Kourabiedes – Greek Christmas Butter Cookies
These wonderfully rich butter cookies, a recipe which I learnt to make from my husband’s aunt, Machi, in Karditsa many years ago, differs a bit from the usual Greek Kourabiedes most families make. Instead of roasted nuts, I use finely ground peeled almonds which make these cookies a bit crunchier and before dusting with icing sugar I sprinkle them with a little ground cinnamon. . . making them truly yummy and a real treat!
250 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup fine crystal sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup Greek Metaxas brandy (or any other brandy of choice)
1/3 cup finely ground peeled almonds
375 - 400 g sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Garnish: Ground cinnamon and icing sugar (confectionary sugar)
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until whitish and fluffy! Add egg yolk and mix. Add brandy and mix. Add the finely ground almonds and mix.
Gradually add the flour with baking powder until you have a dough that is neither too soft nor too firm. I prefer to do this by hand to make sure not to over handle the dough! (Please note that you may need to add slightly more flour to the recipe! The exact amount will depend on the flour you are using!)
Let dough rest at room temperature for about a half hour covered with plastic wrap.
Knead a wee bit and then proceed to divide the dough into 20 – 25 pieces. Now, shape dough into small rounds by gently rolling the dough around between the palms of your hands and arrange on baking sheets covered with baking paper.
Place in pre-heated oven, 150 – 160 C, for about 20 minutes or until the cookies are slightly rose colored. Remove cookies from oven and cool on baking racks.
When completely cold, store in airtight containers or freeze until ready to use.
When you want to serve these cookies, or a day or two before, place on a nice serving dish and sprinkle the top of each round cookie with a little cinnamon and then proceed to dust with abundant icing sugar. . . . making the cookies look like irresistible snowballs!
Yield: 20 – 25 large cookies
In many families in Greece these cookies, once baked, are sprinkled with rose water and dredged liberally in icing sugar while still warm. This will give you a different type of cookie which is also great but being a creature of habit. . . I prefer aunt Machi’s way!
Another advantage of aunt Machi’s Kourabiedes is that they can be made ahead of time, stored in airtight containers or frozen, and then dusted with icing sugar any time you like!