If you are looking for a classic Greek biscuit, then look no further than these Greek olive oil cookies or koulourakia ladiou. Cookies with olive oil are a little different from the usual chocolate or ginger but trust me, they will become your new favourite! Plus these cookies are vegan, which makes them the perfect treat if you’re a vegan or fasting!
So read along to discover my delicious recipe, tips and tricks to make them to perfection, step by step photos and how to store them and my delicious variations!
What are Greek olive oil cookies?
Cookies made with oil and without butter or eggs? You shouldn’t miss out on these delicious treats! Greeks enjoy them in the lead up to Christmas, as well as those who practice fasting in preparation for Lent.
The recipe is especially popular among the Greek Orthodox because it is vegan and does not require any dairy products which are avoided at certain times throughout the year, such as the Christmas and Easter Lent.
Finally, Koulourakia stands for Koulouri, which is a round and hollow cookie, shaped like a bagel. However, over time this phrase has come to mean any type of cookie! So feel free to experiment with shapes that you fancy! Round ones, braided ones, the world is your oyster! And of course, ladi means oil so its name literally means “made from oils”.
What you’ll need to make Greek Olive Oil Cookies the traditional way
I like to make these koulourakia with orange juice but if you want something with a stronger flavor, use a combination of orange juice and Metaxa brandy or cognac.
This really enhances the taste and makes the orange flavor so much more delicious. But for a non-alcoholic version, just stick with the orange juice.
On the olive oil front, I like going for light one. Extra virgin or unfiltered olive oils tend to have a more distinct and “strong” flavour.
So depending on your taste, a strong olive oil may not be desirable! Therefore, opt for a light coloured, filtered olive oil to make sure your cookies taste just right!
Key Preparation Tips
When preparing your Greek olive oil vegan biscuits you’ll need to be mindful of the below three things, to make sure your cookies taste simply amazing!
- Zesting the orange
- Add the right amount of “spices”
- Dont over knead the dough
When zesting the orange, make sure you only get the orange part and not the white bit. This is very bitter and will spoil the taste of the cookies.
With the cloves, be very careful when measuring them and side on less than more. If you have too much, they are overpowering and will block out the delicious flavor of the orange.
Finally, don’t forget that oil based cookies are easy to over-knead, which would result in the dough splitting and the oil coming out from the dough. To prevent that, make sure you are very gentle with the kneading and stop when the dough comes together!
Making ahead of time and storing
It is definitely best to make these crispy and fragrant cookies and bake them on the same day. Due to the olive oil, the dough doesn’t really store well if unbaked. The oil tends to seep out of the dough if left standing for too long.
So only mix them up when you want to bake them for the best results. Once baked, they will store in a cookie jar or airtight container for at least 5 days.
These Olive oil cookies are a perfect match with coffee, especially Greek coffee. They also work well with most types of tea as well! And as they contain no butter or dairy products, they are the perfect lenten treat and ideal if you observe a vegan diet!
Can I substitute vegetable oil instead of olive oil?
Yes you can substitute olive oil with vegetable oil. However, your biscuits will loose out a little bit of their distinctive flavour. If you do want to use alternative oils and retain the cookie’s flavour at the same time, just substitute half of the olive oil with a light vegetable oil.
Using a blend of oils will keep the olive oil flavouring while being a bit more economical to prepare. So a win win for both your budget and the taste as well!
More recipes to try
If you love cookies, then my recipes below are made for you! Give them a try and let me know what you think!
If you are looking for a classic Greek biscuit, then look no further than these Greek olive oil cookies or koulourakia ladiou. Cookies with olive oil are a little different from the usual chocolate or ginger but trust me, they will become your new favourite!
- 130g olive oil (4.6oz)
- 165g orange juice (or 140g orange juice and 35g Metaxa/ cognac) – 5.8 oz
- zest of 1 orange
- 150g sugar (5.3 oz)
- 500g self rising flour (17.6 oz)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/3 tsp baking soda
- 4 drops vanilla essence
- 80g sesame seeds for coating (2.8 oz)
- To prepare these olive oil cookies add in a large bowl the orange juice and baking soda. Whisk lightly using a fork until the baking soda dissolves and starts foaming.
- In the same bowl add all the liquid ingredients (olive oil, vanilla extract and cognac, if using) and the sugar and beat with a hand whisk until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- In another bowl add the dry ingredients: flour, salt, orange zest, ground cinnamon and clove. Mix with a spoon to combine.
- Add all the dry ingredients in the bowl with the liquid ingredients. Mix lightly with a spoon until all the ingredients incorporate. At the end use your hands to knead the dough softly until the flour is incorporated. Do not knead the dough too much because the oil will start to separate.
- Preheat the oven at 170-180C fan (350F).
- Divide the dough in 28-30 equal balls, approx. 30-35g / 1oz each.
- Shape the cookies into braids or circles.
- Dredge the olive oil cookies in sesame seeds until covered on all sides.
- Place the cookies on 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper.
- Bake each tray for approx. 20-25 minutes until nicely coloured and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool completely. Enjoy!
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