Kourabiedes are Greek cookies traditionally made with butter and almonds, then sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are served at weddings, and on holidays, and on any other occasion you want. Any time is a good time for a kourabies (grammatically speaking, kourabies is the singular form of the noun, and kourabiedes is the plural). Deviating a bit from tradition, I present you with a version of kourabiedes made with pecans. Pecans are native to south and central North America, therefore they are not used in traditional Greek cooking. However, good cooks like to experiment, and so pecan kourabiedes were created somewhere I imagine in the the southern USA. The recipe was given to me by my mother, who discovered it during one of her annual winter trips to Florida. Where ever my mother goes, you can bet there are recipe swaps happening. One day recently, mom and I made these together. Here is the recipe:
1 lb unsalted butter, left to soften at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups flour (such as King Arthur - make sure the flour is not high gluten)
3 cups chopped pecans
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup Cointreau
more confectioner's powdered sugar, about two cups
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Shift the flour with the baking powder.
- In your processor, beat the butter. The success of the kourabiedes depends on butter that is well beaten and fluffy. So keep beating, about 6 minutes.
- Add the sugar and continue beating for a long time. About three weeks.
- Add the vanilla extract, and keep beating, about another three weeks. Six weeks later...
- Change to the dough hook and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing for two to three minutes until a soft dough is formed.
- Add the pecans, and beat for another minute.
- Form into small round balls as shown in the photograph, and place on baking sheets.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until pale golden. Let cool for ten minutes.
- Sprinkle the cookies with the Cointreau. You can use another type of brandy if you like. I chose Cointreau because I like the orange flavor, and because I usually have it on hand. A good way of sprinkling whatever type of spirit you are going to use, is to pour it in a small spray bottle and then go at it.
- Spread 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar on a large plate. Roll each cookie in the sugar, and place on a rack to cool. Do this with all the cookies, adding more sugar to the plate as necessary. Sift additional sugar on top of the cookies and let rest for 3 to 4 hours. Carefully pack the cookies in cookie boxes, spreading a piece of waxed paper between each layer. They should keep for about two months.