Cyprus Butter Cookies (Koulourakia)

about 30 to 50 minutes depending on how you braid the dough
about 25 - 27 minutes
Makes about 40 small cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 tbs vegetable shortening (spry)
4 eggs separated (egg whites in one bowl, egg yolks in another bowl)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp baking powder
4 cups soft or all purpose flour (you may need a little more or less)
1 cup sugar

1. Ensure that your butter and eggs are at room temperature. Beat the sugar, butter and spry with an electric mixer. Add the egg yolks one at a time while continuing to mix. Add the vanilla in the butter mixture.

2. Beat the egg whites until they form medium peaks in a separate bowl.

3. Mix the baking powder and flour together.

4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and egg white mixture to the butter mixture. At this stage, use your hand to mix together the ingredients, ensuring that the ingredients are incorporated by folding them into together. Add enough flour (this could be a little less than the 4 cups or a little more) until the dough is manageable.

5. Take little pieces of dough and shape into ropes, as thick as your little finger about 20cm long. Fold it in half and twirl the ends together, creating a twist. Not you can really make any shape that you want – even little round flat cookies. Traditional shapes tend to be an “s-shape”, braids or a twisted shape.

6. Place the cookies on baking paper on a tray. Brush the top with egg wash. Bake for about 25 to 27 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Lasts in a cookie jar for about 2 weeks.


Cypriot coffee and “koulourakia” are like edible perfection. Koulourakia were made for dunking. They are a bit of a stealth cookie. The ingredients basic; the flavour subtle and yet you can find yourself sifting through an empty cookie box pretty fast. It’s a traditional cookie, though the recipes I found are each a little different. Some recipes contained orange blossom water and brandy, others vanilla. The first “koulourakia” recipe I covered is one that really accents that butter flavour.

The recipe bit more finicky than others, the butter flavour really stands out, and it is a bit light in texture which I like. The recipe makes about 40 small cookies.  Depending on whether you want to braid the cookies, they can take some time to prepare. There are shortcuts: lazy option – little flat circles; not so lazy option – little twists, which is what I made.


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Cyprus Cuisine

“Cyprus Cuisine”, published by Whitecap Books in 2021, is now available for purchase. Christina Loucas shares over 80 recipes that showcase the very best of Cypriot cooking.

Cyprus Cuisine