Twisted Koulouria

Koulouria, the traditional Greek Easter biscuits, can be traced back to 3000BC and the Minoan civilisation of Crete, and their popularity has never wavered.

In this fun twist, the addition of chocolate to these simple vanilla butter biscuits not only looks striking, but also adds an element of surprise.

If you prefer to keep your koulouria vanilla, omit the chocolate paste.

Either way, don’t wait for Easter; these are a delicious treat the whole family will love all year round.


Chocolate and vanilla Easter biscuits

MAKES 25-30
Gluten free

125g unsalted butter, softened
230g (1 cup) caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 tsp brandy or ouzo (optional)
455g (3½ cups) gluten-free plain flour, sifted
3 tsp gluten-free baking powder
50 g gluten-free dark chocolate (70% cocoa), melted
Light olive oil, for greasing
Whisked egg, for brushing


Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for five minutes or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla, lemon and orange zests and brandy or ouzo (if using) and beat to combine. Add the flour and baking powder and beat to form a very soft dough.

Transfer half the dough to another bowl. Add the melted chocolate to the remaining dough and beat to form a chocolate dough.

Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour to firm up the dough and make it easier to roll. Preheat the oven to 160degC (fan-forced) and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Grease your hands with a little light olive oil to make the dough easier to roll. Working in batches so the dough remains chilled, take one-third of each dough colour out of the fridge. Take a tablespoon of each dough colour and roll into two thin logs roughly 15cm long. Connect the top of the two logs and twist to form a braid. Place the koulouria on the prepared trays and brush with the whisked egg.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store the koulouria in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For a mocha note, mix 1 teaspoon instant coffee with 1 teaspoon boiling water and add to the dough with the melted chocolate.

These koulouria bake crispy. If you prefer a softer, cake-like texture to your biscuits, add 3 tablespoons of milk to your dough. The dough can be made ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to one month. Thaw the frozen dough to room temperature before rolling out.

Gluten-free Mediterranean by Helen Tzouganatos, Macmillan, RRP $49.99.