Kourabiedes (Greek almond biscuits)

Kourabiedes (Greek almond biscuits)
  • Serves icon Makes about 34
  • Time icon Hands-on time 35 min, oven time 20 min

Maria Elia’s melt-in-the-mouth biscuit recipe hails back to the Greek patisseries of her childhood.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
20kcals
Fat
8g (4g saturated)
Protein
1.8g
Carbohydrates
10g (3.1g sugars)
Fibre
0.4g
Calories
20kcals
Fat
8g (4g saturated)
Protein
1.8g
Carbohydrates
10g (3.1g sugars)
Fibre
0.4g

Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted, plus about 200g extra for dusting
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 1 large free-range egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp ouzo or brandy
  • 300g plain flour, sifted with ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1–2 tbsp good quality orange flower water or rosewater (Maria uses a less intense Middle Eastern brand such as Cortas, but if you can’t find that use less)

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the 100g sifted icing sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy (it will take at least 10-12 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, scatter the almonds in an oven tray and roast until lightly golden (3-4 minutes). Set aside to cool a little, then finely chop.
  3. Slowly add the egg yolk and ouzo or brandy to the butter mixture, beating until combined. Gradually add the flour-baking powder mixture and nuts and combine to form a dough. You may have to gently knead in the last of the flour by hand.
  4. Lightly flour your hands. Roll walnut-size pieces of the dough into balls, then into 5cm lengths and form into crescents (or see tips). Spread the biscuits over 2-3 baking paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
  5. Transfer the baked biscuits to a cooling rack and, while still warm, sprinkle lightly with orange flower water or rosewater. Dust with icing sugar, then leave to cool completely before adding a final generous dusting of icing sugar.

delicious. tips

  1. The crescent shape is traditional but the dough can be rolled out to 1cm thick and cut into shapes with a pastry cutter if you prefer. They need to be bite-size, though, as they’re pretty messy to eat.
    You can experiment by adding various flavour combinations in step 3. Try finely chopped fresh rosemary and grated orange zest; a pinch of ground cardamom or ginger; crushed fennel seeds or finely chopped white chocolate chips and a drizzle of rosewater; chopped almonds and walnuts; or a pinch of ground cinnamon with brandy instead of ouzo.

  2. You can make the dough up to 48 hours in advance. Wrap in cling film and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Bring up to room temperature a few hours before baking. The finished biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  3. It’s traditional to stud each crescent with a clove before baking – it recalls the spices given by the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus, but it’s not nice if you forget to remove the clove before taking a bite! Nowadays most people leave them out of the recipe.

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