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Kourabiedes, Greek Christmas biscuits

A recipe by

Kourabiedes are light, crumbly melt-in-the-mouth biscuits traditionally eaten in Greece over Christmas and the New Year holidays.  They are similar to Russian teacakes or shortbread with a few special additions such as roasted almonds, nutmeg and cognac to make them Christmas special!  There is very little sugar in the kourabiedes dough. It’s all kept for later. Once you bake them and let them cool down, you roll kourabiedes in icing sugar which makes them look like small snowballs! 

Ingredients

  • 600g soft flour
  • 500g butter at room temperature
  • 300g almonds
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 125ml mastic liqueur or cognac
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Rose water or orange flower water

Instructions

  1. Place the butter and caster sugar in a mixer and mix well.
  2. Meanwhile, place the almonds on a baking tray and roast in a pre-heated oven at 180oC. It will take 8 to 10 minutes for them to turn a golden colour. Allow to cool slightly then coarsley chop in to chunky pieces.
  3. Once the butter and sugar mix is fluffy, add the egg yolks one by one. Then add the nutmeg and mastic liqueur or cognac.
  4. Remove the batter from the mixer and spoon into a bowl. Slowly add the sieved flour until it is all incorporated. The finsihed dough will have a crumbly texture.
  5. Add the roasted almonds then shape the dough into small walnut sized balls.
  6. Preheat your oven to 170oC
  7. Place the kourabiedes onto a baking tray lined with parchment or greaseproof paper and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are a golden colour
  8. Spray or brush the warm biscuits with rose water or orange flower water then dredge them with icing sugar. Alternatively you could roll each biscuit in icing sugar if you prefer.
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