Our parents make so many types of koulourakia (Greek for cookies that are great for dunking into coffee or milk) that it is almost hard to keep track of them all. To help differentiate one koulouraki from the other, they often refer to a key ingredient. So here, we present to you koulourakia with orange…because, you guessed it, they contain a fair bit of orange juice. They also often refer to different koulourakia by the person who prefers them over all others. So these, along with being koulourakia with orange, are also affectionately referred to as “Georgia’s favourite”.
Another lovely peculiarity of these particular koulourakia is that they are perfectly vegan. This makes them ideal for a mid-morning snack, an afternoon sweet break, or an after supper dessert during periods of lent…or if you are vegan. They are sweet, crunchy, and hardy enough to withstand repeated dunking in a lovely cup of Greek coffee, mountain tea or milk. It’s no wonder Georgia loves them; we’re pretty sure you will too.
There are no complicated techniques in this recipe, no unusual ingredients. What you will notice is that the dough is a bit oily – this is perfect because the dough holds together well. The resultant cookies however are not greasy at all; they are perfectly delicious.
You will know that your dough is ready to be shaped into cookies when you can easily make a ball which holds its shape in your hand, and the dough does not crumble when you roll it into a log. The dough will feel soft in your hands, almost velvety and fluffy.
You can choose to use sesame seeds, or not. Our parents usually make 1/2 the cookies with the sesame seeds and the rest without. It is totally up to you. In order to coat the koulourakia with sesame, follow the directions in the recipe below. It’s super easy.
Our parents always make this particular koulouraki in the shape pictured. You of course, can shape them any way you like. You can make circles, braids, straight koulourakia…it is up to you! But, try to keep them all about the same size, so that they cook evenly.
If you do not want to include the ouzo in your recipe (perhaps someone drank it all), you can replace it with equal amounts of additional orange juice.
Mia Kouppa: Koulourakia with orange
- 1 1/2 (300 grams) cups sugar
- 2 cups (500 mL) vegetable oil
- 2 cups (500 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice (approximately 8 oranges)
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) ouzo
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 7 1/3 cups (1100 grams) sifted flour
- 1/4 cup (35 grams) sesame seeds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Using a mixer, beat together the sugar, and oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the orange juice, and mix for another couple of minutes (if you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand held mixer will do nicely).
- Add in the ouzo and mix again, for a minute or so.
- Add in two cups of your sifted flour, and with your bread hook attachment, mix to combine. Add the baking powder and vanilla powder. Mix well.
- Continue to add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternatively, at this point, if you choose, you can use your hands to knead the dough.
- The dough should be soft and almost pillowy, but should hold its shape and be easy to roll. Watch video here. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.
- Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and make a log. Keep in mind, that the dough will feel oily..this is ok. Then, create a thin “S” shape. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in middle rack of oven for about 25 minutes.
- If you are going to use the sesame seeds, spread some of them on the counter or cutting board (wherever you will be rolling your koulourakia). Roll out your dough and create your log on top of the sesame seeds; this way they will get embedded in the dough. Continue as above: Create an “S” shape. Try not to let the ends of the cookie become too thin, because they will burn during baking. Place on parchment lined paper and bake in middle rack of oven for about 25 minutes.
- When the koulourakia are golden brown on the underside, and puffy and golden on top, they are ready.
- Allow them to rest for about a minute and then remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy. Note: Koulourakia will keep for several weeks in a covered container on the counter. Alternatively, you can keep them in the refrigerator for longer storage