It makes perfect sense to make Greek Wedding Cookies this week to celebrate the opening of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” Some of us, in fact a lot of us, have been waiting seemingly forever for the sequel to this fun movie. The initial flick came out in 2002.
Greek Wedding Cookies, alternately called kourabiedes or kourabiethes in Greek, are rich butter cookies, usually flavored with ground almond though I have seen recipes that call for walnuts. The difference between them and Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican/Polish Wedding Cookies is the shape. You will see them in an oblong football shape or as crescents such as the ones pictured here. Wow. That’s a lot of variation, isn’t it? Oh, and one more, snowballs at Christmas.
I like cookies made with powdered sugar because they are tender and not overly sweet. These cookies come together easily and what I find so amazing is how long they last. Mine were just as good on Day 1 as Day 7, stored in an airtight container. (They were gently stored in a plastic Chinese soup takeout container.) I was surprised. I had forgotten about them in the pantry, went out of town for a couple days, and was pleased when they were still delicious. I have also frozen them with good results.
The Greeks have strong cookie traditions including buttery twists called Koulourakia for Easter and Melomakarona, honey cookies with walnuts, served at Christmas. If you go into Greek bakeries the cookies are piled high in the cases. Oh, and there are cakes, too.
In “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Toula Portokalos, played by Nia Vardolas, says, “There are three things that every Greek woman must do in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone.” With these Greek Wedding Cookies, you can fulfill at least one of these directives.
- 1⁄2 cup ground almonds
- 1 cup sweet butter or 1 cup margarine, softened
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon brandy or 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups powdered sugar
- Spread ground almonds in a shallow pan and toast in a 350F degrees oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
- In a bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add the 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar and egg yolk, mixing well. Stir in brandy or vanilla and almonds.
- In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, blending until smooth.
- Pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and shape into crescents. Place on ungreased baking sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes or until very lightly browned. Place baking sheets on racks and let cookies cool for 5 minutes.
- Sift about half the 1-1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar over wax paper and transfer cookies to it. Sift the remaining ¾ to 1 cup powdered sugar over top to cover cookies. Let stand until cool, then store in a tightly covered container.