Sunday, 6 January 2008

Kourabiedes (Greek shortbread biscuits)

Now this is going to sound dreadfully pretentious and I apologise, but sometimes the truth is a bit pretentious. I first came across these biscuits in a Greek cafe in Nassau, Bahamas. The chef was only able to write the name down using the Greek alphabet. Luckily, my colleague Alan (the poet – remember?) was able to apply his Physics degree knowledge to translating this into English letters. I then had something workable to Google in order to track down the recipe. One bite convinced me they were worth all the effort!
If you’re ever in that neck of the woods I can heartily recommend the grilled Snapper:

Here endeth the pretentious bit.

Technically these little biscuits are classified as dessert but I don’t see the need to be inconvenienced by limiting them to a post-prandial time slot. They are closest to a shortbread biscuit but that’s not really a good description. Using icing sugar always makes a biscuit deliciously soft and refined in texture. The addition of ground almonds makes them moist and the dash of brandy adds a depth of flavour – you wouldn’t honestly know that it was brandy, they don’t taste alcoholic, but you know there’s something extra there.

Here they are fresh from the oven – don’t overcook them as you’ll lose the crumbly softness:

I think they benefit from a light dusting of icing sugar. They look ever so pretty:

Here they are in the tin ready to be taken visiting (and meet their doom but they don't know that yet!):

Crumbly and moist, as all the best biscuits should be, these are also very quick to make. I think it’s traditional that they are crescent shaped – and why not?

250g unsalted butter
80g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brandy (you could omit this but add more vanilla to replace the liquid)
1 egg yolk
375g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g ground almond
Sifted icing sugar for dusting

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Grease or line two baking sheets. This volume will make between 30-40 biscuits.
- Beat the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla, brandy and egg, then beat until combined.
- Fold in the flour, baking powder and almonds. Only fold until you sense the mix is about to come together into a dough.
- Take tablespoons of the mix and roll in your hands until you have made a fat sausage. Curve it slightly into a crescent and place on the baking sheet. The biscuits expand a little but not greatly so you can put them quite close.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Traditionally the biscuits are dusted with icing sugar before serving.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

A very enticing nice recipe, will try it.
Made powerpuff girls have a look

Archana said...

It looks great and the recipe has good and basic ingredients which i can make right away. My kids will love this. Makes it healthy with almonds as well. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

When ever I have made any Greek or Italien baked goods they have had the texture and often the taste of dry dust. Well done.

I have put you here No need to link back.

Take care

Trekkie said...

You think they look crescent shaped,but I looked and saw love hearts.

jen said...

Nothing pretentious about it - just cracking detective work! Ending with some delicious-looking cookies :-)

lee said...

I have a similar recipe for Greek shortbread but they are dipped or sprinkled with rose water or orange flower water before being rolled in icing sugar