Kourabiedes are delicious, melt-in-your-mouth butter almond cookies and a staple in Greek households during Christmas time.
I don’t know about you guys, but for me, Christmas season officially begins when I make my first batch of Christmas cookies. And not just any Christmas cookies. They have to be traditional Greek kourabiedes and melomakarona.
Today I’m bringing you kourabiedes … aka sugary buttery balls of heaven.
Kourabiedes are butter almond cookies, similar to a shortbread. After they are baked, they are dusted with copious amounts of powdered sugar. LOTS of powdered sugar. [pro tip – do NOT wear black while making these cookies. You will be covered in powdered sugar]
Just like any other traditional Greek recipe, every family has their own version. In Greece, many people use goat or sheep butter instead of cow’s milk butter. Some people use walnuts or pistachios instead of almonds. In Cyprus, it’s popular to flavor them with rose water, and in some parts of Greece they are flavored with mastiha (mastic resin).
This is my family’s recipe, and my personal favorite. Seriously. I’ve even tried the “famous, best of the best” kourabiedes which are made in Lamia, Greece and I still believe my family’s kourabiedes are wayyy better. They are full of roasted almonds and flavored with brandy (we always use Metaxa) and vanilla.
The secret to really good kourabiedes is using a high quality butter and beating it with powdered sugar until it becomes very light and fluffy – like 15 minutes worth of beating.
Kourabiedes are usually shaped into crescents or balls, but I sometimes shape mine into stars and hearts. They are baked until light golden and then dusted with powdered sugar while still hot, which creates the perfect coating.
- 1 lb butter (4 sticks), room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup slivered almonds, lightly roasted
- 5 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 6 - 7 cups powdered sugar (I usually use a whole 2-lb bag)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
- Add butter and ½ cup powdered sugar to bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until very light and fluffy (about 10-15 minutes).
- Add yolk, brandy, and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated.
- Sift flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Gradually add flour to butter mixture. Add roasted almonds beat until mixed in.
- Roll the dough into tablespoon-size balls, or roll out dough and cut into crescents, stars, or whatever shape you like.
- Place cookies on prepared baking pan and bake 20 minutes, rotating pan half way.
- Evenly spread about half of the powdered sugar in a large deep baking pan. Once cookies are out of the oven, carefully place each cookie in powdered sugar lined pan. Cover cookies with remaining powdered sugar.
- Cool completely and transfer to serving platter.