Thursday, 17 April 2014

Greek Easter Cookies (Pashalina Koulourakia)

I am in Greece for Easter :) ! In Greece, we have a lot of traditions in Easter as it is maybe the most important holiday here. One of those traditions is making Easter cookies. This recipe is a mixture of my grandma's cookies and another recipe and we made it with my little sister, who is studying to become a pastry chef and a little help from grandma. It was very fun and they turned out very tasty, but my advice is to use baker's ammonia as they become huge and fluffy like grandma's always are. To the link of the recipe I used you can also see the video.So, here is the recipe:

Greek Easter cookies

Recipe adapted from here

1 kg (7 cups + 4 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2 eggs + 1 egg for brushing in room temperature
300 g (1 1/2 cup) sugar
300 g (1 1/4 cup) butter in room temperature
1 packet (30 g) baker's ammonia or 1/2 teaspoon baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
50 g (¼ cup) squeezed orange juice (from 1-2 oranges)
50 g (¼ cup) black rum
50 g (¼ cup) milk
3 tablespoons orange zest (about 3 oranges)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 200°C/ 400°F. Sift the flour, salt and the baking powder and soda (if using and set aside). If you are using ammonia, mix it with the milk and the orange juice before you add it to the mixture, because it will become a small volcano. In a big bowl beat the butter with the sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue beating. Add the vanilla, rum, orange zest, orange juice and milk (now you should mix the ammonia with the milk and the juice if using) and beat until it all comes together. Finally, add the flour little by little while stirring with a spatula. When it starts becoming harder to stir with the spatula, use your hand and mix the dough until it becomes smooth. The dough should be soft.

Take small equal pieces from the dough, place on a working surface and make different shapes, like an s, round ones, snails, pigtails etc. You can take some ideas from the photos. Place them on a baking sheet, lined with baking paper. Don't place them too close to each other because they spread. Brush them with the egg, after u beat it and bake them in the middle of the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Mine needed about 11-12. You can try a few in the beginning to check how much time they will need. Leave them on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then let them cool completely on a wire rack. 

They will be a little soft when you take them out but they get harder as they cool, so don't let them get baked for longer time. These cookies are more with a biscuit texture and very fluffy, especially if you use ammonia. I didn't find and I used baking powder but they were also good. I made 70 cookies, but if you want to make them bigger you can make about 50. My advice is to make the whole batch, because they go away very easily. You can store them in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

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