Κουραμπιέδες — or Kourabiedes — are shortbread, or more literally, sugared buns. They are delicious, and not at all unlike polvorones (remember them?). Baked for festive occasions, they are a quintessentially-Greek, year-round, any-special-occasion cookie, according to Sharon Tyler Herbst. And there are many versions: some with almonds, some with walnuts, some with no nuts at all. I baked these loaded with toasted ground walnuts.
Ms. Herbst also states that at Christmas-time it is traditional to stud each cookie top with a whole clove “to symbolize the rare spices brought to Christ by the Magi.” Too curious for my own good, I had to give that a try despite Christmas and Three Kings Day being a little ways off yet. No worries! A good portion of this batch is squirreled away in the freezer. The cloves infuse the whole cookie with their spiciness. However, we learned that we would rather remove them before eating the cookies. They can be a little woody in texture.
Kourabiedes has its own Wikipedia entry. And look! The polvorón is there too.