SWEET BEGINNINGS TO 2018: KOURABIEDES
The description in our Instagram bio reads ‘Celebrating food, family, friends, life.’ I re-read that description multiple times a week, and often contemplate whether it needs changing. And I always return with the same conclusion. No, it doesn’t. It really does encapsulate perfectly what the Sydney Food Sister journey is for Caterina and I. It always comes back to food, family, friends, life. So, as we turn the page on the calendar, and begin a new working year for 2018, we wanted to share a recipe with you that celebrates and summarises beautifully what we are all about.
This recipe for kourabiedes has been in my family for over 40 years. I used to make these with my mother as a child, and I now make them with my own children. Traditionally, kourabiedes are made for celebratory occasions, however growing up as a child, my mother had what seemed to be a permanent, never ending batch of these in our pantry. Some recipes need zero tweaking, and this is one of them. Buttery and crumbly, these delicate morsels of sweetness are pure perfection. You know that they have been baked perfectly when the clump of sweetness sticks to the roof of your mouth in an equally annoying and pleasant fashion. Perhaps that’s why they suitably come traditionally accompanied by a glass of water and Greek coffee.
We love sharing recipes that we grew up with. They hold a special place for us because they honour the recipe creators, and evoke nostalgic feelings. We take great care in documenting them, both in description and through photos, to ensure that our family traditions are both preserved and celebrated. And we take great joy in sharing them with you all, in the hope that you will try them out in your own kitchens.
Today’s baking session was smooth and seamless, and the photography session equally as calm. We got to finally use our favourite antique purchase from last year in a shoot (that stunning silver icing sugar spoon!!!). If the start to this year is any indication of how the rest of 2018 will roll… well, we can’t wait!
- 500 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup ouzo
- 5 and 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup chopped, toasted almonds
- 2 cups icing sugar
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar well until the mixture is pale and the sugar has dissolved
- Add the oil, beat until well combined
- Add the eggs yolk, beat until well combined
- Add the ouzo, beat until well combined
- Add the vanilla sugar, baking soda and almonds. Mix well.
- If you have a kneading attachment on your mixer, switch to that (otherwise continue to step 8 using your hands)
- Add the flour, one cup at a time, constantly kneading until all the ingredients have combined well, and you have a soft dough. You will know the dough is ready when it comes away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should not feel very moist. It should feel soft yet slightly crumbly.
- Line your baking trays with grease proof paper.
- Using your hands, shape the dough into your desired shapes. We usually make small round biscuits. Roll a ball of dough in your hands, place it on the lined baking tray, and press down ever so slightly to flatten the top. They should be the roughly the size of a 20 cent coin. If you prefer, you can roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to make various shapes with cookie cutters.
- Place your biscuits on the baking tray, leaving at least 2cm between them (As they will rise and expand when they bake)
- Bake at 180 degrees Celsius, for approximately 30 minutes, or until they are slightly golden in colour
- Remove the biscuits from the tray and allow them to cool on the tray for 15 minutes.
- Line a tea towel on a flat surface (you will rest your biscuits here once you have dipped them in icing sugar, and to cool completely)
- Place half of the icing sugar in a shallow bowl. Dip the base of the biscuit into the icing sugar, and transfer it to the baking paper or tea towel. Repeat this process with all the biscuits
- Place the remaining icing sugar in a large sifter and generously dust the top of the biscuits with it. Each biscuit should have a generous layer of icing sugar on it.
Food photography, story and recipe creation by Effi Tsoukatos & Caterina Sterrantino for the Sydney Food Sisters