Kourambiedes (almond shortbread cookies)
One of my mothers favorite Greek cookies. They take a little work but they're worth it. These can be made a variety of ways. I know my grandmother makes them a little different every time. Over the years, that's a lot recipes to try and keep up with. This one is a basic recipe I follow (with my own occasional variations). If you ever go to a Greek Festival, these are very likely one type of cookie you will see (try them!).
You will need:
2 cups butter (4 sticks, room temperature, unsalted is best)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2/3 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 & 1/2 oz brandy (or vodka, or mild rum; each one will change the flavor a bit. 1 TBS of almond extract can be used instead)
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tsp. baking powder
4 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
sifted confectioner's sugar for topping
Cream the butter until very light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar and beat well. Add the almonds, egg yolks, and orange juice, and mix well. Sift baking powder with flour, and carefully blend into the butter mixture.
Shape dough into small crescent shapes (a fat half moon, no points) and place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
This recipe makes a big batch and I find that it's quicker to roll some of this dough into small teaspoon-sized balls first (like, one full sheet's worth) and then shape each ball into a crescent (roll the ball into a short fat snake-like shape and turn it slightly in to a thick letter C). A lot of these will fit on a sheet so while one is baking, I work on the next batch.
Bake in a 400° oven for 16-20 minutes. Check them at the 16 minute mark and give another minute or two (or three) until they're done. The cookies should be very light in color but somewhat firm.
In the meantime, sift some confectioners sugar on a large sheet of wax paper.
When cooked, carefully place cookies on powdered sugar (on the waxed paper) and sift additional confectioners sugar on top of the warm cookies.
Cool thoroughly before storing.
These look great in those fancy little paper/foil cupcake wrappers, but more importantly, they taste great with coffee, tea, milk, juice, anything! Enjoy!
There are two more pictures here and here.