Kourabiedes walnut sugar biscuits

These nutty Greek shortbreads make delightful (and delicious) gifts.
  • 75g walnuts
  • 210g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g icing sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp orange flower water
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 160g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4.

Toast the walnuts until golden brown and fragrant, about six minutes. Let cool, then chop about half of the nuts. Pulse the remaining nuts in a food processor until finely ground.

Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and nuts together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, beat the butter, 110g sugar, egg yolk, brandy and vanilla essence together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture gets light and fluffy, about ten minutes.

5) At low speed, stir in the nut mixture to make a crumbly dough. Cover the bowl and set dough aside at room temperature for one hour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray. With a tablespoon, scoop out 2 1/2-cm pieces of dough and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. Pinch the ends of the balls to make a football shape. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the biscuits set and start to brown, about 18 minutes.

Remove biscuits from the oven and immediately sprinkle them lightly with the orange water, using a pastry brush. (If you don't have a brush, simply dip your fingers into the water and flick it over the biscuits a few times.) Take care not to douse them, just enough for them to carry the scent of flowers.

Put the 160g icing sugar in a bag and add five to six of the warm biscuits to it. Very gently toss the biscuits to coat with sugar. Remove them from the bag and cool them on a rack. Repeat with remaining biscuits.

Serve.

Busy baker's tips: Dough can be frozen for up to two weeks. Store baked biscuits in an airtight container for up to one week. Baked biscuits can be wrapped in plastic, then aluminum foil, for up to two weeks. To serve, let biscuits come to room temperature before dusting with icing sugar.

Cook's note: If you can't find orange flower water, try specialty stores or online.

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