For me, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the greek biscuits Kourambiethes (almond shortbread). I haven’t found many people that aren’t eager to devour these freshly baked.
I recall my mother undertaking great baking episodes in the leadup to Christmas. The baking trays would be assembled, bags of flour, soft icing sugar, soft butter and crisp almonds. The Sunbeam Mixmaster would be put to work, beating the butter and sugar to within an inch of its life. Roasted almonds were crushed in the brass mortar and pestle, and added to the mix with a dash of brandy, vanilla and spice. Then the flour was folded gently into the mass to create the perfect silky dough.
There would be a flurry of action, and small “S” shaped biscuits would emerge, pinned with a black clove, to be baked golden in the oven. The air would be perfumed with spiced almondy butteriness. And to finish, while still warm, a snowy white icing sugar coat was put on each piece. Heaven.