Each of these almond shortbreads is studded with a whole clove, a symbol of the Magi's gift of spices to the Christ Child. Kourambiedes are served in the Greek community not only at Christmas, but also christenings, weddings, name days — in fact, at all festive occasions.
- Portion size 36 servings
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup blanched almond finely chopped
- whole cloves or cassia buds
- icing sugar
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolk and brandy. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt ; stir into batter. Stir in nuts.
Shape dough into flat square, about 8 inches (20 cm). Wrap and chill for 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.
To form cookies, cut dough into quarters, then cut each section into nine equal cubes. Shape into slightly flat-ended balls, crescents or ovals. Insert a clove or cassia bud into the centre of each cookie. Arrange on greased baking sheets and bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
Let cool on racks. Sprinkle generously with icing sugar and store in airtight container(s). To serve, arrange in pyramid on serving plate, dusting each layer with additional icing sugar.