Tuesday, December 22, 2009


A few days ago, Zarpandit at "Cikolota & Istanbul" from Turkey kindla sent me a packet with lots of wonderful gifts from Turkey. I received loukoumi (Turkish delight), two dainty coffee cups, a traditional coffee pot (cevze), some Turkish coffee and a spice called mahlep (or mahleb). It really made my day and filled me with joy. What great items.Thanks so much dear friend!

So, as I had been dy
ing to try mahlep since a long while, I thought that it would be a good idea if I baked something with that special spice. I was really eager to try it out and wanted to make cookies for Christmas so I baked a batch of "Koulourakia" cookies (pronounced: koo-loo-RAHK-yah).

Those traditional sesame topped Greek cookies are generally made at Easter time. Mostly shaped like a twisted rope, these cookies are also often shaped into figure eights, braids or twisted wreaths. They are a kind of shortbread, a bit crunchy, buttery but not too sweet.

"Koulourakia" are maybe simple cookies, but they taste heavenly nonetheless. The mahlep spice which is made from black cherry kernels somewhat tastes like cherries and almonds. It adds a very unique, distinctive and delicate flavor that is uncomparable, thus making those cookies irresistible.

~ Koulourakia ~
Recipe found on the blog "World In Our Oven" (India).

Makes about 30 cookies.

1/2 Cup (120g) Unsalted butter
1/2 Cup (105g) Caster sugar
3 Egg yolks
1/4 Cup (60g) Half and half (light cream/see remarks)
2 1/4 Cup (287g) All purpose flour
1 Tsp Baking powder
1/4 Tsp Sea salt
1 Tsp Ground mahlep
2 to 3 Tbsp Sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar till creamy.
2. Beat in 2 of the egg yolks, one at a time.
3. Mix in 3 tbsps of the half and half.
4. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and Mahlep powder; gradually add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly.
5. To shape the cookies, pinch off 1-inch balls of dough; roll each into a 7-inch strand. Bring the ends together and twist (or form into a pretzel shape, if preferred).
6. Place slightly apart on a greased baking sheet.
7. Beat remaining egg yolk with remaining half and half; brush lightly over the cookies and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
8. Bake in a 180° C (350° F) oven for 15 minutes till golden.
9. Transfer to racks and cool completely.
10. Store in airtight tins.

I you have any half and half, whisk together half cream (25% fat) and half milk (3% fat).
You can leave out the ground mahlep if you want.
You can also roll those cookies and cut them out with cookie cu

Serving suggestions:
Serve with a cup of Turkish coffee.

More festive recipes over here...

~ Koulourakia ~
Recette trouvée sur le blog "World In Our Oven" (Inde).

Pour environ 30 biscuits.

120g de Beurre non-salé
105g de Sucre cristallisé
3 Jaunes d'oeufs
60g de Crème à café (voir remarques)
287g de Farine blanche
1 CC de Poudre à lever
1/4 se CC de Sel marin
1 CC de Mahleb en poudre
2 à 3 CS de Graines de sésame

1. A l'aide d'un mixer, battre le beurre avec le sucre afin d'obtenir un mélange mousseux.
2. Incorporer 2 jaunes d'oeufs, l'un après l'autre.
3. Incorporer 3 CS de crème à café.
4. Dans un autre bol mélanger ensemble le farine, la poudre à lever, le sel et le mahleb, puis ajouter au mélange au beurre. Bien incorporer afin d'obtenir une pâte.
5. Former des boules de la taille d'une noix, puis confectionner de minces lanières de 18cm de longueur. Pliez chaque lanière en deux et tournez les pour former une torsade.
6. Mettre sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulurisé en laissant un espace entre chaque biscuit.
7. Battre le jaune d'oeuf restant avec le reste de crème à café et badigeonner les biscuits avec ce mélange. Saupoudrer avec les graines de sésame.
8. Cuire à 180° C pendant 15 minutes jusqu'à ce que les biscuits soient dorés.
9. Mettre les biscuits sur une grille afin qu'ils refroidissent.
10. Conserver dans des boites en métal.

Si vous n'avez pas de crème à café, alors mélanger une moitié de lait avec une moitié de crème à 25%.
Le mahlep n'est pas obligatoire dans cett
e recette.
Ces cookies peuvent être découpés à l'aide d'emporte-pièces une fois la pâte étalée.

Idées de présentation:
Servir ces biscuits aved du café turc.

Pour plus de recettes festives, suivez le lien, merci.


  1. C'est bon d'avoir des amis qui pensent a toi de par le monde non?
    Passe d'excellentes fetes Rosa. A tres bientot.

  2. What a sweet gift! How thoughtful - and delicious! I am sure you will enjoy eating your way through that box of gifts - but I can think of no sweeter person to deserve it!

    I bet a cup of Turkish coffee would go great with you Koulourakia!

  3. What a wonderful gift you received Rosa! I never heard of Mahleb before, I am not even sure how to get them in here. The cookie sounds really excotique!

  4. Rosa, your Koulourakia look fab! Save some mahlepi to make Tsoureki (Greek Easter bread).

  5. Une petite gourmandise que je m'offrirais bien, je connais les loukoumades, qui sont à tomber par terre alors les tiennes me plaisent bien !

  6. What can I say, they look beautiful and we just love these cookies.

  7. Gosh, awesome presents you got.
    Once again, your recipe is delightful and well presented.
    Beautiful pictures.
    Wishing you a lovely Christmas time x

  8. these look a bit like the swedish saffron buns I made recently...but you used sesame seeds instead of sugar. Is this a sweet recipe?

  9. Never heard of Mahlep before. Very interesting. Your cookies look scrumptious.


  10. What a wonderful gift!I have never heared of mahlep before. The cookies are super cute!

  11. So beautiful gifts! Mmmm I want Lokum and now your cookies - wonderful form and surely taste gorgeous :)The mahlep are new for me :D

    All the best,


  12. I never heard of malepi until your post. Weren't you lucky to have that friend mail you a package from Turkey!

  13. yuppppiiii :) dear friend i'm glad you liked it:)only little gift :)
    and koulourakia looks delicious :)

  14. Wonderful! I love the shaping. I haven't heard of mahlep before.

  15. Wonderful cookies Rosa it looks delicious, Merry Christmas!

  16. Nice to see you back! These are very pretty. Happy Christmas!

  17. Ive not had cookies like that but what a sweet gift they'd be!! Merry Christmas!

  18. oh lovely rosa! these look so flaky and delicious! perfect! happy christmas my friend!

  19. I've never made these Rosa. Yours do look wonderful. My son's Greek girlfriend once made me some.

    Have a lovely Christmas.

  20. Such great gifts and the cookies look lovely! I've never tried mahlep spice, will have to look for it!

  21. Le mahleb donne un parfum extraordinaire à la pâte.
    Je ne connais les Koulourakia, je note ta recette.
    A bientôt et bonnes fêtes.

  22. Dearest Rosa,

    Thanks for a year full of delicious treats and delights. I have enjoyed the virtual tours of the places you visited this year, the weekend cat blogging and all! Looking forward to more in the new year.

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

  23. ..tes images sont magiques Rosa..bonne nuit xx

  24. I've been wanting to try baking these for a while. Yours look fantastic, and I wish I could taste one right now!

  25. I would love to try these - a sweet bread, nice for breakfast or tea. They look a bit complicated with the plaiting but I guess that takes practice.

  26. Beautiful gift Rosa! I remember eating these from when I was little :)

  27. J'aime bien la forme de tes biscuits!!

    Rosa je te souhaite un très joyeux Noël!!xx

  28. I am always looking for more Greek recipes. I traveled there last year and now I'm addicted to their food!

  29. those are awesome looking cookies! so adoreable!

  30. Wow! Love the shape of these! Too cool.

  31. Wow Rosa these cookies look lovely!
    Perfect christmas gift :-)
    Wish you Merry Christmas!

  32. Those cookies look amazing. I'll have to see if I can find some mahlep here so that I can make them too!

    Merry Christmas to you! x

  33. interessant, von dem Gewürz habe ich noch nie gehört. LG. Robert

  34. Je ne connais pas le Mahleb en poudre Rosa. Très originale la forme.
    Je te souhaite d'excellentes fêtes de fin d'année.

  35. just beautiful cookies! and a sweet gift. happy holidays to you!

  36. I LOVE these cookies! I used to pack 'em in at the Greek festivals years ago, and still buy a ton when I'm at a Greek bake shop or restaurant! Yours look amazing! Now, can you make me some Baklava too? :) Have a wonderful and healhy holiday, Rosa!

  37. De magnifiques cookies! Nous faisons des cookies grecs toutes les deux cette année ;-) (c'est un peu le thème ici; nous attendons nos amis Grecs le jour de Noël ;-) ). Excellentes Fêtes, Rosa! De très grosses bises!

  38. What a beautiful gift, and what a gorgeous post Rosa. It's lovely! Love the delicate cookies too.

  39. Lucky you to receive such special gifts Rosa. We hope your Christmas is filled with joy, laughter and many kitchen successes in the New Year...you never know what 2010 will bring.

  40. Oh I know these all too well Rosa...what a great job. The mahlepi is a great addition too. Merry Xmas and all the best for 2010.

  41. Rosa this look absolutely amazing!
    I want whish you a Happy Meerry Christmas and wonderful Holidays, huggsss! gloria

  42. What a wonderful package to get in the mail. Lucky you.

    Those 'cookies' look do good.

  43. beautiful pictures as always, and the description of the mahlep seeds sounds scrumptious! happy holidays...

  44. You have a fantastic blog out here...first time here.Loved it.Loved these cookies too...they look beautiful:)

  45. Lucky you to receive such a great gift in the mail! It looks beautiful!

  46. J'imagine bien le goût de ces biscuits, ce doit être délicieux!
    Joyeux Noël et à bientôt

  47. Those cookies look fabulous. If I could get my hands on that spice, I would make ka'ak, which is sort of like a taralli. It is a syrian savory cracker/cookie.

    I have never made ka'ak, I just buy it--but it is really addictive!

  48. These look super tasty! Have a Blessed Christmas!

  49. Great job with the cookies Rose, they look like they came out of a Greek pastry shop! I love mahlab too, we use it a lot in Lebanon too.

  50. I adore any kind of sesame cookie. The sesame seeds just give them such a distinct look and taste.

  51. I love their twisty shapes.
    I may not know much about mahlep, but that won't stop me from recreating these.

  52. Wow, Rosa, these look amazing. What a lovely gift and how creative you are.

  53. Hey Rosa...May you have a blessed season. and that is an amazing gift to receive and I still bake kolourakia quite a number of times..my first being for "world in our oven"! Quite addictive!

  54. rosa, these cookies are absolutely outstanding! those greeks really know how to do dessert, and i can almost feel these little nibbles just dissolving in my mouth. delicious!

  55. Lovely lovely gift and what beautiful cookies. They look as good as they are pretty!

  56. These cookies are so pretty! I bet the sesame gives such a delicious, nutty flavor!

  57. Ils doivent etre très bons ces jolis biscuits!

  58. You are making good of your beautiful gift and what you made says thank you by itself. It is delicious looking.

  59. What a lovely gift and these cookies are so sweet. The little twist is adorable.

  60. Looks so yummy,I'll definitely give it a try soon ...
    Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  61. Hi,

    Very nice koulourakia.

    Could you please tell me if I can make the dough the day before, and then bake the next day??


  62. ANONYMOUS: Thanks for passing by and for the kind comment! I guess that you could (never tried that though) as long as you wrap the dough in cling film. Cheers.