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11.04.2015

15 ratings, avg : 3.93

Traditional Greek Easter cookies, also known as koulourakia. Also known as great dunking material.

Hello, this is me working on Holy Saturday. I just couldn’t let the day go by without sharing something more traditional with you all. The past couple of weeks have been a little crazy, so I didn’t have the time to prepare properly for some holiday posts. Happens every time. I really need to plan a bit better. Like two months in advance. Anyway. Easter cookies. I made them and took the photo in time, so I’m sitting myself down to write up the recipe before it’s too late. Which is a funny thing to be worrying about, since your Easter was last week…

The good thing is that you don’t have to wait till next year to make these. Due to the way you make the shapes, I think this is a great project for kids to participate in. No rolling pins involved. Just long “worms” that you either twist or coil. Great fun if you’re not pressed for time! These amounts made about 45 cookies for me, but I suggest you go for even smaller sized ones as they really do rise quite a bit. So you’ll probably get up to 60 koulourakia.

Now, you’re going to see something unusual in the ingredients list. Baker’s ammonia (ammonium carbonate). It’s an old fashioned leavener, a predecessor to baking powder and baking soda. It gives baked goods an extra crisp texture. For more information you can google it and find details as well as substitutes. I read somewhere that you can find it in German supplies shops as it’s commonly used in some German recipes. Try and find the real thing, as the results won’t be the same with anything else.

One thing to remember is that koulourakia are better eaten 2-3 days after baking. That’s when they are nice and crunchy, and ideal for dunking in tea or coffee. Traditionally they are made on Holy Thursday, together with the various types of Easter bread. This is also the day the eggs are dyed red. The colour symbolises the blood of Christ, crucified on this day. Of course none of these goodies are eaten until Saturday night or Easter Sunday, after the resurrection. Till then, and for the whole of Holy Week, fasting is at its strictest. If you can’t wait three days (I know I can’t) at least promise you will keep a few aside, so you can enjoy them at their best.

This recipe is by Funky Cook, a blogger friend who is really talented and very good at traditional Greek recipes. I got jealous when another two blogger friends made her koulourakia and posted pictures of them. So here they are in English, for all of you to enjoy. Happy (Greek) Easter everyone!

Ingredients

125 gr butter, room temperature

200 gr sugar

2 eggs

125 ml milk

40 ml orange juice, freshly squeezed

2 tsp orange zest

1 tsp lemon zest

1 Tbs + 1 tsp brandy

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 tsp baker’s ammonia

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

800 gr all purpose flour

1 egg

1/2 Tbs water

Step 1

Beat butter with an electric mixer till light and fluffy. Give it time to really fluff up. Add the sugar, continue beating, then add the two eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Step 2

Warm the milk in the microwave till lukewarm, and add to that the orange juice, orange and lemon zest, brandy, vanilla extract, baker’s ammonia, baking powder and salt.

Step 3

Take 3 tablespoons of flour, add them to the butter mixture and mix well. Then add to that the milk mixture. It will look weird and curdled.

Step 4

Place flour in a large mixing bowl (you are supposed to sieve it, I was lazy), make a well in the middle and add the wet mixture. Mix till it comes together as a dough. Transfer the dough to a worktop and knead till it is smooth and elastic. Cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Step 5

Preheat the oven to 170C fan assisted (180C conventional). Take small walnut sized portions (about 1 Tbs) and roll into a long “worm” shape, about the width of your little finger and about 20-25cm long. Bend in the middle and twist the two tails three times over each other (you can see the shape in the photo. I also have some photos of this step on facebook, click here). Alternatively just coil the “worm” into a snail shape. I prefer the first one though, as it crisps better. Lay the koulourakia on baking trays lined with grease-proof paper.

Step 6

Make an egg wash with the last egg and half tablespoon of water. Generously brush it over the cookies. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. They will be light in weight and sound hollow if tapped on the bottom. After they are completely cool, store in airtight containers and be patient for a couple of days. Dunk in tea, coffee or milk!

15 ratings, avg : 3.93

So, what do you think? Leave me a comment!

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