan forced oven.

Notes

Cooking time depends on the size, shape and firmness of your cookie dough. Don't worry you may need to sample one or two just to be sure before removing from the oven.

It is best to hold off using all the flour, when the dough has been mixed together well to a smooth consistency, if it is sticky then add a little flour at a time. Mix it in, grab a little piece then see if it rolls out to shape easily.

Substitutions

You can use baking ammonia if your able to source it. If you do, use it in place of the baking soda and only use half the quantity.

If you like your koulourakia a little on the sweet side, use 3/4 cup caster sugar.

Vanilla, orange zest, anise are common traditional flavours. Have seen koulourakia iced and flavoured with chocolate. Choose whichever you like.

Tips

When brushing the koulourakia with eggwash, brush the koulourakia sparingly and then 10 minutes before they are ready, brush them again. This will give the koulourakia a nice golden glow. Too much eggwash all at once, will give the koulourakia a crusty blotchy outer layer.

Space your cookies generously, as they will increase in size.

When shaping your koulourakia, make them smaller than you like as they will rise and enlarge.

Run the sesame seeds under water, then strain very well - ensure no water comes out when you shake the sesame seeds from the strainer. The extra moisture absorbed by the sesame seed will ensure the sesame seeds stick to your dough and inevitably the koulouraki once it is cooked.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

35

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 29mg Sodium: 50mg Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 4g Protein: 3g
Olives&Feta do not have control over the ingredients you use to make this recipe nor the environment in which you are making them. When Brands of ingredients are specified please check the brand as companies do change their products. Always read the label.
koulourakia greek easter biscuits

 

 

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Average rating:  
 4 reviews
by Anna on olivesandfeta
Classic

These Koulourakia have a smooth texture and a taste this reminds me of my Yiayia. Every time these are in the house I religiously feast on them. They are definitely on my all time favourites list.

by Desi F on olivesandfeta

Thank you for the recipe 😀

by Kati on olivesandfeta

Mmmm I'm so glad I can make these now. Thank you for the recipe.

by vanessa on olivesandfeta
A great Authentic Recipe

These koulourakia, are as I remember them. Thank you for the wonderful pics, and recipe I have saved for next week.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. These sound and look wonderful!

    1. They are a staple in Greek homes

    2. they are very Moorish even though they have no chocolate inside. Super versatile, adults have them with coffee or tea, children have them with milk.

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