Friday, December 21, 2007

A Truly International Cookie!!

Can you tell I'm not working right now?! I have time to post! This is the next cookie in the tin. Some people call them Russian Tea Cakes. Some people call them Mexican Wedding Cakes. Some people call them Snowballs. The recipe I used (from Food Network) calls them Kourabiedes, from Greece. All in all, I guess these are just an international cookie! I ended up making two batches of these so that the recipients of my tins could have more than four cookies. This recipe calls for orange flower water, which I didn't have (surprised?!); so, I used mandarin orange juice that I had in the refrigerator. I think this is a great cookie to make with kids because it involves rolling the dough into balls...anything hands-on, kids love! If you have trouble with the dough sticking to your hands, just sprinkle some water on your hands and all will be clear! I love the sandy texture of these along with the sweet taste lended by the powdered sugar. So, gather round the kitchen counter, call all the family into the kitchen, and make some cookies! Kourabiedes
3/4 cup walnuts (I used pecans)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon brandy (I omitted)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons orange flower water
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toast the nuts until golden brown and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool, then chop about half of the nuts (you should have about 1/2 cup chopped). Pulse the remaining nuts in the food processor until finely ground (about 1/4 cup ground).

Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and nuts together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In your mixer's bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg yolk, brandy (if using), and vanilla extract together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture gets light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. At low speed, stir the nut mixture into the butter mixture to make a crumbly dough. Cover the bowl and set dough aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or coat with nonstick spray. With a tablespoon, scoop out 1-inch pieces of dough and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. Pinch the ends of the balls to make a football shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies set and start to brown, about 16-18 minutes.

Remove cookies from the oven and immediately sprinkle them lightly with the orange water. (If you don't have a brush, simply dip your fingers into the water and flick it over the cookies a few times.) Take care not to douse them, just enough for them to carry the scent of flowers.

Put the confectioners' sugar in a bag, and add 5 to 6 of the warm cookies to it. Very gently toss the cookies to coat with sugar. Remove them from the bag and cool cookies on a rack. Repeat with remaining cookies. Serve.

Busy baker's tips: Dough can be frozen for up to 2 weeks. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Baked cookies can be wrapped in plastic, then aluminum foil, for up to 2 weeks. To serve, let cookies come to room temperature before dusting with confectioners' sugar.


Peabody said...

I'm a Russian Tea Cake caller. Sadly I am not making them this year. With it just being hubby and I am only making sugar cookies...seeing these makes me want to make them.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

These are wonderful cookies! You're right - so much fun to make with kids.

Unknown said...

Peabody - They'd be good for new years!!!!! :-)

Lynn - Since making cookies with my cousin, I can't wait to have a family to make cookies with my own! Until then, I'll use other people's kids!

Anonymous said...

My mom used to make them every year! We called them Russian Tea Cakes, too. I love that weird sensation you get from inhaling the confectioners' sugar right before you take the first bite. (Am I the only one who notices that you kinda "breathe" the stuff?)

Unknown said...

Scarlett - You're not the only one! In fact, the other day when I ate one, I thought "Oh! I better be careful not to breathe in or else I'll choke!" I love the combination of the texture with the makes it TASTE soft!