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It all starts with cognac and buttery fragrance when you whip the butter and sugar together...

Then comes the rosewater sizzling over hot, crumbly, fresh-baked cookies, filling the whole house with sweet aroma...

This is a traditional, old-fashioned, rich recipe.

Firstly, you will probably panic at the amount of butter needed; well, keep in mind that this recipe makes 100 pieces and it's put together for big, loud, Greek families. 
Back in the day, you'd take Kourabiedes to friends' homes as a seasonal gift. Not to forget that people used to pop in to see you and wish you Merry Christmas unannounced, so you needed something luxurious and yummy handy.

Then there is the old fashioned measuring system: saucers! 
They usually mean the saucer that came with their coffee cup. If you feel you can't swing 100 cookies then just half the amounts and the recipe works perfectly!

Ingredients (make 100 pieces):
- 1kg butter (I use half salted & half unsalted)
- 250gr roasted and chopped almonds
- 1.2kg all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 saucer of caster sugar
- 1 saucer of fine semolina
- Splash of Cognac or Brandy
- 1kg icing sugar
- Rosewater 

Leave the butter out for a couple of hours beforehand, to soften. If you are using unsalted butter only, then add a pinch of salt. It helps bring out the flavour of the butter and the rosewater. 

Whisk together the butter, baking powder, sugar, semolina and Cognac. 

In a separate bowl mix the flour and chopped almonds and combine with the butter mixture until you have a glossy, soft cookie dough texture. If the mixture is getting too warm making the individual cookies will prove tricky, so pop the mixture in the fridge between batches for 10 minutes. 

Line a baking tray with baking paper, no need to butter it. 

Using your hands, make small round balls and press them down slightly to make round cookies about 2 inches in diameter and 1.5 inch high. Place them on the baking tray. 
They will expand quite a bit, make sure you give them enough thickness to start with. You need to be able to take a good bite into the crumbly-buttery texture. 

Bake in a 200C oven for 20-25 minutes. Watch them closely, they cannot go darker than golden. 

While the first batch is in the oven, dust a clean baking tray (or a flat surface lined with baking paper) with icing sugar. You will lay all your Kourabiedes here to cool down so make sure you have enough space. 

As soon as Kourabiedes are out of the oven, sprinkle with rosewater - they sizzle and release the most intoxicating fragrance! If you have rosewater essence, you might want to dilute it in a couple of tablespoons of water. We are after a hint of the rosewater scent, not overpowering intensity. 

Carefully, using a spatula, lay each of them on the baking tray with the icing sugar. 
Put some more icing sugar in a small hand-held sieve and dust generously over the Kourabiedes. 

Let them cool down for a while and try restraining yourself from finishing them all off, before Christmas! 
When I make them, my mother always reminds me that I have to guard them overnight, so that my husband won't finish them off! x    

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