Everyone knows that as a nation, we all love biscuits! Given the opportunity, most of us will open a packet for just about any occasion – when friends pop in for a cuppa, when we’re still feeling a bit peckish after breakfast or lunch, and maybe sometimes just before we go to bed. I know someone with a very sweet tooth, who has even been known to creep downstairs in the middle of the night and break into the biscuit tin… you know who you are! *coughs* *Panagiotis* *coughs*
We have also caught the kids out biscuit-handed when they shouldn’t be and assumed they were picking up similar bad habits. However, closer investigation revealed a very willing accomplice going by the name of Yiayia!
It is fair to say that Yiayia likes offering biscuits almost as much as she likes making them. In Crete, where she grew up, it is traditional to eat koulourakia – a Greek butter biscuit – with your afternoon tea or coffee. These popular vanilla biscuits are hand-shaped into circles, snakes and twists, and are so fluffy and crunchy they are perfect for dunking.
Best stored in an airtight container, away from wandering little fingers (and grown-up ones).
Will make around 65-70 biscuits
Preparation Time 40 minutes
Cooking Time 15 minutes x 3
200g butter, soft at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 medium eggs, beaten (in a bowl)
1 tsp baking powder
520g self raising flour, sifted
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp milk for glazing
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Mix the butter, sugar and milk well using a food processor until it is thick and creamy.
Through the ‘feed tube’ add the vanilla essence and beaten eggs and mix well.
Add the baking powder and self raising flour (sifted) a tbsp at a time. Mix well on a low speed.
Every now and then, using a maryse spatula scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients mix nicely.
Once the dough is soft and not too sticky, turn the dough onto your clean work surface. Knead a little by hand.
Grease the base of your baking tray and then line with baking paper. You will need three baking trays for this recipe.
Take a piece of dough the size of a walnut. Roll it into a log and make a variety of swirly shapes. You can fold in half and then twist two or three times, or make an ‘S’ shape or coiled circle.
Place your cookies on the baking tray keeping them 3cm apart. Brush the egg and milk on top of each cookie to give them a nice golden glaze.
Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
Once ready, remove from the oven and cook the next baking tray followed by the third. To cool, remove the biscuits from the trays and place them on baking paper which will prevent them from softening too much. Then store in airtight containers.
Yiayia’s tip: Every oven is different! Do therefore keep an eye on your Koulourakia.