Basically a Greek butterball cookie recipe. These, with Melomakarona, are found in every Greek home during the Christmas Holidays. I go through phases. One year, or for a couple of years, these are my favourites, then Melomakarona are, and I keep switching back and forth. They're both wonderful! These keep wonderfully, long after Christmas is over, if any are left.
- 2 cups butter, at room temperature or 450 g butter
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 -4 cups flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups almonds, chopped and roasted
- rose water or orange flower water (available in many ethnic groceries) or ouzo
- extra icing sugar, for rolling the cookies in
- Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer for 15 minutes, until it begins to turn white. Mix in the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add the egg yolks, the brandy, vanilla extract, and gradually add the flour, until you have a dough that is neither too soft nor too firm (you may need to add slightly more than the amount I've written); stir in the almonds.
- Let the dough stand for an hour at room temperature, covered with a clean dish towel.
- Next, with small amounts (about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough), shape small rounds by gently rolling the dough around between the palms of your hands.
- Arrange the round cookies on a buttered pan and flatten ever so slightly on top with your hand.
- Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.
- Immediately upon removing the kourambiedes from the oven, sprinkle them with rose water (or orange water or ouzo. I do this by putting a small amount of the liquid in a bowl, wetting my fingertips, and shaking the droplets over the hot cookies a few times. The scented water or ouzo gives the cookies a very delicate fragrance).
- Roll the hot cookies in icing sugar to cover and let cool.
- When cool, arrange on a pretty holiday platter, sieving more icing sugar between the cookie layers to give a snowdrift effect.