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Get a Grandma’s Web-Only Family Thanksgiving Recipe for Greek Cookies

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Mo Rocca with George and Kathy Boulukos

I consider Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays, and I love to prepare the traditional foods of America — with a few twists. For example, I always stuff a huge turkey, but I use a very traditional Greek chopped-meat stuffing, which includes chestnuts and raisins (but no breadcrumbs!).

Since I am a huge dessert lover, I always include one special cookie from my family archives to serve. It is an old Greek family cookie recipe from my mother called Pastules. The cookies seem to hit the spot, since they’re small butter-type cookies and the perfect ending to a big meal. I make them year-round.

Quite simple to make, Pastules are basically butter cookies with a few changes, namely that you dip the rolled balls of raw cookie dough into beaten egg whites, then into a chopped-almond mixture. You then place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and make a small indentation in the center of each cookie. Once the cookies have baked and cooled, you sprinkle them with powdered sugar and add a tiny dollop of jam in the center. I try to use fig preserves, as fig preserves are very popular in Greek cuisine. However, other jam will suffice, so I sometimes use orange preserves.

These cookies can be prepared a week ahead and stored in an airtight container.  Since they’re so easy to make (form little balls, dip in egg white, then roll in nuts), if my grandchildren are around, they like to help make them.

Recipe courtesy Kathy Boulukkos

Yield: 40 to 45 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups), at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
12 ounces shelled almonds, chopped
Confectioners’ sugar, for dipping
l cup fig or orange marmalade

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the baking powder, then the egg yolks one at a time. When the yolks are blended, add the flour one cup at a time, blending to form a soft dough.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy but not stiff.

Shape the dough into flattened balls l inch in diameter. Dip each cookie into the beaten egg whites and then roll in the chopped almonds. Make a groove in the center of each cookie and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, about l inch apart.  Bake until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool on the sheet, then dip in confectioners’ sugar. Place 1/4 teaspoon of preserves in the center of each cookie. Store in an airtight container.

Watch My Grandmother’s Ravioli every Wednesday at 8pm ET for more treasured family recipes.


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