Kourambiethes (Greek Christmas butter cookies with almonds)

Kourambiethes are Greek cookies with a delicious toasted almond crunch and coated in lots of icing sugar.

Vasso traditionally makes these cookies every Christmas, but in Greece you may also find them at other big celebrations.

They are easy to make and crumble in your mouth so it is hard to resist another. Growing up, Eva would secretly swipe an extra cookie when Vasso wasn’t looking, but Vasso always found out because of the telltale trail of icing sugar Eva left behind her!

Our own children are a bit more savvy and remember to swipe a plate too.


Recipe

Makes 40-50

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Grilling time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

100g whole blanched almonds, toasted and chopped

30ml Ouzo (or brandy if no ouzo available)

250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

40g icing sugar, sifted for the biscuits

+ 160g icing sugar, sifted for dusting, or more if you like!

1 large egg yolk

360g self raising flour, sifted

1 heaped tsp baking powder

 

Method

Under a medium grill, toast the almonds for approx. 10 minutes until nicely browned. Turn half way through. Allow to cool and then chop the almonds. Vasso uses a pestle and mortar and Eva places the almonds in a plastic bag & smashes them with a large metal spoon! Set to one side.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Place the Ouzo, butter, 40g sifted icing sugar and egg yolk into a mixing bowl and whip using an electric hand whisk or food processor, until light and creamy.

Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add half the flour to the mixing bowl and knead well. Continue to add a handful of flour to the bowl and knead well.

Add the chopped almonds and mix well.

Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Take some dough, the size of a walnut and form into a small ball. Flatten into round discs or crescents. Line your trays, leaving at least 2cm between each cookie.

Place the trays in the oven and bake until nicely browned. After about 10 minutes, you may wish to swap trays and turn them around so they are evenly cooked.

Sift the 160g of icing sugar onto a large plate or tray.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Place the cookies in your plate/tray of icing sugar and roll over so they are covered with icing sugar. (The cookies must be at least slightly warm so the sugar sticks to it). Place your cookies on your serving plate and then dust your cookies with as much icing sugar as you like!

Vasso’s tip: Every oven is different! So keep an eye on your cookies whilst baking, but these cookies should take about 15 minutes.

Vasso’s tip: If you don’t have blanched almonds, you can easily skin them yourself. Take your whole raw almonds and boil for 1 minute. Drain, cool with cold water and then gently squeeze each almond out of its skin.


Thank you for all your support in 2016 – it has been a whirlwind of a year and we could not have done it without you!

With very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year. 

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