I have no idea how to pronounce “Kourambiethes.” I’m going with “almond shortbread-y cookie things,” instead. My husband recently started a new job at a start-up, so we won’t be taking any significant vacation time, this summer. Instead, to use up my vacation time, I’m taking Fridays off until the end of September. This past Friday was really rainy and Jay needed to get ahead on some work this weekend, so I amused myself in the kitchen. I actually caught up/got a bit ahead in my “alpha baking” for both The Baking Bible and The Bread Bible. Blog posts to come, but I made both the Prosciutto Ring (The Bread Bible) and the Elderberry/blueberry pie (The Baking Bible), as well as a strawberry-rhubarb pie, and these cookies. Oh, and a batch of regular bread. 🙂

mmm... sugar
mmm… sugar

First, on Friday morning, I realized I didn’t have any slivered almonds (needed for the almond shortbread-y cookie things), and I figured while picking those up, I could see if I could find any dried elderberries, too. I also knew Jay needed some more maple lumber to finish making stair treads, and the local bulk hardwood supplier is only open on weekdays before 4:30 (!), so I figured I’d run that errand for him, too. Fortunately, there are two well-stocked bulk food stores within a few kilometres of the lumber shop, so it was all nice & handy. First store had no elderberries, but I picked up the slivered almonds. Second store, I couldn’t find anything on the shelf, so I asked, and she took me over to the specialty/health food/organic section, and success! I stopped at the lumber yard on the way home, and loaded up five 10′ long boards of varying widths, totaling 36 “board feet” of hard maple. By the time I got home, it was pouring rain, so unloading those boards from the truck was a blast, let me tell you. When I had the truck bed empty, I went to grab my ingredients from the cab, and on the way to the door…

Disaster. No, not really.
Disaster. No, not really.

…I dropped the bag of slivered almonds, and it split open. Fortunately, enough was still safe in the bag that I was going to have plenty for the recipe, so no big deal. I figured the squirrels/chipmunks/birds would eat well. They or the racoons or something has cleaned it up, at this point. Or maybe hubby got tired of me letting the wildlife get it, and he cleaned it up. Always a possibility!

Plenty of almonds to go around
Plenty of almonds to go around

After toasting the almonds, they get chopped “medium fine.” I have no idea what “medium fine” means, but I just chopped until I figured they were a size that I wouldn’t mind in cookies. If I’m making it, I am The Decider!

Clarified butter+powdered sugar=yum!
Clarified butter+powdered sugar=yum!

I think Vicki of “Baking with Granny” is onto something, here. She asked on our Facebook group if anyone had tasted the clarified butter/powdered sugar combo used as the base for these, and suggested there might be a new buttercream frosting lurking in there. As someone who considers getting to taste the components as they get made to be one of the major perks of baking… I have to agree. The other major perk of baking, of course, is the gratitude you get when you share something you’ve created with people who truly appreciate it. I think anyone who bakes for love knows what I mean.

Yes, I'm a nerd. What of it?
Yes, I’m a nerd. What of it?

So, add the eggs & vanilla, then the chopped up almonds.

Seriously, yum.
Seriously, yum.

Next step, add the flour & baking powder mixture. Rose points out that the baking powder isn’t here for leavening, but for adding tenderness. Interesting, I thought. I love these little snippets of insight in Rose’s cookbooks.

Dough ready for chillin'
Dough ready for chillin’

Into the fridge for 1/2 hour or so. Then scoop & shape.

Shaped & ready for baking
Shaped & ready for baking

Flatten them a little, then bake. After baking, dust them with a healthy dose (or two or three) of powdered sugar.

Coooookie. Nom nom nom.
Coooookie. Nom nom nom.

We really enjoyed these, so they had to leave the house, today! Cookies are way too easy for me to eat, so they won’t sit around our kitchen for very long, one way or another. I thought these had a perfect tender texture, without being crumbly. That seems to be where most shortbread-like things go wrong – either too firm (cardboardy/floury/tough), or too tender (crumbly, like eating mush). Maybe it’s the baking powder trick doing the magic, here. I think using clarified butter really helps in the “keeping” quality of these cookies, too.

I thought I’d take them to my teams for sprint reviews & sprint planning today & tomorrow, but the review that was scheduled for today got cancelled (moved to Thursday), and the ones that are tomorrow… well, obviously, they haven’t happened yet.  I did email my teams, letting them know I was booked pretty solid for planning meetings for the next release during at least the first half of this week, and buried at the bottom of the email, I told them there were shortbread-y almond cookie things at my desk. Only one person apparently read my whole email. So, there you go. Thanks for reading, Nevin! Your prize is a cookie! I’ll still bring the cookies to the reviews that are booked for tomorrow morning. Hopefully the teams appreciate them as much as those who tasted them today seemed to appreciate them. 🙂


8 thoughts on “Kourambiethes

  1. Yep, mine went out the door too! Great post, I forgot about the point Rose made with the baking powder, glad you mentioned it… they are a tender biscuit. Plus you have all the animals I’ve always wanted to see because they look cute (shhh, don’t tell me if they aren’t) chipmunks, squirrels and racoons oh my.


  2. Sadly no one seems to read my emails very carefully either.Well done Nevin. I too took these to work post haste but not fast enough to avoid eating way too many. I’m impressed with your wood carrying abilities – that’s the kind of errand I’d be happy to leave to someone else.


  3. Are you nuts???! They are so good that you GAVE THEM AWAY?!! sigh. I can’t relate! They are so good that I am going to hide them in the closet so that I don’t have to share them with anyone!!! 😉 I hope you will stop by my blog and see what I have to say about that! But seriously, Kristina, your cookies look terrific and I so enjoy baking along with you and my fellow Alpha Bakers!


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