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Greek Lent Cookies
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3.50 from 8 votes

Sesame Seed Cookies With Olive Oil (Koulourakia)

These sesame seed cookies (Greek Lent cookies) are as crunchy as biscotti with delicious earthy flavors of orange, sesame, honey, cinnamon.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: cookies, dairy-free, healthy, Oven baked
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 155kcal


  • 150 ml (¾ cup) olive oil
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) water
  • 250 ml (1 cup) orange juice fresh
  • 2 oranges zested
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 100 grams (about ¼ cup) honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 500 grams (3 cups + 2 tbsp) all purpose flour (may need a bit more)
  • 150 grams (10-12 tbsp) sesame seeds


  • Add the fresh orange juice to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Drop the heat to medium and cook until juice reduces down to 70-80 ml (⅓ of a cup). The cooked orange juice is going to look like a light syrup. The purpose of this is to give a stronger orange flavor to the cookies.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the orange juice and all of the remaining ingredients except the flour and sesame. Stir vigorously with a whisk for 2 minutes.
  • Add the flour in batches and mix the dough with your hands. You should end up with a soft and elastic dough that's easily kneadable. If the dough still leaves fragments on your hands add a little bit more flour to it.
  • Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rest at room temperature for 15-20 while you preheat the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 170°C / 338°F.
  • After resting time has passed, take small parts of the dough (about a tablespoon) and shape them into a round ball. Then on a clean surface start to roll the ball into a small cord about 17 cm (6-7-inch) long.
  • Add sesame seeds to a large flat dish. Place a small glass with water next to it.
  • Roll the dough cord over the sesame seeds pressing lightly as you go to help the sesame seeds stick on the dough. Dip your fingertips in the water and wet the ends of the cord very slightly, then press the two ends of the cord to stick together and form a holed cookie.
  • Transfer cookie to a sheet pan or baking pan covered with parchment paper.
  • Repeat the process until you have enough cookies to fill the pan. Leaving about 2-3 cm space between each cookie. Ideally bake the cookies in two batches so each batch bakes properly all over.
  • Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes. Or until the cookies get a deep golden/ light brown color on top. The sesame seeds won't get much if any color at all.
  • Once the cookies are baked, remove the pan from the oven but leave the cookies on the pan until they're cool enough to the touch. As you will need to carefully transfer the cookies with your hands to avoid all the sesame falling off of them.
  • Let cookies cool down for a few hours at room temperature. While the cookies are still warm they're going to feel soft in the center. You have to let them cool down and air-dry for at least 3 hours at room temperature. Then store in a cookie tin or airtight food container to keep nice and crunchy. As there is no dairy in these cookies they won't spoil. So you can keep for up to a few months if kept closed airtightly.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg