Christmas Koulourakia (Kουλουράκια Χριστούγεννα)

CHRISTMAS-Koulou-17I introduced my Yiayia’s (Yιαγιά – Grandmother) classic traditional Koulourakia recipe to a few new ingredients today. Keeping the traditional flavor but tweaking things just a little I now have two new festive flavors to choose from… and now so do you!

My stand mixer got a pretty good workout when I doubled my Yiayia’s recipe, divided the batch into three sections and played with some flavors.

CHRISTMAS-Koulou-16One batch was kept untouched- classic and traditional. Another was turned into Chocolate deliciousness and the other, Cinnamon Spice.

CHRISTMAS-Koulou-12 CHRISTMAS-Koulou-13Although Koulourakia are typically made at Easter time, these butter cookies always made a Christmastime appearance in my childhood home (see below!)Young Chef 3and I’m continuing the tradition in my own home today. The fact is: the recipe is so easy and tasty and when decorated with Christmas sprinkles they take festive to a new level.

CHRISTMAS-Koulou-10Now that we have these three flavors, friends, the possibilities are endless! Combine two of them in one classic koulouraki (κουλουράκι) braid, grab the Christmas cookie cutters and top them with sugars, jimmies, or crushed candy canes. Get the kiddos involved and don’t worry about the mess of colored sugars all over the floor.

I think if my Yiayia were still on this earth she would be delighted and honored to see and taste these cookies. I can imagine the smile on her face and it makes me smile too. :)

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RECIPE: (This is my Yiayia’s Classic Koulourakia recipe, doubled.)

1 cup butter

2 1/2 sticks Crisco Baking Sticks or vegetable shortening

6 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla (lemon or almond extract can be used as well)

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

6 teaspoons baking powder

10 cups flour

Egg wash

Jimmies, sprinkles, colored sugar, or sesame seeds for decorating

DIRECTIONS:

In an electric mixer, mix together butter and Crisco until whipped.  Add eggs and extract. Blend in confectioner’s sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together baking powder and flour. Slowly add to butter mixture. Dough should be workable but not too sticky.

Divide into three parts. Keep one part basic.

For Chocolate Koulourakia: add 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and blend until combined in the stand mixer.

For Cinnamon Spice Koulourakia: add 1-tablespoon cinnamon and 1 ½ tablespoons allspice and blend until combined in the stand mixer.

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Roll out dough on to floured surface and use festive cookie cutters. (Make and practice a few braids too!)

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CHRISTMAS-Koulou-8 CHRISTMAS-Koulou-7 CHRISTMAS-Koulou-6

Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment, brush with egg wash and decorate with Christmas sprinkles, jimmies and crushed candy canes.

CHRISTMAS-Koulou-5 CHRISTMAS-Koulou-4Bake at 350 degrees for 12-18 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

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©2014 by Alexandra Salidas Roll, Figs & Feta, LLC.

Recipe and photos by Alexandra Salidas Roll of Figs & Feta, LLC.  Please do not reprint this recipe without permission.  If you would like to feature this recipe on your blog or site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link your post to this one as the original source.  Thank you!


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