RECIPES | Koulourakia are Greek/Macedonian Easter biscuits that are a staple in many Orthodox households in the region during Easter. They originate from an old recipe that dates back to the Minoan civilisation (c. 2700 – c. 1100 BC). The biscuits are traditionally made on Holy Saturday, so that they are ready to be eaten on Easter Sunday.
Koulourakia are a braided, butter-based biscuit, traditionally hand-shaped, with egg glaze on top. Fresh oranges and vanilla are key, and they give the biscuits such a fresh, vibrant element. The sprinkling of sesame seeds at the end complete the look.
The exact kind of flour used varies depending on who makes them. This recipe is based on Lauren’s mother’s recipe, with just a slight tweak to the flour ratio to make the biscuits a bit airier and lighter. Even if you don’t celebrate Orthodox Easter, you should totally give these simple biscuits a try. You’ll love them.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes / Cooking Time: 12 minutes / Makes 18 biscuits
- 200g unsalted butter softened
- 100ml orange juice
- 2 eggs (56g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 140g caster sugar sifted
- 280g self-raising flour sifted
- 280g plain flour sifted
- 1 egg yolk
- 40g sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer, until it becomes light and aerated.
- Add two eggs, orange juice and vanilla and mix well.
- Add the plain flour, self-raising flour and caster sugar.
- Once a soft dough has formed, remove it from the mixer.
- Divide the dough into 20g balls.
- Roll each dough ball into 5-6cm lengths.
- Plait three strands together.
- Place the biscuits on a baking tray and brush lightly with the egg yolk.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of each biscuit.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container.
If you use a fresh orange for the juice, add the zest for more flavour.