In honor of the Easter season, I made koulouraikia (pronounced exactly how it's written, just roll the "r"). These tasty treats were crafted annually, by going on three generations of Greek family members, and the tradition is going strong! These cookies have your simple butter/sugar joyfulness, while the egg wash and sesame seeds add elegance. The recipe makes a boat load, so cut it in half or better yet-share with others. I have so far made co-workers, pottery classmates and the boyfriend's mother very happy! Recipe below.
Images via: Me
By: Great-Grandma and Grandma dearest: Areti Kourousis Pars and Helen Pars Levy
7-8 c. unbleached flour
6 tsp baking powder 1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs, room temp
2 c. sugar
4 tsp vanilla
4 tsp cognac or Metaxa (greek brandy)
1 c. heavy cream sesame seeds
egg yolk (this adds the yellow glaze color, but feel free to use just mixed egg which will be a neutral hue)
1. Sift flour.
2. Mix 1 c. flour with baking powder.
3. Cream butter in large bowl or pot (I like to use my Kitchen Aid mixer from step 3-step 6)
4. Add sugar, cognac, vanilla, eggs, milk or cream mixing well after
5. Mix in first cup of flour.
6. Mix in remaining flour gradually until you can shape a cookie
without too much sticking.
7. With about 1 big tbls of dough per cookie, roll into a long log and shape into twists (as pictured), flour hands to keep from sticking, if necessary. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, leaving a bit of space between. 8. Brush lightly with egg yolk, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Shake off excess seeds and re-use them on next batch. 9. Bake at 350 degrees, 8-10 min until golden brown on the bottoms and easily picked up.
10. Let cool briefly out of oven, then remove to racks.
11. Cookies keep for a few weeks, and always taste better the next day.
12. Traditionally enjoyed in Greece on Easter morning with hard-boiled red eggs and coffee.