Home » Recipes » Hand-Shaped Cookies » Koulourakia




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Course: Easter Cookies, Hand-Shaped CookiesCuisine: GreeceDifficulty: Medium



A traditional Greek pastry formed into a curly letter “S” shape that are usually made at Easter time. Many Greek-American families have incorporated them into their Christmas traditions. These have a crispy, airy texture, just a little sweetness, and are brushed with a shiny glaze and topped with sesame seeds. For the most authentic texture, use bakers ammonia* instead of baking powder.


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup half-and-half or 10% cream

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder or baker’s ammonia*

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sesame seeds


  • Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in 2 of the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the half-and-half. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder or ammonia, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended.
  • To shape cookies, pinch off 1.5-inch balls of dough and roll each into a 7-inch strand. Form into a curly “S” shape and place on prepared baking sheets. Beat remaining egg yolk with the remaining tablespoon of half-and-half and brush cookies. Sprinkle sesame seeds over still-wet cookies. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Tansfer to wire racks to cool completely, and to keep crispness store them in airtight containers.


  • * Baker’s ammonia (ammonium carbonate) is a leavening that produces a very light and crisp cookie. It is very common in Europe but less so in North America. Baking powder and baking soda are NOT alternatives to baker’s ammonioa. With substitutions, you won’t achieve proper consistency (you will get a chewier cookie — it still might be good, but not the intended crispness).

    IMPORTANT: this product produces a strong ammonia smell while baking. This is completely normal…do not panic. When the cookies come out of the oven, there will be no trace at all of this odor in the final product.
  • Baker’s ammonia is inexpensive and very easy to find on Amazon or specialty baking sites such as King Arthur Flour. You can often find ammonium carbonate at the pharmacy as well. This is the same exact thing, just make sure you crush it into a fine powder, as sometimes it is grainy.