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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 - of 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!

Kourabiedes, the delicious Christmas almond cookies!
  • Preparation time

    Preparation time

    00:40

  • Cooking time

    Cooking time

    00:25

  • Serves

    Serves

    45-50

  • Cuisine

    Cuisine

    Greek

Ingredients

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

  For the composition:

  • 1 tbsp of rose water
  • 300g icing sugar
  • What are kourabiedes?

    What are kourabiedes?

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

     Their name come from the Persian Qurabiye, which means biscuit, pastry made from flour, butter and powdered sugar. 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 the traditional kourabiedes recipe of of Asia Minor. Thus, today in Greece the most famous traditional kourabiedes are those of Nea Karvali.

    Kourabies is directly related to the Christmas period, although customs and traditions of the Greeks make it the main festive treat of celebrations all year round. Kourabiedes are offered in special occasions like weddings and baptisms as a symbol of luck. Their white color is said to bring pure celebration and the wish for bliss. Kourabiedes symbolize happiness 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 smell butter and toasted almonds, two of the four main ingredients in kourabie.

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

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

    TIPS
    • As it contains a lot of butter, they are very soft when they are out of the oven. Pay attention when baking them as they will harden and look a lot like a cookie!
    • If you 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.
    • To store kourabiedes, cover them with plastic wrap at room temperature. You can keep them in the freezer for 3 months. Defrost them at room temperature and before serving them add the icing sugar.
    • You can decorate kourabiedes with cloves and also add a different flavour to them.

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