Ever since high school I have been in love with Greek food. My grandparents befriended their new neighbors who happened to be Greek and a whole new world opened up for me. To this day, the wife made the best pastitsio I have ever tasted, either here or in Greece! With that first bite, I heard the angels sing and a lifetime obsession was born.
So when I was trying to decide on a Christmas cookie my mind immediately went to those Greek cookies that are covered in powdered sugar. It looks just like snow, at least to me anyway. Thanks to Professor Google, I learned they were called Kourabiedes and they are traditional Greek Christmas cookies. (Apparently, they remind everyone else of winter too!)
Now as luck would have it, my husband’s shoes needed repair. Wait, why is this lucky? Well, my preferred shoe repair place, Minas Shoe Repair, is operated by a Greek family. So when I went in l asked how to pronounce Kourabiedes, because my Greek is less than stellar. (It is korah-be-eh-thez by the way.) I figured I should be able to actually say what I was making. Not only did they give me a language lesson, they actually shared with me their family recipe! OMG! So excited! So this is the real thing boys and girls. Oh and they happen to be gluten-free.
- ½ cup of coarsely chopped almonds
- 1 ¼ cups brown rice flour
- ¾ cup sweet white rice flour
- ¼ cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of Metaxa (or Cognac)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- To finish:
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Place the chopped almonds in a small frying pan, set over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until you smell the aroma. Place them in a medium bowl.
- In the same bowl, add the rice flours, cornstarch, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the powdered sugar, butter and egg until fluffy and whitish, about 10 minutes.
- Turn the mixer down to medium/low and add the Metaxa and orange juice and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Let dough rest on the counter at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Tip: Remember the oven needs at least 20 minutes to preheat fully in spite of what the read out says.
- Shape dough into 1½ inch balls and place on parchment lined or ungreased cookie sheets about an inch apart.
- Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden, rotating the pans halfway through for even baking. The tops will be beginning to crack.
- Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the sheets for 2 minutes. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
- Once the kourabiedes have cooled completely, add a few at a time to a medium bowl filled with powdered sugar. Gently toss to coat them well.
- Place each cookie on a large platter and dust with more icing sugar to cover completely.
- Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.