These melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies are a Greek Christmas tradition. They are found in every greek home during the holidays and they are so delicious, I’m tempted to bake them all year round. I usually make a huge batch and give to all our friends and family. They are buttery, tender pieces of heaven, filled with roasted almonds and dusted with icing sugar. Some people stick a clove in the centre of each cookie, some brush with rosewater or brandy, but I prefer to leave them plain with a generous dusting of icing sugar.
- 1 ½ cups unblanched, unsalted almonds (you can, of course, use blanched almonds, but I find almonds have a better flavour when roasted with their skin)
- 450 g unsalted butter
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- about 2 cups icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 175 C. Put almonds on a baking tray. Bake for 8 minutes until roasted and fragrant. Coarsely grate, in a food processor, fitted with a metal blade.
In a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat butter very well until soft. Add the icing sugar and beat for 10 minutes until mixture is fluffy and very pale. The longer you beat butter and sugar the fluffier the cookies.
Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture together with the almonds. Mix on low speed until you have a soft dough.
Using your palms make small ball shaped cookies. Put cookies on several baking sheets, lined with baking paper. Bake cookies for 18 minutes until they are lightly colored. Do not over bake.
Leave cookies to cool for 10 minutes, then dust generously with icing sugar.