Gluten-Free Greek Wedding Cookies: A Favorite Holiday Recipe for Any Special Occasion
Rich, Easy and Elegant Greek Wedding Cookies: Gluten-Free Recipe
These melt-in-your-mouth richer-than- shortbread Greek crescent or snowball shaped Wedding and Holiday cookies or kourambiethes have long been my personal favorite.
However, since I began following a Gluten-Free diet, I was determined to adapt my original recipe to one that was just as good but that I was able to enjoy since going GF.
As I wrote on the regular recipe version of Greek Wedding Cookies, these are not difficult to make, can be frozen without any loss of flavor or texture, and one recipe makes a lot so there is plenty for sharing or giving as gifts. And since I hear that Santa has gone gluten-free, I'm sure he'd appreciate a few of these cookies this Christmas Eve - especially if you shape them into round "snowballs".
The holidays mean busy schedules and a flurry of activity from decorating to shopping. The fact that these cookies can be made Gluten-Free in addition to being melt-in-your-mouth delicious and easy to make makes this a winning recipe in my Gluten-Free cookbook.
You can find the Traditional Version of this Recipe Here.
What You'll Need to Make Gluten-Free Greek Crescent or Snowball Christmas Cookies
In addition to Ingredients Listed Below
Besides the ingredients listed below, you will need some standard kitchen items.
A stand (or heavy-duty hand) mixer is needed. You'll also need cookie sheet tins, jelly roll pans or similarly shallow containers, sifter, measuring cups, a food processor or chopper to grind the almonds, a wooden spoon, apron, pot holders or oven mitts, a sharp knife and a cutting board.
(Chef's hat is optional, but it does add a certain Je ne sais quoi, don't you think?)
Snowball Shaped Greek Wedding Cookies
Gluten Free Ingredients Shopping List for Greek Wedding Cookies
Gluten Free Flour Blend*
Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
1 Box whole cloves (optional)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Serves: Makes about 4 dozen cookies
- 1 pound sweet butter softened to room temperature or 1 1/4 lbs salt butter clarified *
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
- 3 3/4 cups pre-mixed Gluten Free flour blend blended with 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- Flavoring: 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 ounce cognac or whiskey
- Optional: cloves
- 1 box (1 pound) confectioners sugar for finishing
- Beat butter with electric stand mixer (or heavy duty hand mixer) for at least 10 minutes. It should be very light and fluffy.
- While still beating add the 1/4 cup sugar. Once sugar is blended in, and while still beating, add whiskey, orange juice concentrate and egg yolk. Continue beating until it is about the same consistency as mayonnaise.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir flour and cornstarch mixture into the bowl and continue mixing.
- Then knead for 4 minutes, add the ground almonds, and knead another minute being sure the almonds are worked into the dough.
- Dough will probably be too soft to work with. Resist the temptation to add more flour. Just cover and refrigerate the dough for from one or two to as long as 24 hours and it will be ready to use. (In fact, I often will mix the dough for these cookies the day before baking them.)
- TO MAKE CRESCENT SHAPED COOKIES: Roll dough into a long cylinder about 2 inches in diameter. Flatten cylinder slightly into an oval shape. Place log on cutting board and slice log diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet, 1/2 inch apart, bending each slice into a crescent shape with slightly pinched ends as you place it on the sheet.
- TO MAKE ROUND SNOWBALL COOKIES: Scoop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls and roll into balls. You can make these bite sized or a bit larger as you prefer. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart. If desired, you can add a clove in the center of each one. (See photo at top of page.)
- BAKE in preheated 350 degree (farenheit) oven for 25 minutes. If you use a convection oven, set oven to 325 degrees instead.
- While cookies are baking, sift confectioners sugar into a jelly roll pan until the bottom is covered with a thick layer of sugar. When cookies are done, gently transfer them (while still hot) with a spatula to the jelly roll pan, placing them side by side in a single layer. (If cookies are not hot enough, the sugar will not stick and form a coating on the cookies.) Using a sifter, cover top and sides with remaining sugar. Cool cookies thoroughly - I leave them in the sugar for 6 hours, sometimes overnight as they are better after a day or two. They should have a thick coating of sugar.
- Cookies can be frozen by layering in a plastic freezer container with wax paper between layers. They can be frozen for several months if you can resist eating them for that long.
- *TO CLARIFY SALTED BUTTER: Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat watching carefully until it foams. It should take about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let the butter brown. Remove from heat and let it stand. After a couple of minutes the milk curds will settle to the bottom of the pan and the salt crystals will rise to the top. Skim off the crystals from the top and discard. Being careful not to disturb the white milk curds on the bottom of the pan, slowly pour the oil into a pyrex container or small bowl. Skim off any remaining salt crystals and store in refrigerator.
Crescent Shaped Greek Wedding Cookies
Some different Variations on Greek Wedding Cookies Recipes
1. You can substitute walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts or pistachios for the almonds.
2. Instead of cognac or whisky you can use amaretto, brandy, scotch, sambuca or just about any other spirit.
3. Instead of orange juice concentrate, you can use 1 teaspoon of vanilla, almond, orange or lemon extract.
4. Kourambiethes are traditionally made with ouzo and rosewater. The video below will show you that version.
5. Some recipes add ground cloves and/or cinnamon or even coriander. I prefer them without spices, but I've included a video below that will show you how to do that if you wish to. Just make sure whatever you use is gluten free.
6. You can add a whole clove in the center of each cookie before baking as shown in the photo at the top of this page.
Are you baking gluten-free this year?
Making Greek Wedding Cookies for Christmas
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© 2012 Chazz