Recipe: Greek Christmas Cookies

Gingerbread HouseAdd some flair to your holiday menu with our recipe for Greek Christmas Cookies, one of our favorite festive recipes from around the world. These sugared shortbread cookies are originally from Greece, where bakers sprinkle their desserts with symbolic ingredients like almonds. Our version also comes topped with plenty of powdered sugar, making it sweet way to end the year.

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brandy (or orange juice)
3 large egg whites
1 large egg yolk
3 cups unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/3 cups + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon (ground)
1 1/2 pounds unsalted toasted almonds (chopped in large pieces)
About 12 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 pounds)
2 or more pounds powdered sugar for topping

METHOD

Dissolve the baking soda in the brandy. Beat the egg whites and yolk together. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, oil and 1 cup of powdered sugar until light. Beat in eggs, brandy with baking soda, cinnamon and chopped almonds. Stir in flour and use hands to combine. Knead for 20 minutes. The dough will be fairly dry and dense.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Take a fistful of dough and squeeze 8 times to soften. Shape into balls and flatten slightly to a height of about 1/2 inch, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. The dough can also be patted to a height of 1/2 inch and cut with a cookie cutter.

Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes or until a pale golden color. The cookies may split slightly on top.

Allow cookies to cool completely before topping with powdered sugar.

Sprinkle one or more serving platters with powdered sugar. Place one layer of cookies on the platter (carefully, using a spatula) and dust with sugar. (Place sugar in a strainer and tap or shake over the cookies.) Place another layer on top of the first, and sprinkle with the sugar, continuing to no more than 3 layers on each plate or platter. Be generous with the powdered sugar!

Serves 6.

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