Kourabiethes (Greek Butter Cookies)

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon brandy OR 1/2 tsp almond extract & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 lb. powdered sugar
Optional: 1/2 cup blanched & finely chopped almonds

Cream together butter and 1 cup sugar until very light and fluffy. Stir in egg yolk and brandy, then add sifted flour and baking powder, a little at a time. If using almonds, add them now.

Knead well until dough is smooth. If it is too soft, add a little flour. Take small pieces of dough and shape into balls, crescents, or into small pears (if you are making pear shapes, insert a clove in the top of each).

Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake in moderate oven, about 20 minutes. While they are still warm, roll the kourabiethes in powdered sugar, then sift sugar on top. They should be very well coated. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

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