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!


  1. One of the typical Greek Christmas cookies, but good for all year round.
    Very beautiful presentation, on a dish, with the Greek "Maiandros", as decor!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
    Best regards from Thessaloniki.

  2. they look great - i am debating whether to make some or just buy them - my family eats them too slowly

  3. Dyspistos: Thanks! The plate is from a Greek coffee cup set I bought in Athens. The students will be getting them in pastel-coloured muffin cups though, to prevent a big mess!

    Maria: They're not my favourite, melomakarona are, but I figured they'd be easier to put together (and powdered sugar is one thing, but sticky syrup and school books is quite another!). I'm sure boughten cookies would be just fine though (I don't have the luxury here!)

  4. answerring your comment: electric ofcourse, standard stuff haha. ;) My mother likes her shows so I usually sit with her watching it.

    would be nice to see you trying one of her recipes :D


  5. Your students are so lucky to have a lovely teacher like you. It's so nice that you cook for your students. And it's so surprising that the spelling of cookies is so similar to Turkish. We call it 'kurabiye'. The one in the picture looks so tempting. It would be great with a cup of tea right now (it's snowing here).

  6. These cookies look great; we have similar cookies in our cuisine which are dipped in syrup and taste of anise and mahlab.