It’s time for the next Baking Partners Challenge!
This month’s theme is World Cookies.
We all know how much I love cookies, so I was excited for this challenge. We had the option to make Dutch Speculaas (which was obviously enticing for me because they are my favourite cookie), Italian biscotti, Chinese almond cookies, or Greek kourabiethes. I decided on the kourabiethes for the simple reason that I had all the ingredients on hand.
What are a Kourabiethes?
Kourabiethes, Koo-rahb-YEH-thes, are traditional Greek shortbread cookies made with toasted almonds. They may have been imports from the Middle East because of their similarity to Iranian Qurabiya or because their crescent shape, which is said to date back to the Turkish occupation to represent the Turkish flag.
They are an integral part of important celebrations like Christmas, Easter, and weddings because they traditionally required serious effort; the butter and sugar would have been beaten together manually for over an hour!
I made these for my birthday this year and shared them with the yoga class that I taught in the park in the middle of a downpour (but luckily under a pavilion).
The miracles of modern technology (ie. mixers) mean these cookies are really easy to make. They’re tasty in a subtle way that’s not too indulgent but satisfies the sweet tooth. They went quickly in our house (though not as quickly as the ANZAC biscuits which I made at the same time). I certainly ate a lot of them.
I need to invest in multiple shiny metal baking sheets. I always run into the problem that when I use a shiny metal sheet my cookies come out perfect and when I use a dark metal sheet for the same time and temperature the cookies come out slightly burnt. The baking sheet makes a difference you guys!
The recipe I worked with was flavoured with orange zest which doesn’t seem to be a very common flavour for kourabiethes. With a little googling I found most recipes used brandy for flavour and a few recipes listed rose or orange blossom water as an ingredient. I’d be interested to try them with brandy next time.
250g butter, softened
2 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 orange, rind finely grated
1 egg, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 shiny metal baking trays with parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer beat the butter, 1 cup icing sugar, vanilla, and orange rind until pale and creamy. Add egg and beat until well combined. Sift flour and baking powder over mixture. Add almond meal. Stir until dough comes together.
Roll out one tablespoon of dough into an 8cm-long log, and bend to form a crescent shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing each cookie on baking tray, allowing room for spreading.
Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden. Stand for 5 minutes on trays until firm but still warm.
Place the remaining sugar in a bowl. Coat warm biscuits, 1 at a time, in sugar. Place on a wire rack to cool. Sift any remaining icing sugar over biscuits when cool.
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