As I’ve shared previously, my yiayia Aphrodite and I would bake a lot of Greek Christmas cookies together during the holidays. I remember she would turn into this strict baker and was very methodical with Greek Christmas cookies, and especially, kourabiedes. This type of cookie looks like a wedding cookie, and dusted with powdered sugar and has a buttery, nutty flavor. I loved kourabiedes growing up, and now these are Anna’s favorite Christmas cookies.
Greek Christmas cookies
A must in every Greek inspired home, kourabiedes often make for animated comparisons between men and women as to who bakes the best. No one can convince the others as to why their mom’s or aunt’s cookie is the best, but I have a simple theory about Greek Christmas cookies that I generally don’t care to share in public.
The way I see it, food is attached to long term memory, and when the memory is positive and evokes love, family, etc., it tends to taste great, because eating it makes us feel good. However, if the memory is traumatic, we don’t want to have anything to do with that food… for instance, my father absolutely hated olives. Whether in a salad, or in bread or served with feta, he would not go near them. When I asked, he said that olives were all they ate during the war, so he had attached horrible memories of the war with eating olives.
Anyway, enough with the psychology lesson for today! The recipe below is one that I’ve tweaked from my yiayia Aphrodite. So, instead of vanilla extract, I use almond extract. I use pecans instead of almonds and I bake at 350F not 375F. The best thing you can do is try out making these for yourself, and see what you like or what you would improve upon. And of course, your cookie with end up being the talking point for your kids one day when the topic of kourabiedes is bought up. Happy baking!
MAD HOLIDAY KOURABIEDES
- 5-6 cups of all purpose flour (you can opt for whole wheat)
- 1 lb. unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, lightly toasted (you can use almonds or walnuts)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp almond extract
In a separate bowl, it’s best if you sift the confectioner’s sugar. Slowly add with a spoon into the butter mixture and beat for another 5-8 minutes on