Koulouria – Greek Easter Cookies

These Greek cookies always remind me of my first boyfriend Peter’s Mother. She was a great cook! They remind my husband of his grandmother. I have never attempted to make them before so I thought I would try. All the recipes on the Internet have enormous quantities that make 150 cookies or use crazy amounts to make enough to feed thousands. My recipe is for 2 dozen and they can be frozen, if you don’t have an army to feed. They turned out great and the house smells of orange and vanilla when they are in the oven. Simply glorious! ¬†They are a dry dense cookie that is not too sweet and perfect for dunking into to steaming hot mugs of coffee or tea. My version uses Olive Oil instead of butter because…well, I love Olive Oil and will always choose it first.

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup mild Extra Virgin Olive oil (there are lots of mild options from California or Texas)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp fine orange zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (1 orange)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or vanilla paste if you can find it)
  • 1/4 whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 5 1/2 cups of fine pastry flour
  • 1 egg & 1 tsp water for egg wash
  • some sesame seeds for sprinkling on tops

Step 1: gather all ingredients so you don’t forget anything – measure and place them in order.

Step 2: With a paddle to begin and the dough hook to finish, add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sugar and blend for 1 minute.

Step 3: add eggs, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla, cream and cinnamon. Mix until blended well. Leave it running for a good 2 minutes.

Step 4: In a bowl add flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix with a whisk to incorporate. Change the paddle for the dough hook- this will get dense because you are going to form cookies with your hands. Add flour 1 cup at a time and just mix until incorporated a few seconds, then add more flour until you get a heavy dough. This will be sticky but if you pat it will not stick to your hands. Once you are there stop. (don’t over mix)

Step 5: place dough on floured surface. You wont need too much flour since there is oil in the batter. This is where you can use an ice cream scoop to get even sized balls or just divide the dough in half and then keep cutting everything in half until you get 24 even sized balls. Should be a ball that can fit in your hand slightly larger than a golf ball.

Step 6: roll out each ball into a log with a bit of flour so it doesn’t stick to the counter. You can roll out to about 10-12 inches in length. Fold in half and roll it around itself until it looks like a rope.

Step 7: place on parchment lined cookie sheets -there should be a bit of room between them as they will rise a bit. Mix the egg and water and whisk with a fork to make the egg wash. Brush each cookie and sprinkle on sesame seeds.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes turning to make sure they bake evenly.

Served warm they are great but they will last a few days in a Ziploc bag and this is when they are perfect for dunking! or you can freeze some for another day. The Easter Bunny came to the window because it smelled so good too….I guess that is a lucky sign!

Happy Easter!