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-   -   Cypriot Christmas biscuits (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f43/cypriot-christmas-biscuits-29264.html)

Ishbel 11-21-2006 09:30 AM

Cypriot Christmas biscuits
 
When I was a girl, these shortbread style cookies were traditionally baked and served at Christmas time. Nowadays, they are on sale all year round in some of the larger towns on the island. Similar biscuits (cookies) are made all over Greece and the Middle East. This recipe is from a family recipe of one of my schoolfriends.

8 oz unsalted butter
2 oz caster sugar
1 large egg yolk
1-2 tablspoons brandy
4 oz whole almonds - I buy them with skins 'on'.
2 tablespoons cornflour
orange flower water or rose water

Cream the butter and sugar and incorporate egg yolk and brandy. Blanch the almonds in boiling water and then chop them coarsely (I remove the skins, some bakeries have the annoying habit of leaving them on and you end up with hard pieces of skin in the middle of the biscuit!) Add almonds to the butter mix and then work in the cornflour and enough of the plain flour to make a firm but soft dough.

Break off small pieces the size of a large walnut. Shape into crescents or roll into balls and flatten slightly with your hand.

Bake in a mod slow ove Gas mark 3-4, 325-350F for about 20 minutes. Do not allow them to brown. Remove from the oven and leave on tray for at least 10 mins to cool.

Dip each biscuit into the orange flower or rose water and then roll in icing sugar until they have a fairly thick coat of dry sugar.

These are great eaten on the day you make them, but if stored in an airtight container for a couple of days, the orange water and almonds taste much more intense.

jkath 11-21-2006 09:34 AM

Oh my gosh, Ishbel! These sound wonderful!! Especially with the orange water!

Question - How long do you blanch, and is it necessary if you purchase the almonds without the skins?

boufa06 11-21-2006 09:44 AM

Ishbel, these delicious cookies are called Kourabiedes here. As I have mentioned in an earlier thread, they are distributed free along with Melomakaronas (Brandied Macaroons dipped in honey syrup) by some establishments during the festive period. The homemade ones can even keep up to a month if stored in a cool place.

Ishbel 11-21-2006 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jkath
Oh my gosh, Ishbel! These sound wonderful!! Especially with the orange water!

Question - How long do you blanch, and is it necessary if you purchase the almonds without the skins?

I blanch them in boiling water for about 5-6 mins and the skins peel away easily. You don't have to do it if you buy the ones sans skin!

Ishbel 11-21-2006 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boufa06
Ishbel, these delicious cookies are called Kourabiedes here. As I have mentioned in an earlier thread, they are distributed free along with Melomakaronas (Brandied Macaroons dipped in honey syrup) by some establishments during the festive period. The homemade ones can even keep up to a month if stored in a cool place.

Yes, I know the Greek word for them, Boufa - I'm just not sure of how to spell it, as I have it written phonetically! In Stella's family, her mum's biscuits wouldn never last a month.....

boufa06 11-21-2006 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ishbel
Yes, I know the Greek word for them, Boufa - I'm just not sure of how to spell it, as I have it written phonetically! In Stella's family, her mum's biscuits wouldn never last a month.....

Mine too! That's why I try not to make too many each time. In any case, it's good to make a big batch to last till the new year and even beyond as they come in handy when you have unexpected guests for tea!

HuskY 11-21-2006 10:11 AM

Delicious biscuit:chef:

Ishbel 11-21-2006 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boufa06
Mine too! That's why I try not to make too many each time. In any case, it's good to make a big batch to last till the new year and even beyond as they come in handy when you have unexpected guests for tea!

I only make a small batch for Christmas as they are a leetle too sweet for my taste. Our biggest celebration in Scotland is Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) - and I bake traditional Scottish shortbread for Christmas and Hogmanay... If only I could eat it....:smile:

boufa06 11-21-2006 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ishbel
I only make a small batch for Christmas as they are a leetle too sweet for my taste. Our biggest celebration in Scotland is Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) - and I bake traditional Scottish shortbread for Christmas and Hogmanay... If only I could eat it....:smile:

If you want to reduce the sweetness, just dust them lightly with icing sugar or shake it off for the ready made ones.


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