Κουλουράκια, or koulourakia, are among my favorite cookies in The Joy of Cookies. Crusted with an egg yolk glaze and a liberal sprinkling of sesame seeds, and flavored lightly with brandy and vanilla, they are buttery, golden and crisp. According to Sharon Tyler Herbst this Greek treat is traditionally baked on Holy Thursday to break the 40-day Lenten fast that Saturday night at midnight. She also states that their twisted shape represents Christ’s winding burial sheet and reminds observers of the resurrection.
In attempting to chase down the etymology of koulourakia, I ran across this blog post: Sweet Almond Tree. That explanation seems as good as any to me.
These Greek Easter cookies keep a long time. And they are irresistible, so take Ms. Herbst’s and my advice and double the recipe!