Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunshine Cookies (Koulourakia)

Go ahead take one...

These little gems are one of the "staples" in Greek baking.  The cookies are made thru out the year for almost every function, they are especially popular for Easter.  They are moist, light, not too sweet and just perfect for dunking!
Having grown up with them, even though I adore them... I thought to myself one day; "self, how can you make these babies pop"?  Well, I'm always up for a challenge I say.  So to the drawing board I went (aka my kitchen), and created and tweaked, and came up with goodness!!!
How do I know this you ask?  Aha!  The test was passed with flying colors and requests for the recipe came in twofold, from my mom, and my aunts!!  Test passed, *fist pump* for me!
Ready for the recipe?

Here we go:

3/4cup softened unsalted butter
1-1/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1-1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
*or zest of 1 large orange or lemon*
4-1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (can use bottled)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water for brushing
4 tbsp vegetable oil for oiling your hands *below*

Preheat oven to 375F.
Sift together flour, baking powder, set aside. 
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each one. 
-To the orange juice, add in the baking soda and sir, it will foam and bubble.  Perfect.  Add it in and mix some more.

-Add in the orange zest, the lemon zest and sour cream.

-Gradually add the flour mixture alternating with the orange juice beating until smooth after each addition.  

-Continue adding flour till all flour is used.  The dough will be very soft. 

-Now, to make this easier for myself, what I do is on a long piece of wax paper I scoop out all my dough by using a small cookie scoop.  I spray my cookie sheets with non stick cooking spray and have them ready to go as well.  This way I can work quickly and efficiently.

-Using your fingertips, dip them into the reserved oil and oil your hands.  Take a scoop of dough and place into the palm of your hands. 

-Roll into a long cord and then make a horse shoe.

-Now twist this together like this.

-Easy right?  See, I told you I don't do complicated! Who has time I say?

-Now, lay these babies onto the baking sheet and continue working till all the dough has been used. 

-Dipping your fingertips into more oil as needed. 
After you have twisted, made into rounds, or you can make into an "S" like Stella (big name) cookies.

-Brush your cookies with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, or sprinkles of your choice, or you can leave plain if so desired.  I strongly recommend the sesame seeds though!

-Bake for 13-15 minutes till nicely golden, let sit on baking sheet for a couple of minutes and then remove to cooling racks to thoroughly cool.

-Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks and enjoy.

See how nicely they rose?  Their light full of citrus flavor, not too sweet and just downright delicious!
Go ahead take one...

Yield: 32 cookies

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi


  1. What a blast from the past. My Ya-Ya and my mother used to make them!!!

    1. There you go my friend!! We always revert to our roots, yes?
      Now go make the cookies and come back and tell me, better yet take a pic and I will post!!

  2. Oh my oh my! these look absolutely delicious! i am printing this out right now....and i will be making them soon! They look puffy and crunchy and yummy. I like them with the sprinkles on them! Very festive. These would be very good for any holiday! thanks for sharing your recipe...I can tell we both are fans of orange!

    1. They are so good Olga!! Let me know!
      Of course we love orange, 'were Greek'!! ;-)

  3. I bet those are amazing.. & I have all ingredients needed.. not that I need wheat.. (rolling my eyes) hmn.. one day soon.. ♥

    1. LOL, none of us do Kimmie, but hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

  4. Making cookies for my son's wedding. Can you freeze the cookies and still maintain the freshness of the cookie? They will also need to travel across the country. How delicate of a cookie are they and can they be shipped?

    1. Hello anonymous and CONGRATULATIONS on your son's wedding!! I honestly cannot tell you if the cookies freeze well as I have never frozen them. Regarding shipping across the country, (bless your mother's heart), I believe it packed tight, they should ship just fine. They are moist but not fall apart delicate!!

      Congratulations again my friend!! ♥

    2. We are really excited and love our future daughter-in-law. I think I'll give the cookies a try and if they don't freeze well I just won't serve them. Thanks for you info.

    3. You are most welcome my friend and congratulations again on the upcoming wedding!! ♥

  5. I love these cookies Didi! They are a bit of sunshine! Such a nice sunny day, too! Perfect!

    1. Thank you my Kecia, they are so easy and I love that they are not "too sweet"!! Perfect anytime cookie!!