Scented and flavored with plenty of orange jest and juice these are our family’s take on the traditional Greek recipe.
We don’t need to substitute and invent intricate vegan cookies, as the most common ones we make at home, or buy at the bakeries all over the country, are usually baked with olive oil instead of butter.
Makes about 65 pieces
1 ½ cups light olive oil
1 cup sugar
650 grams cake flour or more, as needed
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup brandy
3 packed tablespoons orange zest (from 3-4 large oranges, zested with the microplane)
1 cup fresh orange juice
Toasted sesame seeds, or rosemary leaves (optional)
In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the balloon attachment, beat the oil and sugar for about 5 minutes, until milky-white.
In a separate bowl toss the flour with the baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a cup add the baking soda to the brandy and stir to mix. Add the orange zest, orange juice and brandy-soda to the oil-sugar in the mixer, and stir a few times to mix.
Add gradually the flour to the liquids, in 2-3 additions, until just incorporated. You will end up with a very oily soft dough. If too soft, add a bit more flour, and transfer to the working surface. Let sit for 15-20 minutes before shaping.
Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the convection oven to 160 C (320F).
Shape walnut-size pieces of dough into a rope, then join the ends to create a koulouri (crown) pressing it lightly on the sesame, if using.
Alternatively you can shape small sticks, or press pieces of dough to a ¼-inch square and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.
Sprinkle with sesame or rosemary if you like.