Many countries have a traditional holiday cookie. This means there are as many “authentic” recipes as there are cooks in the country. This is certainly true of Greek Christmas Cookies. When I started looking for a recipe I quickly got lost in the variations of spices and fruits that are added to this holiday treat known as Kourambiethes in Greece. Finally, I decided to gather the best bits that would appeal to my family and create the following recipe. Trust me – it’s as authentic as they come.
Greek Christmas Cookies
- 1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and ground
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Advanced Preparation: To blanch almonds place in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Allow to sit about 10 minutes then rinse in cold water. Using your fingers remove and discard the brown outer skin, rinse, and pat dry. Place blanched almonds on a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they begin to brown. Cool to room temperature and then grind in a food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combined softened butter and ¾ cups confectioner’s sugar. Place remaining confectioner’s sugar in a separate bowl and set aside. Add egg yolk, orange juice, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add flour, baking powder, and almonds and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Using your fingers take portions of the dough and form 2-inch spheres or 3-inch logs shaped into crescents. Roll in the reserved confectioner’s sugar. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-18 minutes, until just firmed and the bottom begins to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool until they are still warm but can be easily handled. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
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