Once you try these Greek butter cookies, known as koulourakia, you will make them all year long. These cookies are flavored with vanilla, citrus (optional), and even chocolate. The dough is made with basic pantry staples and then twisted into all sorts of beautiful shapes. Get the coffee ready and call the kids into the kitchen for some fun baking time!
Watch the Video Tutorial Here
We’re still staying home (as part of the worldwide quarantine that’s going on) around here and making the best of this situation. That’s how these cookies were created. We make the traditional vanilla/lemon (or orange) flavored koulourakia every year. They’re commonly made around Easter-time, but in my home, we make them much more often than that… This year I wanted to switch things up and make black and white twists. The result was delicious and so beautiful too!
Take a look and see for yourself.
What will you need to make these cookies?
Just basic baking pantry staples. Nothing fancy, I promise.
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- granulated sugar
- cocoa powder (leave it out if making the traditional vanilla cookies)
- citrus (optional)
- heavy cream (use milk if you don’t have cream)
- vanilla extract
Of course, you can add/substitute your favorite flavorings to create a variety of flavored Greek cookies. Here are a few options:
- almond extract
- anise seed
- ground cardamom
- rose water
- orange blossom water
- sesame seeds
- ground cinnamon
Purchase your kitchen essentials using my affiliate links to support my work without costing you anything extra. Thank you!
How long do these Greek butter cookies last after they’re baked?
Store the koulourakia in an airtight container at room temperature. They stay fresh for 2 weeks. Honestly, they’ve never made it past week one around here. Haha!
When making the chocolate-flavored dough, the recipe calls for instant coffee and water. If you have any leftover coffee from the morning, feel free to use a quarter cup of that instead. Leave the coffee out completely if you’d like. However, a little bit of coffee does not add any coffee flavor. Instead, it makes the chocolate more chocolatey!
This recipe is a lot of fun to make with children. Leila and I had a blast making them this week 🙂
For the vanilla cookies:
- • 1-pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- • 1 and 1/2 cups (350g) granulated sugar
- • 4 whole eggs
- • 2 egg yolks
- • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- • zest of 2 large lemons/oranges, optional
- • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- • 1/2 teaspoon salt
- • 1 and ½ teaspoon baking powder
- • 8 cups (1.16kg) all-purpose flour
- • egg wash: 4 egg yolks plus 4 tablespoons water
For Chocolate (half batch):
- • ¼ cup (20g) cocoa powder
- • ¼ cup of water
- • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- • 4 ounces (113g) melted chocolate
- • Granulated sugar
- • Sesame seeds
- • Anise seeds
- • Almond extract
- • Ground cardamom seeds
- • Cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
- In a tabletop mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
- Beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar mixture until fluffy.
- Add the heavy whipping cream and beat well.
- Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Zest the lemons over the flour mixture and mix to combine.
- Add the flour mixture in a few batches while the mixer is beating all of the ingredients on a low speed.
- Beat until well combined. Check the dough and add 1/2 cup more all-purpose flour if needed to form a dough that is soft but not sticky. Adding too much flour will make the cookies dry and hard.
- Transfer half of the dough into a bowl or on a clean surface and cover with plastic or with a towel.
- Make the chocolate mixture: Combine the semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa, instant coffee, and sugar in a small bowl. Pour hot water on top and mix well until smooth. Microwave for 15-20 seconds if needed. Set aside to cool completely.
- Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the remaining dough in the mixture. Beat until incorporated. Set aside and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Form the dough into walnut, or golf ball-sized rounds.
- Roll each round out into about 8-inch cylinders.
- Fold in half and twist until a twist is formed.
- To make the vanilla& chocolate cookies, follow the video tutorial. Basically, form 2 ropes (1 vanilla and 1 chocolate) Set them side by side so that they are touching. Twist together and form the twist into a circle and connect the ends.
- Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Continue until all of the cookies are formed.
- To make the egg wash, combine the egg yolks with water and whisk well until smooth.
- Brush the egg wash over each cookie.
- Sprinkle sugar or sesame seeds on top of the cookies or leave them plain.
- Bake 35-45 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Rotate trays (place the bottom tray on the top rack and the top tray on the bottom for even baking) halfway through baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely.
- Store them in an airtight container.
- Serve with tea or coffee.
Use 1/4 cup of coffee instead of instant coffee plus water. This recipe will make 80 individual twist cookies or 40 vanilla & chocolate twists. Make-Ahead Instructions: The cookies may be formed and stored in the freezer (unbaked) until they harden. Then, transfer the frozen cookies into a freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 1 month.