Enjoy this 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 resemble snow-capped mountain peaks, the crushed almonds make them delicately earthy, with a buttery but not too crumbly texture.
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. Using cookie cutters to shape the kourambiethes is not traditional but this blog is certainly not about strictly keeping the tradition but rather adding your own touch to a recipe and making it your own, while still keeping the elements of what makes this shortbread special.
After baking and whilst still a little bit warm, brush with cognac or brandy. I do start icing when they are still a little bit warm, as this helps the icing sugar stick to the biscuit. I let them sit for a little and when totally cooled dust them further, for a second time.
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.
Kourambiethes, do not have many ingredients but the quality of the butter, and how it is handled when making will determine your end result, which should be a buttery not too crumbly shortbread.
Makes: 30 biscuits depending on the size of the cookie.
I have used heart-shaped cookie cutters in this picture, but you can shape them any way you like.
The end result is absolutely stunning. You can see why Greeks serve these during Christmas and Easter as they are feel very festive.
My biscuits are only dusted on top, this is a personal preference. Traditionally, the icing sugar is dusted and rubbed on all surfaces, including the sides.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea and always store in an airtight container. ‘κουραμπιεδες’ if not sealed well, tend to love moisture and will absorb it.
What I do like about these cookies though, you can make a large batch, store them well and they will keep for at least two weeks.
- 1 cup, 250g unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1/2 cup crushed dry roasted almonds
- 2 1/4 cups plain flour
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups icing sugar for dusting
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Melt butter and allow to simmer for 1/2 minute. Allow the bubbles to subside and the colour of the butter is golden brown ( but not burnt).
- Sift flour and baking powder twice. Mix through rice flour.
- Allow the butter to solidify.
- Add the 3 tablespoons of icing sugar and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolk, lemon rind and brandy and beat well.
- Stir in crushed almonds, lemon juice, and mix the flour and baking powder lightly into butter mixture.
- Roll the dough using a rolling pin. I don't like to roll my dough to thinly. Approximately 2 cm thick, will work.
- The dough will expand a little during baking so when cutting into shapes, use cookie cutters that are slighly smaller than the end result size of the cookie.
- Use cookie cutters that are star, crescent moons, hearts or flower shaped.
- If you don't have cookie cutters, break off small pieces shape into crescents, or simply roll into balls.
- Bake in moderately slow oven ( 160 degree Celsius ) for 20 minutes until lightly coloured, but not brown.
- Leave to cool on tray for 5 minutes dust a little icing sugar on all surfaces and leave to cool completely for 30 minutes. Dust with remainder of icing sugar.
- Place in a container, seal and store for a 2 - 5 days before consuming.
Use dry roasted almonds.
Melting and lightly browning the butter gives a wholesome flavour but can be omitted It also removes any added water from the butter.
Use pure icing sugar for this recipe. Sometimes, readers have used icing sugar mixture and the results have varied.
Icing sugar mixture contains corn flour and icing sugar, which will change the texture of your dough.
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