The koulourakia sigma, are the traditional cookies we make in Cyprus with blossom water, which in the Cypriot dialect are called “koulourouthkia sigma”.
The letter sigma is the only letter in the Greek alphabet which has three forms: capital, small and ending “S” (Σ σ ς), so they are shaped like an end s.
In Cyprus we make these cookies with Spry Vegetable shortening.
As you can read in Wikipedia although this producted has stopped being produced in most countries, in Cyprus it is still being produced.
I can’t find spry in Greece, so whenever I go to Cyprus I bring some with me especially for these cookies, which my children love.
I have tried making them using butter but although they still taste great, they are not the same.
If you cannot find spry, I won’t suggest another brand but I believe that using any kind of vegetable shortening will give the same result.
The ingredients to make the cookies are spry, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, brandy and citrus orange blossom water.
The dough will still sticky at the hands but you should not add more flour as they will become hard and difficult to pipe, with the star shaped tip.
The recipe makes about 90 cookies but don’t worry that they are too much.
Put them in an air tight container and keep them as long as you like. These get better and better as they age.
They are so addictive that they will not last for long.
The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!
- 350 grams (12.35 oz) spry (or other vegetable shortening)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 900 grams (2 lbs) all purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- ¼ cup orange blossom water
- ¼ cup V.S.O.P. Cypriot brandy
- Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350o F.
- Whisk the shortening and sugar in the mixer for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add brandy, vanilla and blossom water and mix well. Change the paddle to a cake K shaped paddle.
- Meantime, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and add gradually to the butter mixture. The cookie dough should be soft and sticky on the hands. Too much flour will make them hard.
- Line a large baking tin 35 x 40 cm (14 x 16 inches) with parchment paper. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped tip. Pipe the cookies onto the prepared baking tins shaping them into an “S” around 2 inches (5- 6 cm) long or any other shape you like, spaced apart.
- Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, around 15 minutes.
- Let them cool on a wire rack and store them in air tight containers.
- Serve with Greek coffee.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!