Delicious Desserts for Your Easter Table

Though the roasted lamb often takes center stage at the Easter dinner, desserts offer a sweet ending to the meal. Try the following recipes, including two of our favorite Easter koulourakia, to round out the feasting on Easter Sunday.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Marzipan Flowers

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar 

2/3 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup Greek olive oil

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting of your choice

Marzipan flowers, for decoration, recipe follows

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, and the vanilla extract and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan or paper baking cups. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20-35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick, skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating with a marzipan flower.

Marzipan Flowers

1 cup blanched almonds

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1 tablespoon egg white

Food coloring, of your choice

Place the almonds and 1/4 cup of the confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar along with the almond extract and light corn syrup. Process for one minute until the mixture is very smooth. Finally, add the egg white and process until the mixture forms a ball. Add food coloring of your choice and reserve a small amount to make a few green leaves with green food coloring, if preferred. Remove the marzipan from the food processor and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour, until firm. After chilling roll out a small portion and cut out flower shapes and mold to form the petals and leaves. If preferred, add small candies to the center to form the stamen. Place on top of frosted cake or cupcakes to decorate.

Koulourakia with Orange Flavor

1 pound sweet butter

1 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 cups sugar

1 cup orange juice

5 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

2 tablespoons baking powder

3-4 pounds all-purpose, unbleached flour

2-3 eggs for the egg wash

Sesame seeds (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the oil and the sugar. Add the orange juice, vanilla, orange zest, and the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Lower the mixer speed and add the baking powder and the flour gradually. You may need to incorporate the remaining flour by hand depending on the size of your mixer. Add as much flour as needed to make a dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers and can be made into cookie shapes. Roll the dough into cookie twists, the traditional shape for koulourakia, but circles, S-shapes and figure eights can also be made. Place the cookie shapes on ungreased baking sheets an inch or two apart since the koulourakia will puff up. In a small bowl, beat the eggs for the egg wash. Brush the koulourakia with the egg wash, and if preferred sprinkle with some sesame seeds on top, and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about twenty minutes until golden brown, rotating the pans from the lower to the upper rack and brushing again with egg wash about half way through the baking process. Cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.

Koulourakia tis Lambris (Easter Cookies)

1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks), at room temperature

2 cups sugar

10 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup milk

2 cups Greek extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 shot glass cognac

5 pounds unbleached, all-purpose flour

4-5 large eggs, or more for egg wash

In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the baking powder, vanilla, milk, oil, and cognac and beat well. Lower the mixer speed and add the flour slowly, as much as the butter mixture will take to form a dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers and can be rolled into koulourakia shapes. You may have to mix in the last bit of flour by hand, and be careful not to add too much flour, or over-beat or over-handle the dough since the results will be tough cookies. To make shapes, take about a teaspoonful of dough and roll it into a ball, then roll between your hands or on a flat surface to form a strip 3-4 inches long, and twist to form the traditional koulouraki shape. If preferred, you can make the shapes larger and make an additional twist, but be advised, the koulourakia do puff up, so leave at least an inch or two around them when you place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Continue making the koulourakia shapes and placing them on cookie sheets. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, beat one to two of the eggs for the egg wash and brush the koulourakia before placing in the lower third of the oven and baking for about 10 minutes until the koulourakia are puffed up and just beginning to color around the edges. Remove from the oven, brush the koulourakia with additional egg wash, and return them to the upper rack of the oven, rotating the pans, to finish baking for another 10 minutes or until the koulourakia are golden brown. Set the koulourakia to cool on the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove them from the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely on wire racks before storing in an airtight container. If desired, different shapes can be made with this dough, such as rings or s-shaped coils, brush with egg wash and bake as directed above.


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