It's time I came clean about something. I have a raging sweet tooth. I love sweets. I know it's not cool to admit, and I'm still at the age where I should be all “green juice! Kale! Juice cleanse! Acai! Quinoa!” but let's be real: I've never been that cool and I really like desserts. In a pinch, I've been known to eat cake for breakfast if I'm really hungry (read: if it's in the house) and I'm tired of being embarrassed because I think frosting should be a main food group.
Working my way through Eleanor's box of recipes, it's clear I come by this passion legitimately. Half of her recipes are for sweets, and I'm going to try them ALL. Today's cookies are labelled “Greek” “Kourabiedes” on the recipe card (quotation marks in the original). I thought the superfluous punctuation marks were just because Patty, a friend who apparently wrote down the recipe for Eleanor, didn't understand basic grammar, but then I looked up Kourabiedes and found that their trademark is that they are always made with nut flour. As these have no nuts, I guess they really are ersatz “Kourabiedes” instead of authentic ones after all.
5 Spoons out of five. These are delicious, easy, and fast (though a bit messy) and we highly recommend them. I sent most of the batch to work with my husband and they were gone in 20 minutes. Bake yourself some!
Brandy Butter Cookies
8 oz unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp confectioners sugar, plus significantly more for dusting/rolling (icing sugar if you are in the UK)
1 egg yolk
2 ½ cups sifted flour, approximately
1 jigger brandy (approximately a shot)
Clarify the butter: bring it just to a boil, then skim off the white bits that float to the top, pour the remainder through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve and let the clarified butter cool and re-solidify.
Preheat oven to 350F/177C.
Cream the clarified butter until light and fluffy.
Beat in sugar, then yolk, then brandy mixing well after each addition.
Gradually work in sifted flour to make a soft dough that pulls away from the beaters-- note that you may not need all the flour (I only used a scant two cups and my cookies had a crumbly, shortbread-like texture. Basically you want the dough moldable but not sticky.).
Shape dough into u-shapes or crescents, one spoonful at a time by rolling them into a cylinder between your palms and then wrapping the cylinder gently around your thumb. Work quickly to avoid the dough getting too soft.*
Bake 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet for 20 minutes until just barely browned at the edges.
While cookies are baking, sift additional confectioners sugar onto wax or parchment paper.
As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, place them onto sifted powdered sugar while still hot. Sift additional powdered sugar over cookies and let cool.
*Crescents are nonsense and if you're in a hurry and you aren't taking these to a Greek wedding, you could just bake them as balls, since I'm sure they'd taste exactly the same. The powdered sugar does cling nicely to the curves of the crescents, though, so if you have the time it's worth the extra effort.
Makes approximately 30 cookies, depending on size and shape.