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The nut traditionally used for this cookie is almond. I decided I needed something different this year, so I used cashew nuts and I believe the result was more tasty. The big secret to making successful melt-in-the-mouth "kourambies" is to beat in a kitchen machine the butter with the icing sugar for 15-20 minutes. It might seem too long but it really makes the difference as it makes the butter fluffy. The second secret is that the taste of the final cookie depends mostly on the quality of the butter. I use a good quality non-smelly and I avoid totally margarine or substitutes. I also noticed that by using traditional yellowish flour (the one we use for kneading bread)instead of all-purpose one, the results are much better.
- 600 g unsalted butter
- 250 g cashew nuts (roughly chopped and baked)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 220 g icing sugar
- 50 g dark rum or 50 g brandy
- 1000 g plain flour (may need up to 1200gr depending on which you use) or 1000 g unbleached bread flour (may need up to 1200gr depending on which you use)
- icing sugar, for topping
- Beat the butter with the icing sugar with a whisker or kitchen machine for 15-20 until they become creamy and fluffy (you will notice that the volume will be doubled).
- Sift the flour and baking powder.
- Add flour mixture to the butter and stir with the hand until all the flour is absorbed. You will notice that the dough will become very fragile and it should be like that.
- Add the nuts and the rum (or brandy) and continue mixing well with your hand.
- The right kourambies dough should just hold itself together.
- Form round cookies 1 inch diameter and press them softly with your finger at the top. Don't worry if it gets easily destroyed. That's the way it should be. Apply small pressure and everything will go fine :).
- Place in a baking sheet (keep some distance between them as they will rise softly).
- Bake in preheated oven at 200°F (390°F) for 15 minutes. They should become lightly golden. I like mine baked until golden brown, but the traditional ones shouldn't have color. Try for yourself and pick your favorite.
- Let them cool completely. Arrange a layer in a dish and sift icing sugar on top. Repeat with the next layer. The amount of icing sugar really depends on your taste. I recommend a 3mm layer of icing sugar on top but again find your favorite quantity.
- Keep them airtight because they become soft very easily when left exposed in humidity and that's something terrible for a kourambies cookie.
- This recipe requires some kitchen experience so don't be easily disappointed if at first you don't succeed.