Kourabiedes, the delicious Christmas almond cookies!

Kourabiedes are small almond and butter cookies sprinkled with icing sugar, a must-have of Greek origin during Christmas time. This festive dessert has become synonymous - along with melomakarona and diples - with the Christmas table. It's the perfect cookie, easy to make, tastes great, and the sugar makes it look "snowy". It is the perfect homemade treat to give or share!

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    Preparation time


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    Cooking time


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  • 500g of butter, at room temperature
  • 220g icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp. flower water
  • 30g bitter almond liqueur, cognac or rum
  • 200-280g blanched almonds, coarsely chopped, unsalted and toasted
  • 900gĀ flourĀ (all purpose or soft wheat)
  • 1 pinch ofĀ salt

For the composition:

  • 1 tbsp. of rose water
  • 300g icing sugar

    What are kourabiedes?

    TheĀ kourabiedesĀ (kourabies in the singular) areĀ Greek light golden biscuits with almonds. They are covered with icing sugar and traditionallyĀ prepared for the Christmas holidays. Households usually prepare them one week before Christmas, around December 19. According toĀ Greek tradition, in many parts of the country, they are offered to guestsĀ immediately after baptism or marriage.

    Ā Their name come from the Persian Qurabiye, which meansĀ biscuit, pastry made from flour, butter and powdered sugar.Ā Back in 1924, refugees from Asia Minor from Karvali in Cappadocia, moved to Kavala Prefecture and named their new area Nea Karvali. It was thanks to them we found out about theĀ traditional kourabiedesĀ recipe of of Asia Minor. Thus, today in Greece the most famous traditional kourabiedes are those of Nea Karvali.

    KourabiesĀ is directly related to theĀ Christmas period, although customs and traditions of the Greeks make it theĀ main festive treatĀ of celebrations all year round. Kourabiedes are offered in special occasions likeĀ weddingsĀ andĀ baptismsĀ asĀ a symbol of luck. Their white color is said to bring pure celebration and the wish for bliss.Ā Kourabiedes symbolize happinessĀ as they are made from thousands of grains of flour and sugar, as much as our dreams and hopes are.

    Around mid-November or even earlier all bakeries and pastry shops start to smellĀ butterĀ andĀ toasted almonds, two of the four main ingredients in kourabie.

    Ā TheĀ butterĀ must be such (from cow's or goat's milk) that it releases its soft aroma, leaving a pleasant andĀ balanced aftertaste. KourabiedesĀ must melt in your mouth. Almonds should be fresh, of excellent quality. Roasting the almonds on aĀ baking tray, add flavours and crunch to the cookie.

    The secret to the success of kourabiedes lies in theĀ ingredientsĀ you use and especially in theĀ butter mixture! Butter is the key of success and should be of exceptional quality. Let's see how you can make these delicious cookies yourself!

    The recipe in easy steps

    The recipe in easy steps

    1. PreheatĀ the oven to 180 Ā° C in air. PutĀ parchment paperĀ on aĀ baking sheetĀ and arrange the almonds on it so that they are not stacked. Bake them for 10-15 'untilĀ lightly browned.Ā Let them cool down completely.
    2. Beat the butter and icing sugar inĀ a large bowl.Ā You should whip them on high speed for aboutĀ 15-20 minutesĀ until the mixture is light and white.
    3. Stop theĀ stand mixerĀ and add the vanilla powder,Ā rose water, bitter almond liqueur and mix again for a few seconds.
    4. Crush the almondsĀ and add them to the flour with the salt.
    5. Gradually add the flour, almonds and salt to theĀ mixture. Mix the ingredients well with a spatula, very gently so that its volume does not fall. Once the ingredients areĀ homogenized, mix with your hands. Do not over-knead the mixture as there is a risk that theĀ kourabiedesĀ will become hard.
    6. On aĀ baking sheet covered with baking paper, form small oval-shaped cakes, of +/- 30g (or use a cookie cutter).Ā Press lightly in the centerĀ with your finger for even cooking.
    7. Bake at 180 Ā° CĀ for 20-25 minutes.
    8. Ā When they are cooked and still hot, sprinkle them withĀ rose water.
    9. Let the kourabiedes cool down a bit and then sprinkle them liberally withĀ icing sugarĀ before serving! When you give Kourabiedes to someone for the first time, they have to be careful taking a small biteĀ as it's a biscuit with lots of icing sugar! Always serve with a glass of water.
    10. Arrange them on a pretty plateĀ and enjoy!Ā 


    • As it contains a lot ofĀ butter, they areĀ very softĀ when they are out of the oven. Pay attention when baking them, as they will harden andĀ look a lot like a cookie!
    • If youĀ don't have a stand mixer, put all the ingredients in a bowl with 1 tbsp of baking powder and beat them until the mixture becomes smooth.
    • ToĀ store kourabiedes, cover them with plastic wrap at room temperature. You can keep themĀ in the freezer for 3 months.Ā Defrost them at room temperature, and before serving them, add the icing sugar.
    • You can decorateĀ kourabiedes with clovesĀ and add a different flavour to them.
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