These healthy sesame seed cookies are a favorite here in Greece during Greek Lent. The 40 days of fasting before Easter. These Sesame cookies or in Greek Koulourakia, are free of dairy, made with olive oil, and flavored with orange.
They're as crunchy as they can get with beautiful earthy flavors.
In Greece when we say Koulourakia we usually refer to chunky cookies with a hole in the middle. Though we also call our Easter cookies the same way (Koulourakia Pashalina) which are not necessarily made with a hole in the middle but in all different shapes as you can see in this recipe for Easter Koulourakia.
How Do These Sesame Seed Cookies Taste Like?
They're very crunchy and have a delicious nutty flavor. Because of the sesame and also from the olive oil. They have a more earthy sweetness because they're sweetened with honey and orange juice together with the sugar.
How To Make Sesame Seed Koulourakia
Simply mix together all of the ingredients inside a bowl as instructed in the recipe below. Then take small pieces of the dough and shape them into small cords. Roll these cords over sesame seeds. Then lightly wet the tips of your fingers with a little bit of water and press the ends of the cords to stick together and form a round holed cookie.
Bake in a parchment-covered tray pan until they get a deep golden/lightest brown color. Then you have to let the cookies cool down completely at room temperature before storing them in an airtight container or cookie tin.
Sesame Seed Cookies With Olive Oil (Koulourakia)
- 200 grams (1 cup) olive oil
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) water
- 125 grams (½ cup) sugar
- 150 ml (¾ cup) orange juice fresh
- 50 grams (2 ½ tablespoons) honey
- 1 orange zested
- 2 tablespoons brandy or tsipouro
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 700 grams (5 cups + 8 tbsp) all purpose flour
- 200 grams (1 ½ cups) sesame seeds
- Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add the orange juice and all of the remaining ingredients except the flour and sesame seeds. Stir vigorously with a whisk until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the flour in batches and knead the dough. You should end up with a soft dough that doesn't stick on your hands. If the dough still leaves fragments on your hands add a little bit more flour to it. But be careful not to add too much.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 170°C / 338°F.
- After resting time has passed, take small parts of the dough (about 1 loaded tablespoon) and shape them into a round ball. Then on a clean surface start to roll the ball into a small cord about 17 cm (7-inches) long.
- Add sesame seeds to a large flat dish.
- Roll the dough cord over the sesame seeds pressing it lightly to help the sesame seeds stick to it. Then press the edges together to stick and form a holed cookie.
- Transfer cookie to a sheet pan or baking pan covered with parchment paper.
- Repeat the process until you have enough cookies to fill the pan. Leaving about 3 cm (1,5-inch) of space between each cookie. Ideally bake the cookies in two batches so each batch bakes properly all over instead of adding two pans in the oven in one go.
- Bake the cookies for about 15 to 20 minutes. Or until the cookies get a deep golden/ light brown color on top. The sesame seeds won't get any color.
- Once the cookies are baked, remove the pan from the oven but leave the cookies on the pan until they're cool enough to the touch. As you will need to carefully transfer the cookies with your hands to avoid all the sesame falling off of them.
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