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Greek Easter Biscuits with Olive Oil, gluten-free Koulourakia

Greek Easter Biscuits, also known as KOULOURAKIA, are crispy and crumbly on the outside and softer on the inside. They are flavoured with subtle hints of vanilla and orange and are often enjoyed for breakfast with coffee, afternoon tea, or as a snack. They are traditionally made around Easter (but are perfect for any occasion), and though they are traditionally made with eggs and milk, my version is all in one bowl, gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy free which means they are vegan and perfect for Lent. Let's get baking!


Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies
Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies

Everything about koulourakia can be changeable (yet somehow the flavour remains quite consistent, regardless of the recipe). Traditionally their shape resembles a braid but they are also shaped into an 'S', or even a circle. Some koulourakia are flavoured with orange and vanilla, while others are with anise and ouzo. Milk, butter, and eggs are traditionally added, but often they are made with olive oil during Lent. And of course, some are topped with sesame seeds, while others are plain with an egg wash on top. Whatever version of koulourakia you eat, these biscuits are borderline addictive!


Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies
Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies

I have fond memories of making hundreds of them as a young girl with my mum every Easter. The house would fill with the smell of warm flavours, trays of koulourakia would be lined up waiting for the previous batch to be baked and then mum would fill containers with the baked biscuits in anticipation to hand out to every family that would visit during the lead-up to Easter.


For the first time, I am so happy to share my gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free version of my mum's olive oil koulourakia. These are not the traditional recipe she makes as that recipe includes butter, milk and eggs, but this is her Lenten recipe. I'm positive you will love them as much as we do and find yourself baking them all year round.


Watch How To Make It



IMPORTANT TO READ: ABOUT GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR

Gluten-Free Flours, Weighing and "Feeling" the Dough


Unfortunately, one gluten-free flour can vary quite a bit from another gluten-free flour based on its ingredients. For this reason, I recommend using a digital scale to measure the ingredients and then paying attention to how the dough feels once all ingredients have been combined.


The dough should be soft, pliable and not sticky or too dry. A sticky dough will not allow you to roll the dough between the palms of your hands and a dry dough will be crumbly, creating a dry cookie. Add one tablespoon of flour at a time if the dough is too sticky and more flour is needed.


If the dough is too dry, then add only half a teaspoon of olive oil at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Do not overwork the dough as this will create a tougher cookie as well.


Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies
Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies


In this recipe, I have purposely used White Wings Gluten Free Self Raising Flour as it is a flour that is available in all states and in all supermarkets in Australia. It is not my first choice, but I used this purposefully, as I know everyone has access to it.


Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies
Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies

Other Easter Recipes Ideas





Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies
Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies

Koulourakia with Olive Oil

Greek Easter Biscuits (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)


Makes 18

Equipment: digital scale


INGREDIENTS


270g self-raising flour (White Wings gluten-free), preferably sifted

60g almond flour

100g caster sugar (superfine white sugar)

100ml freshly squeezed orange juice, with pulp

50ml extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Optional: 4 tablespoons sesame seeds (lightly toasted or unhulled)


Note: It is optional to add 1 teaspoon cinnamon as it enhances the flavour and I highly recommend it!


INSTRUCTIONS


1.Oven: Preheat your oven to 160°C for fan-forced or 180°C for conventional ovens (350°F) and line two baking trays with parchment paper.


2. Combine ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed orange juice, vanilla extract, and caster sugar until well combined and then add the almond flour, and self-raising flour to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, thoroughly combine the wet and dry ingredients, ensuring to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything evenly.


3. Kneading the dough: Once combined, gently knead the mixture for about a minute until it forms a soft and pliable dough that isn't sticky. If the dough is too sticky, gradually add flour, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. Avoid over-drying the dough, as it will affect the texture of the koulourakia once baked.


4. Shaping Instructions:

  • Divide the dough into portions of about 30-35g each, shaping them into balls of uniform size. Roll each ball between your hands to form a smooth ball and place them on the prepared baking trays.


  • Take one ball at a time and roll it into a rope about 15cm long and 1.5cm wide. Fold the rope in half to form a 'U' shape, then twist the two halves together from the top to create a twisted braid shape. Place the shaped dough onto the baking tray, about 3cm apart.


  • Optional: To coat the koulourakia with sesame seeds, sprinkle some sesame seeds on your working surface and roll the dough ropes over them to adhere. While you have the option to brush the koulourakia with egg wash, personally, I prefer to bake them without it.


5. Baking: Bake the koulourakia for 12 minutes, then rotate the trays between the top and bottom racks for even baking, and bake for another 12 minutes. Once baked, turn off the oven and allow the koulourakia to sit inside with the oven door closed for at least 30 minutes. This step ensures a crunchy and harder texture. For a softer, chewier texture, leave them in the closed oven for only 15 minutes. Once done, remove the koulourakia from the oven and enjoy them hot or at room temperature.


Note: Store gluten-free koulourakia in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Depending on the brand of self-raising flour used, they may slightly change in texture over time.


Have you tried this recipe?

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Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies

Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies
Gluten-Free Koulourakia with Olive Oil, Greek Easter Cookies

Recipe and Photography Margaret Pahos for @CreateCookShare

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07 jul 2023
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i can’t believe I can eat koulourakia again. Thank you

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