Kourabiedes- Greek Christmas Cookies
Ah its kourabiedes time again… those huge white mountain of shortbread christmas cookies that adorn most pastry shops and bakeries in Greece. Well, I have been challenged. On the 23rd I was at the gym when the girls asked me what I have been baking for the holidays. I told them about my Swiss cookies, hopefully I would have some mince pies (the English christmas pies), and if time would allow me I would do some Filipino desserts.
Well, they all spoke with aghast “NO GREEK ONES???” Oh my, greek cookies, I have never made one before,I always buy my from my baker who sell one of the finest I could find. Besides with all lame excuses.. I have not been celebrating Greek christmas for a long time.
Honestly the last few years , Christmas meant work and when I say work I was either in Genoa, Aspen, Seychelles or if not working… I was in UK. But I always have a friend who never fail to send me a box of KOURABIEDES.
I went home and searched easy recipe of this cookie.Vogue E+T October/November issue has on page 76 Kourabiedes. But as you see its written by Tessa Kiros a Cypriot author. I wanted something very Greek.
Speaking of Vogue E+T , I knew exactly where to look for it here in Athens. A small intimate book shop called REYMONDOS at 18 Voukourestio St. , Athens sells variety of international magazines. And such wonderful food magazine comes a hefty price of â‚¬10.
On our shelf I found Nikos (my Greek bro in law) GREEK CALENDAR COOKBOOK by Anne Yannoulis printed in 1988.
Well the recipe did not look complicated. I normally try a new recipe when there is an accompanied photo but heck I have been eating KOURABIEDES for 22 years now. About time to do this and I even had a 13 year old to join me the fun!
INGREDIENTS: over 30 cookies
225 g unsalted butter (room temp soft at least)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1-2 tsp brandy (optional)
3 cups all purpose flour
Â½ tsp baking powder
Â½ cup finely chopped almonds
1-2 cups icing sugar
1) beat butter well till light
2) continue beating add the sugar, egg yolk , brandy and vanilla
3) Stir in sieved flour and almonds baking powder
4) Knead well
5) Break off egg sized pieces shape into rounds , ovals or crescents
6) Lay in a lightly greased baking tin
7) Flatten slighty
8) Bake at least 20mins at 150C DO NOT ALLOW TO BROWN.
9) Remove cookies, and cool down
10) You can sprinkle icing sugar ( i kept half of them without sugar)
After baking and once slightly cool enough to eat, I came to a conclusion this is basically a shortbread cookie. Also after I formed some into crescent shapes, it dawned to me, this is similar to the Austrian VANILLEKEPTEL.
I actually waited 22 years to do this???
These cookies, I will dedicate to Ces. Because she tasted a Kourabiedes at a Greek Bakery in Astoria, NY. Many Greek immigrants live in Astoria and also because she wants to do easy cookies with her kids.
… and I brought some to the Greek ladies who had challenged me, one said it tasted as if my cookies came from the finest Vienesse Patisserie.