Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Almond Biscuits AKA Kourabiethes
My father is Greek so there has never been a shortage of these delicious melt in the mouth biscuits. Or any Greek sweets for that matter :)
Everyone has different techniques and ways of making these moreish little biscuits. The basic concept though is lots and lots of butter, so they are very short and crumbly. And burnt butter. 'Burning' the butter gives it a depth and almost coffee like flavour. And the other key ingredient is lots and lots of icing sugar. They are literally taken from the oven and while warm dumped into a vat of icing sugar and coated thickly. As most people know, I don't like to use too much sugar. I think a nice little dusting of icing sugar is enough. But I know a lot of purist will say 'these are not kourabiethes,' not unless they have that thick coating of, go everywhere icing sugar. It must end up all over your face, clothes and hands!
My MIL, is also Greek and makes the best Greek biscuits and pastries. I am forever trying to recreate her biscuits. Her little nimble fingers can work dough of any description, into an exquisite melt in your mouth little piece of heaven. Perfect with a cuppa in the afternoon for the girls to gather round the kitchen table and gossip all afternoon....
This is my take on Kourabiethes.
125 grams butter
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup almond meal
icing sugar for dusting.
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Place the butter in a saucepan and cook it on the stove, till nut brown, watch it carefully as not to burn it. This take about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool completely and firm up a little. You can even put it in the fridge for a little, maybe 10 minutes?
Beat the icing sugar, brandy, vanilla and the butter until it becomes fluffy and light. Then add the flour and almond meal. It will resemble a bit of a breadcrumb mixture. That is perfect. It will still come together.
You can also add toasted slivered almonds to the mix at this stage.
Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and shape it to form a ball. Place them on a baking tray lined with paper. Flatten slightly. You can also shape them into the more traditional crescent shape, but I find this difficult or fussy to do :)
Brush with a little beaten egg and press in sliced almonds. Bake for 20 minutes. Dust with icing sugar while still warm.
I only dust lightly with icing sugar, but usually they are very generously coated, not dusted, in icing sugar.