These Greek little balls of heaven are a Christmas special. My husband who is half Greek makes them every year. In the bakeries of Greece, the Kourabiethes are piled up high and deep and look like a mound of little snowballs. My trusty, old-school Greek cookbook reads, “Kourabiethes are the national cookies of the Greeks for Christmas and New Year’s Day.”

These are not unlike other powdered sugar covered cookies you find at the holidays like Mexican wedding cookies. However, this version has a Gerogiannis family twist added to it. My in-laws brush the cookies with orange flower water or rose water before covering with the sugar which gives them a wonderful light fragrance that you catch a whiff of just before biting.

Kourabiethes – Greek Butter Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 egg yolk
1 T brandy
2 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
orange flower or rose water (optional)
1/2 cup almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and 1 cup sugar until very light and fluffy. stir in egg yolk and brandy. Mix sifted flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Mix in the flour and baking powder a little at a time until dough no longer sticks to your fingers. If you are adding the almonds, chop them up into fine pieces.  Mix them in while mixing in flour, accommodating for the extra ingredient and not letting the cookies get too dry.  Knead well until dough is smooth and can easily be rolled into balls. Take small pieces of dough and shape into balls or small crescents. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet or on a lightly greased sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until very light brown. While still warm, brush very lightly with orange flower or rose water. Roll in confectioner’s sugar and set on a tray or plate. Use the remaining sugar to sift over top until well covered.