One Fast Cookie Dough … 3 Great Desserts – Bon Appetit!
Here we serve Koulouraki with fresh apricots and Orange Blossom Honey.
Koulourakia, Greek Easter Cookies
Both of the cookies photographed here are from the same base recipe. It can be used in any variation or shape you like. See below for my favorite recipe for lemon bars in which this cookie dough makes an amazing bottom layer.
Serves: 36 cookies
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs (reserve one yolk for glazing)
1 tbsp juice and zest from one orange *lemon or meyer lemons work beautifully as well
3 c flour, white all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
raw sesame seeds
Preheat your oven to 350F. In a mixer, cream together room temp butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time so that mixture remains light, and mix until well incorporated. Add orange juice and beat well. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients slowly. Mix until dough is smooth. Continue with cookie preparation or wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
The snake shape was used traditionally in Greece to represent health & wellness, notice any similarities to the prescription emblem? To make this shape pinch off one inch balls and roll into a rope on a floured (and designated for only cooked food) cutting board. Twist the ends together on cookie sheet lined with a sil-pat or non stick cookie sheet. Leaving a good 1″ to 1 1/2″ space between them to allow for the slight rise that will occur during baking due to the baking powder. Beat together the remaining egg yolk with a couple tablespoons of water and brush onto cookies. Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes until just turning a light golden brown.
Wild Maine Blueberry & Lemon Zest Cookie
To make the fruit filled rounds use the same process except use your thumb to make a print in the middle instead of forming the dough into a rope. I had tons on tiny Maine blueberries at the time so I tossed those with a little flour and sugar and filled with those but they would be lovely with any king of fruit like apricots or even candied ginger. I also enjoy the combination of lemon and blueberry so I substituted lemon juice and zest for the orange in the base recipe. Also, I used Turbinado (Sugar in the Raw) to sprinkle on top instead of sesame seeds. You can see the versatility of this recipe already! Grandma would be proud : )
The warm filling should be added to the warm crust. You can bake the crust while you make the filling. Just be sure to have all your ingredient and equipment ready before. This recipe was adapted from my favorite cookbook The New Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated .
Spray a square 9″ X 9″ baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut parchment paper or aluminum foil to make 9″ wide sheets that will overlap in a “T” shape to cover the bottom of the pan and ease removing the bars before cutting. Roll out cookie dough to a 9″ X 9″ shape and ease into pan and corners to a height of about 1/2″. Adjust an oven rack to middle rack and preheat to 350° F. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until light brown.
7 large egg yolks, plus 2 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2/3 cup juice and 1/4 cup finely grated zest from 4 to 5 medium lemons *I loooove Meyer Lemons!
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
In a medium nonreactive bowl, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add the lemon juice and zest and the pinch of salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium nonreactive saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 5 minutes. I like to cook it unit it is slightly thicker this way I know it will result in a firm, neat cutting bar. Stir in heavy cream. Immediately pour the curd into the warm crust. Level the curd and work it into the corners with your wooden spoon.
Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment or foil handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 2 1/4″ squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts as necessary. Dust confectionary sugar over the bars and chill if desired.
Also see… Fresh Fig Cookies in July archives