Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)

Christmas Cookies Around The World continues!  Next up is.......

GREECE

Kourabiedes cookies are a staple at Christmas in Greece.  These white crescent shaped cookies get adorned with a single clove on top at the holidays to represent the frankincense & myrrh that the Magi brought to Jesus at his birth.  The shape of the cookie began as a bit of defiance when the Ottoman empire overtook Greece, and it's stuck over the years.  Apparently different areas of Greece differ on what type of butter they use, since that is the foundation of the whole thing.  Goat vs cow vs buffalo.  Yes buffalo.  Never would have guessed that, but there it is! 

This cookie sounded so easy to make I couldn't help but try it.  It pairs perfectly with coffee - the final product is so rich & buttery with just a hint of sweetness from the powdered sugar coating.  A few hints, don't make your cookies too big or they won't cook through.  I read lots of different recipes before settling on this one.  And the time spent creaming the butter sold me.  I felt like I was prepping to make icing, and there's nothing that can go wrong starting a recipe that way.  It becomes white & fluffy - the perfect base for, well, butter cookies.  

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Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)
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1 pound of butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 1/2 tsp almond extract
8 TB powdered sugar, plus more to coat cookies
1/8 tsp baking soda
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt (Note: I left this out - whoops!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter in a stand mixer at medium speed for 20 minutes.
  3. Add egg and almond extract to the butter. 
  4. Sift powdered sugar and baking soda together then add to the butter mixture.
  5. Beat for another 10 minutes on medium speed.
  6. Sift 5 cups of flour and salt together in a large bowl. (Disclaimer: I didn't sift my flour, though this would likely had made even lighter cookies).
  7. With the mixer speed on low, add flour a little bit at a time until it is completely mixed.  If the dough is sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour.   (Mine required about 6 cups)
  8. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball and then shape into crescents.  Place them on a lined baking sheet (my Silpat worked great).  You can place them right next to each other because the cookies don't spread.  ***The original recipe said to use 2 TB of dough to form the crescents and they were HUGE, and wouldn't cook through.  And I certainly wouldn't have gotten 5 dozen!  Smaller is better.**
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they turn a pale brown and are cooked through.
  10. Once the cookies cool, coat in powdered sugar.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Adapted from Cooking for Keeps.