Koulourakia are as Greek as the chocolate chip cookie is American. They are found in every single bakery across Greece, often proudly displayed in the window. When you enter a Greek bakery, the proprietors frequently offer a Koulouraki cookie (or 10) on the house as a means of saying thank you for coming in. It is what we Greeks call philotimo. The secret ingredient is the baker's ammonia, which you can generally only find in a Mediterranean bakery. If you can't find it, you just use extra baking soda but they aren't as crispy that way.
• 1 cup vegetable oil • ¾ cup sugar • 1 cup orange juice • 3½ - 4 cups flour • 1½ teaspoons baking powder • ¼ teaspoon baking soda • ¼ teaspoon Baker's Ammonia (Ammonium Carbonate)* • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt • ½ teaspoon cinnamon • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
Directions:1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease or line 2 large cookie sheets with unbleached parchment paper. 2. Beat together the oil and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed, about 2-3 minutes. With the motor running on low, add the orange juice. Then add the vanilla and mix until just combined. 3. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, Baker's Ammonia (if available), salt, and cinnamon. With the motor of the electric mixer running on low, slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture 1/3 at a time, pausing after each addition. Mix until just the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, being careful not to over-mix, or your cookies will be tough. 4. Oil a marble baking slab or a large plastic cutting board and oil your hands. Using a tablespoon as a measure, scoop out a piece of the dough. Roll the dough between your hands and/or on the oiled surface, until it resembles a long tootsie roll, about 8½ inches long. Fold in half and twist together 2-3 times to form a cookie twist. Press the ends together and lay on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. 5. Evenly sprinkle the cookies with the sesame seeds, if using, pressing them in very slightly. Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookies, cool 3-4 minutes on the cookie sheets, and transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. *Baker's Ammonia is a European baking leavening agent, which is quite often used in very traditional Greek baking. Using it yields an incredible crispness that isn't really duplicated with another leavening agent. You can typically find it online or in Mediterranean or Greek specialty markets, or in Scandinavian markets under the name "hartshorn." You may notice a smell of ammonia when using Baker's Ammonia. This is normal and the gas cooks out. If you cannot find Baker's Ammonia, just use ½ teaspoon baking soda (instead of ¼ teaspoon). You can follow Debbie on Twitter @iamdebbiem.
Jill Simonian's Crazy Sugar Birthday Cookies
I should've mentioned that these cookies are meant for young kids to do with you (since they're essentially just mixing together... I do these with my toddler.) The secret is using pre-made dough to make experience easy and fun for everyone...
• Sugar Cookie mix (I use Betty Crocker) -- this is the "secret" -- it's pre-made and SO easy. • Colored candies (mini M&Ms, colored chocolate) • Frosting of your choice (either homemade or pre-made - plus any colorful icing for decoration) • Sprinkles & cookie decorations
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 8x8 or 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Set aside.
- In large bowl, mix together sugar cookie recipe according to box/bag instructions for 'Cutout Cookies' (I used Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Cookie Mix).
- Once dough is prepared, mix in all of your candy mix-ins. (Use whatever you have around: chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, mini peanut butter cups, mini M&Ms, chopped nuts, sprinkles... get creative and colorful!)
- Press dough evenly into the prepared baking dish.
- Press any extra candy add-ins into the top of the bars.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned (make sure to watch so they don't burn).
- Make sure to cool COMPLETELY before cutting into squares.
- Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes or cut into bars. (I also like to frost and decorate with more candy/sprinkles on top! For bars, frost before cutting. For cookies cutouts, frost after.)
For more with TV host Jill Simonian, please visit thefabmom.com and follow her on Twitter @jillsimonian.
Pumpkin Walnut Cookies With Brown Butter Frosting (Half Batch)
Yield: 24 cookies
Cream together 4 Tbsp. margarine, at room temperature 1½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed Beat in with above 2 Eggs Add to above and beat well 1 cup pumpkin puree (Canned) 2 tsp. vanilla Combine and add to above – Mix Thoroughly 2½ cup flour (shaken Ll) 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. allspice ½ tsp. cinnamon ¼ tsp. ginger Stir into above 1 cup Walnuts, chopped Brown Butter Frosting Brown butter in saucepan: 3 Tbsp. margarine Beat in with above until creamy 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 3 Tbsp. milk 1 tsp. vanilla Use knife to spread creamy frosting over cooled cookies and let dry for 10 min. Sophie Uliano's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip
Makes 24 cookies
This is my gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe. They are so incredibly delicious and special because they are unlike the rather uninspiring usual gluten-free cookies.
• 2½ cups blanched almond flour • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt • ½ teaspoon baking soda • ½ cup coconut oil • tablespoon vanilla extract • ½ cup agave nectar • ½ cup gluten-free dark chocolate chunks Directions:
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients into dry.
- Form ½-inch or 1-inch balls and press onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350° F for 7-10 minutes.
- Cool and serve.
Make sure to check out Sophie at Facebook.com/GorgeouslyGreen.
And, make sure you follow us on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/hallmarkchannel/