How to Know You’re in Real Diner: Koulourakia

12 Mar

Some Signs You’re in a Real, Live, Greek-Owned Diner:

1. There is no “hostess.” There is 60ish year-old, probably-balding man dressed in gray slacks and a white button-down shirt (top two buttons undone) who gives you a stern look up and down before seating you. He is probably named Gus, John, or Nick, is almost definitely the owner,  and is definitely seating you with the waitress he deems to suit you– the one who can handle 15 teenagers, the one who will call remember your order from last weekend, or the one who will flirt shamelessly with you.

2. The menu is 17 pages long, with an inserted “Specials” page. If the menu is not laminated, you are not in a diner. If there is no Sirloin steak special, you are not in a diner. If anyone orders off a page that is not titled “Breakfast,” “From the Grill,” “Greek Specialties,” or the aforementioned “Today’s Specials,” you are not in a diner (or you are with someone who has no business in a diner). Bonus points for authenticity if the Specials page is hand written and there is an instance of using a “p” where an “r” should be.

3. As soon as you walk in, there is a pastry case that has baking sheets upon baking sheets of cookies. There are some eclairs in there too, a couple cakes with the whipped-cream icing piled too high, and baklava. But the real show stoppers are the cookies.


And that, my friends, is the recipe we’re eating today: koulourakia! These were my favorite growing up- they’re meant to be dunked in tea or coffee, but I love this only-slightly-sweet butter-based cookie all by itself. With traces of orange and vanilla and a biscuit consistency, they are the perfect cookie for just about any occasion.

I made these gluten-free with Cup4Cup, which has friggin revolutionized my gluten-free baking. I am going to write an entire post about Cup4Cup, but in the meantime–just know it is worth every penny. I also used coconut sugar in place of white sugar, and they turned out PERFECTLY. Just like I remember them from my grandfather’s diner.

Koulourakia: Orange Honey Twist Cookies


  • 1.5 c butter, softened
  • 1.25 c sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 TBS orange juice
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5.25 cups all-purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup for gluten-free)
  • 1.5  tsp baking powder
  • 0.75 tsp baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add 2 eggs; beat well. Beat in orange juice and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

2. Roll dough into 1-1/4-in. balls. Shape each into a 6-in. rope; fold in half and twist twice (see this post for more details on twisting and billions of koulourakia pictures). Alternatively, you can just make them drop cookies.  Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. In a small bowl, beat the remaining eggs; brush over dough. Bake at 350° for 7-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks.  Makes about 6-1/2 dozen.

One Response to “How to Know You’re in Real Diner: Koulourakia”


  1. Greek Easter 2014: Part II | Cooking Up Kefi - April 23, 2014

    […] gluten-free/sugar-free koulourakia, […]

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