Greek Easter Cookies (Koulourakia)
As most holidays in Greece revolve around food, Greek Easter is no exception! These are the days when households are preparing delicious meals for the Easter Sunday and making all these delicious traditional Greek recipes, like lamb, dyed Greek Easter eggs, tsoureki and of course these amazing Greek Easter cookies (koulourakia). Greek koulourakia recipes are characterised by a butter base, shiny egg glaze (which makes them beautifully golden brown) and various rising agents to make them fluffy and airy. Nowadays most koulourakia recipes call for baking powder and baking soda, but experience has shown me that nothing compares to the traditional koulourakia recipe, which calls for baking ammonia. Ammonia makes the koulourakia amazingly airy and crunchy and compared to other rising agents, the crispness will last longer. This is an old fashioned traditional Greek koulourakia recipe for you to recreate this delicious traditional delight from scratch! Oh and you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here
250g butter (8.8 oz.)
2 cup sugar
25g powdered baking ammonia (1 1/2t ea spoons) or baking powder
1 cup lukewarm milk
4 medium eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 oranges
1kg all-purpose flour (35 oz.)
2 egg yolks and 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice for glazing the koulourakia
prepare this traditional koulourakia recipe, start by mixing the butter and sugar. In a mixer’s bowl add the sugar and butter (chopped) and mix for about 10-15 minutes, until the butter is creamy and fluffy. (Once starting to prepare this koulourakia recipe, make sure that the butter is at room temperature).In the meantime warm the milk until lukewarm and remove the pot from the heat. Add the ammonia and blend until dissolved. Set aside. Add the eggs (in the butter-sugar) mixture one at a time, whilst mixing, allowing time for each one to be absorbed, before adding another. Pour in the the vanilla extract, the orange zest and milk (with the ammonia) and mix to combine. Add the flour, a little bit at a time, whilst mixing, until the ingredients are combined and the dough is soft and not too sticky. Place the dough for the koulourakia on a clean working surface, take a small piece of dough and form long cords. Shape the koulourakia with your hands, giving them any shape you like. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and place the koulourakia, leaving some distance between them as they will rise a lot when baked. (For this koulourakia recipe, you will need approx. 4-5 large baking trays, depending on the size of the cookies) In a small bowl add the egg yolks and 1 tbsp Freshly squeezed orange juice whisk with a fork. Brush the top of the koulourakia and bake in preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes, until nicely coloured. Let the koulourakia cool down completely and store in airtight containers for up to three weeks.
Good luck !!!