KOULOURAKIA – GREEK EASTER COOKIES (Tips & Various Designs)

Koulourakia are traditional Greek cookies that are popular during Easter! They are buttery and crunchy, with hints of vanilla, orange juice, and freshly grated orange zest in every bite!

koulourakiagreekeastercookies


You’ll see these butter cookies on almost every Easter table in Greece!

Koulourakia (pronounced kou-lou-RA-kee-a) are traditionally shaped by hand into gorgeous twists, braids, rings, and lots of other designs.

They are pretty simple to make. I think it would be really fun to get the kids involved in making all the different designs, too!

Here’s what you’ll need to make Koulourakia

  • unsalted butter
  • sugar
  • vanilla
  • eggs
  • milk
  • orange juice
  • baking powder
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • orange zest (optional)
  • cognac (optional)

SUPER TIP

A secret to making these cookies is to rub the orange zest into the sugar by hand and then mix it with a hand mixer. I always do both in order to release all the aromatic oils from the zest. And the smell – OMG! You will be amazed! The sugar becomes so fragrant! It really helps make the cookies taste and smell INCREDIBLE. If you want a more vanilla flavor, though, you can omit the zest altogether.

KOULOURAKIA DESIGNS

I make a variety of traditional designs, but this year, I also wanted to make Easter bunny, too!

I honestly don’t remember where I first came across this Easter bunny, so I can’t take credit for the design, but it is so cute! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial I made.

HOW TO MAKE A CUTE EASTER BUNNY

bunnycookietutorial

Want more traditional Greek designs? Check out the picture below for some ideas!

koulourakiadesigns

MAKE AHEAD OPTION

If you don’t have enough time to make the koulourakia in one day, just cover and store the dough in the refrigerator and continue the following day.

Here’s what I do:

I weigh each piece of dough (around 35 g / 1.2 oz). It should be about the size of a walnut. By weighing each piece, all the cookies bake evenly because they’re the same size.

After that, I put all the dough balls in a large bowl, cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator.

The next day, I take the dough balls out of the refrigerator and soften each ball a little bit in my hands. Then I make different designs and bake.

koulourakiagreekeastercookies

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
  • I highly suggest you weigh the ingredients using a digital scale before you begin to get consistent results.
  • For fluffy and crunchy cookies that won’t crumble apart, you really need to beat the butter and the sugar together for at least 10 minutes
  • Only use as much flour as needed for the dough to come together. There are a few factors that can affect how wet the dough is such as the size of the eggs you use. Therefore, you might need more flour to make the dough pliable so it doesn’t stick to your hands. If more flour is needed, add it a tablespoon at a time.
  • Do not overmix the dough because it can make the cookies hard.
  • The dough needs to rest for about 20-30 minutes. This will make it easier to shape the cookies.
  • Weigh each piece of dough before shaping so that all the cookies are the same size & bake evenly.
  • Leave enough space between each cookie when you put them on a baking sheet, otherwise they may stick together as they bake. Place them at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the baking sheet.
  • Each oven is different and baking times may vary. For my oven, I bake the cookies one tray at a time, so I can keep an eye on all of them.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. Take them out of the oven as soon as they turn light golden brown.

koulourakia

I really hope you enjoy these koulourakia! Have a wonderful Easter (Kalo Pascha)!

~Voula

KOULOURAKIA – GREEK EASTER COOKIES (Tips & Various Designs)

Koulourakia are traditional Greek cookies that are popular during Easter! They are buttery and crunchy, with hints of vanilla, orange juice, and freshly grated orange zest in every bite!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Bunny cookie, Greek Easter Cookies, koulourakia
Servings: 40 cookies, approximately

Ingredients

  • 6 cups / 800 g / 1 lb 12.3 oz all-purpose flour (you may need 1-2 tablespoons extra)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ tablespoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup / 200 g sugar
  • 1 cup + 5 tablespoons / 300 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup milk at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cognac (optional)
  • ¼ cup / 60 ml orange juice at room temperature
  • a few whole cloves (1 for each bunny cookie)

FOR THE EGG WASH

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, rub the orange zest with the sugar using your fingers. Then beat the sugar mixture on low speed for about a minute.
  • Add the butter to the sugar and beat on medium speed for 10 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the milk, vanilla, cognac, and orange juice and beat until well combined.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time. Start beating on low speed with a hand mixer and then use a rubber spatula until the flour is just combined. At this point, if the dough is too wet or sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. The dough should be pliable and soft – not sticky. Don’t overmix the dough because it will make the cookies hard.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for about half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Weigh each piece of dough (about 35 g / 1.2 oz) before shaping to ensure all the cookies are the same size and bake evenly.
  • Make different shapes (see notes & photos in the post) and place them on the baking sheets. Make sure they are at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

MAKE THE EGG WASH

  • In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk with the water. Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash using a pastry brush. 
  • Bake the cookies for about 20-30 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 ½ weeks.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • I highly suggest you weigh the ingredients using a digital scale before you begin to get consistent results.
  • For fluffy and crunchy cookies that won’t crumble apart, you really need to beat the butter and the sugar for at least 10 minutes
  • Only use as much flour as needed for the dough to come together. There are a few factors that can affect how wet the dough is such as the size of the eggs you use. Therefore, you might need more flour to make the dough pliable so it doesn’t stick to your hands. If more flour is needed, add it a tablespoon at a time.
  • Do not overmix the dough because it can make the cookies hard.
  • The dough needs to rest for about 20-30 minutes. This will make it easier to shape the cookies.
  • Each oven is different and baking times may vary. For my oven, I bake the cookies one tray at a time, so I can keep an eye on them.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. Take them out of the oven as soon as they turn light golden brown.
© Pastry Wishes
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