Koulourakia – Christmas Cookie Marathon


With friends, neighbors and colleagues anticipating a cookie delivery from “Pastries by Effie,” I’m receiving a lot of inquiries as to what might be in the trays and boxes I gift out.

Everyone seems to have a favorite. “I hope you’re making the ones with the powdered sugar.” “There better be extra baklava in there for me.” “Last year my husband ate all the linzer tart cookies and he didn’t leave any for me.”

Koulourakia, a simple butter cookie, and a perfect pair with a cup of tea or coffee, is a “fan favorite.” I love them myself at the end of the evening with a cup of tea on the sofa while I unwind with a good book. In a rush, I’ve also been known to grab a few as a quick breakfast to nibble on in the car on my drive to work.

Naturally, I can’t help but think of my mother when I make koulorakia. I always wanted to help her, but she gave me the “boring” job of zesting the oranges and squeezing the juice, or beating the eggs. I wanted to form the cookies. But Mom was so fussy and wanted them perfect. She would give me a small mound of dough to practice with, but it wasn’t until I was much older that she let me make them.

Now, I just laugh when my own girls try to form the cookies and I tell them it just takes practice!



Pre-heat oven to 350º


8 cups flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

Juice and zest from 1 large orange

1 dozen large eggs

4 cups sugar

1 pound unsalted butter, softened

1 additional egg

Sesame seeds

In a bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, orange juice and zest. In a large bowl, cream butter. Add the egg mixture to the butter, blending well. Mix in the flour. Form into a dough that can be worked without sticking to your hands. If necessary, add more flour. Form into small braid-like twists, circles, and S’s. Lightly beat an egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush the egg mixture onto each cookie and sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake for approx. 20 minutes. Yields approximately 120 cookies.

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