The Washington Post

Koulourakia (Butter Cookie Braids)

Koulourakia (Butter Cookie Braids) 36.000

Len Spoden for The Washington Post

Apr 8, 2009

These not-too-sweet cookies are just right with a cup of tea or coffee or after a big Easter meal. The dough is easy to handle and can be used to form several shapes, such as twists, figure eights and coils, which also makes it a good dough for kids to handle.

Make Ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

Servings: 36 cookies
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour, plus up to 1/2 cup as needed and more for the work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon water (may substitute milk)
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking oil spray or line them with parchment paper.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for several minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the 2 eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low; add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.

Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl or on a large piece of wax paper. Add in increments to form a soft, workable dough. Try to add as little extra flour as possible so the cookies remain tender.

Lightly flour a work surface; transfer the dough to the surface and knead the dough for a few minutes.

To shape the dough into braids or twists, take walnut-size pieces of dough and use your fingers to roll them into strands about 6 inches long. Fold/bend each strand in half, then twist to form a braid. (Strands also can be shaped into a circular coil, or you can coil the 2 ends to form a figure eight.)

Combine the beaten egg and water in a small cup; use the mixture to brush the tops of the cookies. If desired, sprinkle some of them with sesame seeds.

Bake for 17 to 23 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely before storing.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a family recipe of Jennifer Poulakidas.

Tested by Candy Sagon.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per cookie: 112

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 5g 8%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 31mg 10%

Sodium: 18mg 1%

Total Carbohydrates: 14g 5%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 6g

Protein: 2g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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