Almond Kourambiethes – Shortbread. Κουραμπιέδες.

A sugar powder coated shortbread inspired from Greece. There are many variations, this take on the Greek favourite certainly won’t disappoint.  It’s heavy dusting of icing sugar to form distinctive mountain peaks, a nutty, buttery texture also lightly laced with Brandy or ouzo is certainly an occasion biscuit.

You can make them crescent-shaped, triangle, square or ball shaped. In this case cookie cutters are used to make hearts, daisies and moon shapes. This is not traditional but this blog is certainly not about strictly keeping tradition but rather adding your own touch to a recipe and making it your own.  These shortbreads are also brushed after they’ve been cooked with cognac or brandy. If you don’t like this a little orange juice this will do the trick.  The icing will stick better to the biscuit as well.

Dry roast your raw almonds, in the oven. It’s best to do this at a low to moderate temperature. After they are cooled, crush with a mortar and pestle.  If you use a blender they will be blended to dust which is not really what you want in this case. The shortbread is buttery and falls apart in your mouth exactly as a shortbread should be.

A light flavoured olive oil is recommended. A robust deeply coloured olive oil is not appropriate. Crisco is a good alternative.

The egg , egg yolk, alcohol and lemon juice help to stop the shortbread from being too crumbly. The right quantity of oil ,  egg and juice mixture and butter balance each other out for the correct texture.

Makes: 50 biscuits depending on size of cookie

Ingredients

1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup light pure olive oil

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk – room temp

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons lemon juice ( don’t omit juice is responsible for the texture )

4 cups plain flour sifted twice

1/4 cup of a cup ouzo or brandy

1/4 cup ouzo, brandy or equal parts vanilla essence and ouzo for basting afterwards with a brush before icing

1 cup chopped dry roasted almonds

2-6 tbspn water room temp

1/4 cup icing to dust

Method

Before you start it should be noted the consistency of the butter is imperative to your end result.

The butter needs to be at room temperature. It should keep it’s form and be soft to very soft when touched.  If it’s winter and your room is cold place the butter somewhere warm. If it’s summer and the room is hot leave it in a Shady call a spot to cool for the morning.

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

2. Gradually add the olive oil while your beating the mix.

3. Add the  eggs  and beat for a minute.

3. Sift the remainder of your dry ingredients together.

4.  Add the rest of your ingredients and stir through with a spoon.

4. At this stage use your hands and form a large ball. If the dough crumbles,  gradually add a little bit of water it needs to be one tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too sticky, then add a little dusting of plain flour – 1 of tablespoon at a time. Mix with hands, try to form a large ball of dough.  If it holds it’s shape without being tight  it is the right consistency.

5. Dust your dry surface with flour lightly. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough thickly. Use cookie cutters. You can make crescent shaped cookies with your hands in this case you don’t need the rolling pin it just grab a tablespoon and a half at a time roll with your hands a ball and then shape a crescent.

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6. Bake in 170 degrees Celsius oven for 20-22 minutes or until your cookie has formed a light Golden Glow on the top and the base of the cookie has a nice golden colour as well. The base is a good indicator to the readiness.

7.Remove from oven and allowed to cool for 5 minutes.

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8. Brush on the additional alcohol.

9.  Dust with icing sugar.

My biscuits are only dusted on top. This gives them a dimensional effect and are much more interesting.

9. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea seal in an airtight container. Store in a cool dry place as they will absorb moisture. These cookies are perfect as they do keep well if stored properly.

 

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