This morning I decided to honor my heritage and celebrate the Royal Wedding with coffee and koulourakia. Not quite the traditional tea and scones (pronounced ‘skons,’ thanks Pregnant in Heels) but hey I am in sunny California and it’s the thought that counts, right?
So first the coffee. Its Starbucks Tribute drip style a la Mr. Coffee. This has become one of my new favorites. Traditionally I think of Starbucks drip coffee as pretty bitter that requires two splendas and a heavy dose of skim milk. The tribute, however, is much softer with hints of chocolate and requires only one splenda and a splash of milk. Starbucks introduced the blend this spring for their 40th anniversary so it’s not out for very long. I managed to snag one of the last bags from my local store. Once again something I love and it’s impossible to find.
Oh well, on to the main event – Koulourakia. What is it? Only the best coffee dunking pastry ever! These butter based cookies are traditionally considered Easter cookies shaped in either a twist or rolled S shape. Though nowadays, you can find them at Greek bakeries and after church coffees year round.
In honor of Easter, I tried my hands at preparing these treats for the fourth time. While the batter is quite simple to make, it requires a bit of practice to get the shaping correct and without that you might as well not make them. Koulourakia or koloudia baking is another one of those Greek rites of passage. The very first time I attempted to make koloudia was at the church hall in Tulsa where they were being prepared for the Greek festival. All the ladies were lined up at tables chatting, rolling dough and making the classic twist shape. They made it look so easy. I sat down started rolling, trying to force the dough into the prescribed shape. While the first few looked pretty bad after a while I started to get the hang of it. Or so I thought. Thea Peggy came by as quality control and said that one’s not good, you have to redo that one, show me how you’re doing it – oh no that’s not how you do it, watch me.
I was crushed! But she was right…this cookie rolling is serious stuff!
So with no Thea around to help, I try again…
2 cups of sugar
2 sticks butter (½ lb.), salted
2 sticks butter (½ lb.), unsalted
1 tbsp vanilla
5 to 6 cups of all-purpose flour (substituting 1-2 cups of cake flour makes them soft and fluffy)
2 tbsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
Egg wash – 1 beaten egg and 1 tsp. vanilla
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together sugar and butter (about 10 minutes on medium/high speed)
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Stir baking powder, salt and 1 cup of flour until smooth. Continue adding the flour and stir until soft pliable dough is formed. Should be able to roll into a ball easily. If sticky, add more flour.
- Roll out a 2” ball into a long roll and make desired shape. Place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Note: Granite does not work well to roll on. If you’re having trouble rolling it out and it easily rolls into a ball, then roll out on waxed paper.
- Brush tops with egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes. Tops should be golden and firm.
The cookies will be crisp and are best when dunked in coffee.
To make a softer cookie, substitute 1-2 cups of all-purpose flour with cake flour.
If necessary, dough can be covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days. Before baking bring back to room temperature. Dough should be soft and pliable. However, don’t try multiple iterations. It changes the flavors, just trust me!