International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Koulourakia

Plate of koulourakia (Greek Easter butter cookies)

(Greek Easter butter cookies)

Image Creative Commons by Foodista

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Swirling sweet biscuits have been a part of Greek cuisine for thousands of years. The ancient Minoans, who believed snakes possessed mystical powers, ate serpent-shaped cookies. These days koulourakia twists and braids are a traditional accompaniment to any Greek Orthodox Easter celebration.

30 to 40 cookies

Ingredients

  • Flour -- 3 1/2 cups
  • Baking powder -- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter, softened -- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons, or 1/2 pound)
  • Sugar -- 1 cup
  • Eggs, beaten -- 3
  • Vanilla -- 1 teaspoon
  • Egg, beaten with a little water -- 1

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy.
  2. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, one by one, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next. When the eggs have all been added, beat in the vanilla.
  3. With the mixer still running, slowly add the flour mixture until the ingredients form a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. Remove dough to a lightly floured work surface. Take meatball-sized portions of the dough and roll them with your hands into ropes about 5 inches long. Form the ropes into circles, snakes, swirls, twists, figure eights or whatever shape you desire and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Brush the cookies lightly with the beaten egg and water and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  6. Remove the cookies to a rack and cool completely. Serve with coffee or tea. Will keep for a couple weeks in a tightly sealed container.

Koulourakia Variations

  • Sesame seeds are often sprinkled on the cookies right after brushing them with the egg glaze, just before you pop them in the oven.

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