Happy Easter everyone! I was really in a hurry to finish up writing this recipe while doing all the holiday cooking. So, here are the most fun to make Greek Easter cookies. You knead them into any shape you like, which makes them a fun way to spend some time with the kids. (I know I really used to enjoy making them when I was younger)
Unique Flavor And Aroma
They’re so crispy when you take a bite, and then they start to melt in your mouth. They also contain an unusual aroma, that of Mahleb. Mahleb is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry and is also used in our traditional sweet braided bread, called “Tsoureki” that is made in Easter as well.
This comforting sweet spice is what makes me think of Easter when I smell it. Like cloves, and cinnamon reminds me of Christmas.
And let’s admit it, what are Holidays worth, if it wasn’t for all this lovely food that we’re making? Can you imagine Thanksgiving without a turkey? Or Christmas without gingerbread? Not really…
Especially in Greece, we really like to grab every chance we get to have a “Glenti” (The word for a Greek party with friends and family) with lots of food.
The Traditional Greek Easter
And because Greeks are Orthodox, Easter is one of the biggest celebrations of all. For 2 whole days, this big “Glenti” takes on, in everyone’s backyard.
On the first day of “Pasha” (Easter), every household in Greece has a whole lamb on the spit.And most people have some “kokoretsi” as well. The music is on, from early in the morning, playing the very old and traditional Greek songs (if you ever saw the movie my “Big fat Greek Wedding “ then you know what I’m talking about). I literally step out of the house, and the music can be heard, all around the neighborhood, coming from almost every home.
And like in every Greek celebration, big carafes of wine are on the table. And right in the center, you find a basket filled with the Greek Koulourakia (these Greek Easter cookies recipe), “Tsoureki” and red-dyed eggs. Already waiting, to treat every guest that comes to say “Xronia Polla”, in this case, it translates to “Happy Easter”.
So having started from the morning, this celebration takes place until late in the afternoon. When most, just drag themselves back to their home for a much-needed siesta.
All in all, these Greek Easter Cookies are the centerpiece of everyone’s Greek Easter celebration table, and they are for a reason. They are truly scrumptious!
O, I also included a mini step by step pic-guide for the different shapes we make here in Greece.
And if by any chance you haven’t already dyed your Easter eggs, then why not give it a go and dye them naturally. Using onion skins for a non-chemical egg dye.
For The Cookies:
- 300 grams butter at room temperature
- 195 grams sugar
- 150 grams eggs
- 100 grams milk
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ orange zested
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 700 grams all purpose flour
- 2 grams salt
- 10 grams baking powder
- 7 grams mahleb powder
For the egg wash:
- 1 small egg
- 1 tablespoon water
Making the cookie dough:
- In a bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and mahlep powder. Set aside.
- Cut butter into small pieces and add to your mixer bowl. Cream butter with sugar over medium speed (about 5 minutes)
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- In a small bowl dissolve baking soda in milk and add to the mixture.
- Add the vanilla extract and orange zest.
- Reduce speed to slow while you add the flour mixture.
- By now you should have a fluffy and soft cookie dough.
- Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Kneading the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F. Lay a piece of parchment paper on your oven trays.
- Take a small piece of the cookie dough. (It should be about 40 grams or 1 full tablespoon) Give it a squeeze in your hand and form a ball first.
- Start kneading the ball gently, to a long cord, using mostly the tips of your fingers. (about 24 cm long)
- Make the cookie, any shape you like from the ones I give you above or choose one out of your own imagination (that's the fun of it).
- Fill the trays leaving about 1 cm space between the cookies.
- Whisk egg with water and brush each cookie.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cookies get a nice golden brown color.