During the holidays, baking cookies together is a great way to create warm, family memories to cherish for a lifetime. It can also help speed up the process if you divide up the tasks among the helpers. The following recipe for Greek-American Ginger Spice Cookies is a variation on the classic gingersnap cookie and will fill your kitchen with the warm aroma of the season’s spices, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
Kourambiedes are a traditional Greek favorite this time of year. From Thanksgiving through Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany, there are plenty of holidays to bake up some of these special treats for your loved ones. Be warned, the confectioners’ sugar will get everywhere, but the resulting cookies are worth the effort.
Greek-American Ginger Spice Cookies
2 1/4 cups Zea flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Vermont maple syrup
2 tablespoons Greek honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of Greek sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Sugar, as needed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together about half of the flour, the brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, honey, orange juice, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Stir in the remaining flour. Shape the dough into one-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through the baking time, until set and lightly golden brown around the edges. Cool cookies on a wire rack completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.
2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped, toasted and set aside to cool
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
Ouzo for sprinkling (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar for coating
Beat the butter with the 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Add 2 cups of the flour, the vanilla and the almonds and mix together. Add the rest of the flour, or as much as needed for the dough to form and not stick to your fingers, though not more than five cups. Do not overwork the dough or add too much flour, or you’ll end up with tough cookies. Form half-moon shapes and place on cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until lightly golden.
Meanwhile, sprinkle a large piece of waxed paper with a generous amount of sifted confectioners’ sugar. When the cookies are done, remove them from the cookie sheet and immediately place them on the waxed paper covered with confectioners’ sugar. If using the ouzo, sprinkle the cookies at this point and then sift confectioners’ sugar on top to coat the cookies completely. Once cooled, place the kourambiedes on a platter or store them in an airtight container. Makes about 50-60 kourambiedes.