Special Christmas biscuits
It’s that time of year for us when we ensure we allow a little extra time for baking favourite recipes for the family. We always bake traditional Cypriot treats alongside our favourite English treats to indulge in over the holiday season. Since I was a child I always loved helping my Grandmother bake these biscuits the week before Christmas. My Grandmother is a real perfectionist and will re-shape every biscuit I make as I put them on the tray and we will usually laugh about how she thinks I make them too big or too small but I still love spending the morning with her and making them. All these years I had assumed her Mother had taught her to make these biscuits, but today I discovered it was actually her teacher’s wife in the village when she was a child who took the time to teach her to bake these. Kourabiedes are a Greek butter biscuit similar to shortbread but include almonds in the mixture and taste lighter (in my opinion). We make these biscuits for special occasions so you will often find them at weddings, baptisms and of course at Christmas.
Hopefully you’ll feel inspired to bake some.
1 ½ packets vegetable fat (we use Trex-the 500g packets)
½ coffee cup-Sunflower oil
2 tablespoons -icing sugar
¼ coffee cup-brandy
¼ coffee cup-rose water
1 ½ teacup-roasted and chopped up almonds
4-5 teacup-plain flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon-vanilla sugar
(optional ¼ teaspoon mastic-added to the flour if you like the flavour)
*Extra vanilla sugar and icing sugar for dusting
*This recipe will make approximately 40 biscuits.
Beat the butter, sugar, oil, brandy and rose water together in a mixer.
Slowly add the flour. When you have added half the quantity of flour stop the mixer and add the chopped almonds. At this point, stop using the mixer and begin to mix the dough by hand adding the rest of the flour until a nice soft dough forms.
Now you roll the biscuit shapes (we create circular and ‘s’ shaped biscuits. Place the biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking paper (do not place too close together). Bake for 30 minutes on a pre-heated oven (170°)
Leave to cool down on a tray with grease proof paper (do not attempt to lift them off when hot as they may crumble).
Once cooled completely you can lightly spray the biscuits with rose water (we use a little hand pump that we add rose water too for ease). Then mix in a little vanilla sugar with icing sugar and dust the biscuits completely.
Store in an airtight container.