Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kourabiedes! (Christmas Baking, part I)

So I've been student teaching at a middle school where I teach social studies to sixth and eight graders. I've been talking to the sixth graders about holidays around the world at Christmas time - first in a general sense (Christmas, but also Hannukah, Eid al-Adha, Diwali, and Bodhi day because that was the only winter Buddhist holiday I could find!). Then we narrowed our focus on Christmas around the world - Sweden, France, India, Brasil, etc. And I promised them that I'd make them some Greek Christmas cookies. Well...I came through!

Since I wanted to make enough for everybody (there are 22 students, plus I know the 16 kids in my homeroom class would want some...and I'd like to give some to the English-language grade 6 my fellow teachers will want some...) so I needed a larger-volume recipe than the one I have in a recipe book, so I used one that Maria V. used in a post of her own, from Stephie's "Can You Cook" blog. This used imperial measurements (easier for me than metric, even though we officially adopted the metric system before I was born!), was double the volume of my usual recipe, was nut-optional and didn't include any alcohol (many recipes call for brandy or other liquors). I had to run to the store to buy orange juice (!), but it all worked out in the end...hours later!

I made one or two tweaks to the recipe - I can't have any nuts in the recipe because we have students with nut allergies at school, so instead of the almond extract that Stephie suggests, I added vanilla extract...I think it worked.


2c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1/3 c. orange juice
1 tsp. baking powder
4 1/2 c. flour, sifted.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cream butter till fluffy, add sugar and beat well. Add wet ingredients and mix.Combine flour & baking powder, sift and add to wet ingredients. Mix by hand, form into flattened crescents. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then place on a plate with a layer of icing sugar and dust each cookie. Enjoy!