Kourabiedes (Greece): Walnut Sugar Cookies

These are a Greek celebration cookie — while they're most popular at Christmas, you also see them at weddings, Easter and other holidays[ as well. They're almost always served with a powdered sugar topping; at Christmas, it's traditional to stick a whole clove in the top to represent the gift of spices that the Three Wise Men brought to Bethlehem.]

Total Time:
1 hr 50 min
Prep:
25 min
Inactive:
1 hr
Cook:
25 min

Yield:
about 2 dozen cookies
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons orange flower water
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Toast the walnuts until golden brown and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool, then chop about half of the nuts (you should have about 1/2 cup chopped). Pulse the remaining nuts in the food processor until finely ground (about 1/4 cup ground).

  • Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and nuts together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  • In another medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg yolk, brandy and vanilla extract together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture gets light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.

  • At low speed, stir in the nut mixture to make a crumbly dough. Cover the bowl and set dough aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or coat with nonstick spray.

  • With a tablespoon, scoop out 1-inch pieces of dough and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. Pinch the ends of the balls to make a football shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies set and start to brown, about 18 minutes.

  • Remove cookies from the oven and immediately sprinkle them lightly with the orange water. (If you don't have a brush, simply dip your fingers into the water and flick it over the cookies a few times.) Take care not to douse them, just enough for them to carry the scent of flowers.

  • Put the confectioners' sugar in a bag, and add 5 to 6 of the warm cookies to it. Very gently toss the cookies to coat with sugar. Remove them from the bag and cool cookies on a rack. Repeat with remaining cookies. Serve.

  • Busy baker's tips: Dough can be frozen for up to 2 weeks. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Baked cookies can be wrapped in plastic, then aluminum foil, for up to 2 weeks. To serve, let cookies come to room temperature before dusting with confectioners' sugar.

  • Cook's Note: If you can't find orange flower water, try specialty stores or online.

  • Copyright (c) 2007 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved


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    This recipe is featured in:

    12 Days of Cookies