KOURAMBIEDES (Greek shortbread cookies, about three dozen)
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus an equal amount more for coating the finished cookies
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
a pinch of salt
- In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer, beat butter at high speed until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes (beating the butter until very fluffy – at least 10 minutes – makes these shortcakes especially light). Add the egg yolk, brandy and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Sift the flour with ¾ cup of the confectioners’ sugar, the baking powder, cloves and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed just until smooth. Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll into a 2 inch log. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 325*. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough and roll it into a perfect cylinder. Cut it into 3 equal pieces. Slice each piece crosswise into 12 cookies and arrange them 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets.
- Bake the cookies on the top and middle racks of the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden on the bottom, shifting the sheets from top to bottom halfway through the baking. Let the cookies cool slightly on the sheets, about 15 minutes.
- Pour confectioners’ sugar into a large shallow bowl. Add warm cookies in batches and heavily coat tops and sides. Transfer cookies to a sheet of wax paper that has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar and let cool. The cookies can be stored in an airtight tin between layers of wax paper for up to 2 weeks.
from Food and Wine Magazine, December, 1998