These cookies are usually prepared a few days before Easter but I prepared some last week just to show them on the blog. Like most recipes, this one as well has a lot of variations. In others they add orange juice and orange rind, in others they do not add ammonia carbonate of baking soda, in others they add almonds, in others they add sesame seeds etc.
Traditionally, these cookies were not made in Cyprus as we make flaounes for Easter but the last decades with the use of the internet there is no single Greek recipe which they do not make in Cyprus.
Most of the traditional Greek desserts like these koulourakia or tsourekia I learned to make them here in Greece and the recipes were given to me by my husband’s family. I made a minor change to their recipe and added butter instead of oil and the taste was much better.
Easter Cookies (Paschalina koulourakia)
Preparation time: 20 Minutes
Baking time: 15 – 20 minutes
They yield about 70 cookies
650 grams all purpose flour
250 grams sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 cup brandy
150 grams butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon or 15 grams of ammonia carbonate of baking soda (White Leavening Agent)
1/4 cup milk
Separate the egg white and beat three of them into meringue. Remove meringue in another bowl and cream the butter with sugar until white and fluffy. Add five of the egg yolks (one will be used to glaze the cookies on top). Add the brandy, the baking soda dissolved in the lemon juice, the ammonia dissolved in the milk and finally add meringue and flour by turns.
Before making cookies, place the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour. Shape them into cords and cut them about three inches and form into various shapes or you can also cut them with molds, so that the children can help. Some shapes you can make are the classical round ones, spiral shapes, S shape, 8 shape or the Greek gamma γ shape. They must be small because when baked they double in size.
When they are ready, add a spoonful of milk in the egg yolk and mix them together and brush the cookies and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
Preheat oven at 180ο C and line a baking tin with parchment paper and bake them for 15 – 20 minutes depending on your oven. Cool and store in an air tight bowl.
Don’t worry about the leftover egg whites. You can freeze them or prepare the base for a Pavlova, of my Pecan Cookies dessert or you can place them in ice cubes to freeze them and use at a later stage.
Manina, of Manina’s Cooking,, informed me that I was one of the five lucky winners to win Marcus Wareing’s fantastic cookbook, with my entry Pecan Cookies dessert and my One Perfect Ingredient which was whipped cream. I am very excited and look forward to receiving it soon.