Day 8 of our 12 Days of Cookies extravaganza thing, and I decided to try something brand new. I felt fairly certain that I had not had kourambiedes before, though I’ve had many variations on the butter cookie, so gave these a go. The discussions on Gourmet regarding this recipe are quite lively, and it seems apparent that these are a beloved cookie and each Greek family probably has its own secret version.
After choosing these, I read the first instruction which says to cream the butter for an hour. Whoa! Good thing the instructions call for a stand mixer, because I’m not sure I’d want to stand in one spot moving a hand mixer around for an hour. In the end, I felt the butter had met the “almost white” criteria at 20 minutes and moved on with the rest. They are very easy to shape and work with. The original recipe doesn’t mention removing the cloves, but one commenter mentioned the necessity of that—try biting into a whole clove and see what you think—so I did it as soon as they were cool enough to handle.
We liked the cookies, which have subtle flavors and a slightly dry texture, though we felt they needed something. They aren’t overly sweet, a welcome break from the sticky sweetness of the bar cookies, but they needed another touch of flavor. One commenter mentioned that instead of rolling in powdered sugar, his grandmother drizzled orange juice over them as soon as they cooled, and we thought that was a grand idea but didn’t get a chance to implement.
Be sure to visit all our friends in the cookie clan to see what cookies they chose as well as the Gourmet website to see all their favorite cookies from 1941-2008.
The Rest of the Cookie Baking Clan
- Jerry of Cooking By the Seat of My Pants
- Kelly of Sass & Veracity
- Courtney of Coco Cooks
- Judy of No Fear Entertaining
- Sandy of The Bakers Bench
- Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen
- 4 sticks (453 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup (33 g) confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or brandy
- 4-1/2 cups (540 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces/85 g) finely ground blanched almonds
- whole cloves, 1 for each cookie
- Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the softened butter at low speed for 1 hour, or until it is almost white.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, the egg yolk, and the orange-flavored liqueur and mix until combined.
- Blend in the flour and almonds, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a soft dough. If the dough seems sticky, chill it, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour.
- Form the dough into 1-1/2-inch balls and press 1 clove into each ball. Put the balls on baking sheets and bake them in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until they are pale golden. Transfer the cookies to a rack, let them cool for 2 minutes. Remove the cloves and dredge them in sifted confectioners’ sugar.
stand mixer with paddle attachment
Drizzle some rose water or a little orange liqueur over the cookies when they come out of the oven.