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Kourambiedes (Greek Christmas biscuits) recipe

Kourambiedes (Greek Christmas biscuits) recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Biscuits and cookies

A simple all-butter biscuit that melts in your mouth. These biscuits or similar variations are common in other countries, as well - also sometimes known as Russian Tea Biscuits or Mexican Wedding Cakes.

19 people made this

IngredientsServes: 36

  • 225g butter
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 6 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 175g chopped walnuts
  • 400g icing sugar for decoration

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:12min ›Extra time:23min › Ready in:1hr

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and rosewater until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons icing sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Roll dough into 2.5cm balls, and place them 5cm apart on the baking tray.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.
  4. Meanwhile, place the remaining icing sugar in a shallow baking or pie dish. Immediately after removing the biscuits from the oven, carefully remove from the baking tray and roll in the icing sugar. When cool, roll in remaining icing sugar a second time. I like to store the biscuits in an airtight tin, surrounded by the remaining icing sugar.


If you can't find rose water, use 1 tsp brandy instead, which commonly flavours kourambiedes in Greece. Also, you can substitute chopped almonds for the walnuts, if desired.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(8)

Reviews in English (5)

Excellent recipe Diana. I have tasted many of these biscuits but this recipe is the best! My Greek husband was really happy that I made them and it was my first time.-01 Jan 2012

Does the rosewater go in at the part of the recipe where it mentions vanilla?-09 Oct 2009

I just can't get them to stay in balls, mine end up flat, what am I doing wrong, Anyone. Have made this again and by looking at other peoples they say about using an egg yolk, not in this recipe . This needs to be taken of this site-07 May 2013

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Recipe Summary

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey, preferably Greek
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup mastiha liqueur, such as Skinos

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together flour, almonds, confectioners' sugar, and salt into a medium bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and honey on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest. (It may not come together fully until you add flour mixture.) Reduce speed to low gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with mastiha.

Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough roll into a ball. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until brown around edges, about 20 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks let cool completely. Roll cookies in confectioners' sugar until thoroughly coated. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Kourabiedes: Greek Christmas Butter Cookies

In Greece two of the most popular desserts that are made during the holiday season are kourabiedes and melomakarona. Kourabiedes are known outside of Greece as a cookie, but they are almost too substantial to be called a cookie. They are a shortbread type of sweet, made of flour, sugar, butter and almonds and covered with powdered sugar, which make them look like a snowball. When you eat them, the literally melt in your mouth along with all that powdered sugar.

Nutritionally, what you see is what you get: sugar, flour and butter. On the other hand you don’t eat a handful of these like you would cookies, but rather just one as a dessert. Greeks typically make a big batch of these sweets and they last through the whole holiday season, so there is no pressure to eat all of them in a week! I remember my grandma used to hide them (I think she actually locked them) in a cabinet in her dining room for weeks and would only serve them when guests visited.

In the past, for Greeks, sweets, particularly those made with butter were a luxury item (butter and sugar was expensive) and were not to be eaten everyday. But my grandma’s practice of hiding them is also a great strategy to avoid overeating all these holiday treats. The rule “out of sight-out of mind” really applies here: what you don’t see, you don’t eat. Studies have actually showed that we eat more when the food is in front of us than when it is hiding in a cabinet. When you’re done making these, leave them on a nice platter for a few days, but after that store them in containers they will last longer and you won’t be tempted all the time.

How to make Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)

  • Beat butter in the bottom of a stand mixer on a medium-high speed for 20 minutes.
  • Add egg and almond extract, mix until combined. Sift ½ cup powdered sugar, baking soda, flour and salt together in a large bowl. With the speed on low, add mixture a little bit at a time until completely incorporated. If the dough is too sticky, add a little bit more of flour.
  • Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into crescents and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silt pad. Bake for 15-20 minutes until very pale brown and cooked through.
  • If serving cookies right away. Let them cool slightly and toss in powdered sugar. Serve within 24 hours. If you want to bake them and then serve later, store in an airtight container in the fridge (or we store them outside when it’s cold). When ready to serve, pop in a warm oven until warm, then roll in powdered sugar.

Traditional Kourabiedes Recipe in time for Christmas

Along with Melomakarona, the most popular Greek sweets served around the Festive Season are Kourabiedes- an almond shortbread biscuit, which consists of lots of butter, almonds and plenty of icing sugar.

Here is a delicious recipe, which features lightly toasted almonds, a splash of Ouzo and an abundance of confectionary sugar.

This recipe makes around 60 pieces and can be prepared in advance if placed in airtight containers to retain their freshness.


– 500 x grams of butter
– 1 x kilo self-raising flour
– 200 grams caster sugar
– 2 egg yolks and 1 egg white
– 1 cup olive oil
– 3/4 cup of Ouzo
– 200 grams chopped almonds
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 3 cups confectionary sugar for dusting


– Spread chopped almonds on baking paper and place it in a baking tray. Toast in oven for about 10 minutes in a 150 degrees Celsius oven or till lightly browned.
– Add butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat.
– In a large bowl add melted butter with caster sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/2 cup of ouzo, olive oil, egg white, yolks, and toasted almonds and mix all together for about 5 minutes at high speed.
– In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture and blend until smooth.
– Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into small balls and then start forming them into a crescent shape.
– Line baking trays with baking paper and place the biscuits on paper. Bake in a 180 degrees Celsius oven for about 20 minutes.
– Allow biscuits to cool for about 5 minutes and then lightly drizzle some Ouzo on top of them.
– Place wax paper on your working bench and then sift 1 and 1/2 cups of confectionary sugar over the paper. Transfer the biscuits on to paper and then sift the remaining confectionary sugar on top.
– Allow to stand until completely cool and then store in an airtight container.


  • Preheat oven to 175* C (347* F) Fan.
  • In a large bowl, add the butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and rosewater.
  • Whisk thoroughly until the mixture becomes fluffy and all of the ingredients are well combined.
  • Add the flour and baking powder, toasted ground almonds and salt.
  • Mix with your hands until all of the ingredients are completely combined.
  • Shape the mixture into round balls that are 25 g each. Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie with your finger.
  • Transfer to 2 baking pans lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes, until golden.
  • When ready, remove from oven and set them aside to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  • Then spray with rosewater and dust with icing sugar.

To toast the almonds in the oven, simply preheat oven to 180* C (350* F) Fan and bake for 10-15 minutes!

Kourabiedes by Parliaros

These Kourabiedes by Parliaros are Greek Christmas cookies, similar to shortbread cookies which are flavoured with rum and real vanilla pod and filled with toasted almonds and pistachios.

There are many recipes for kourabiedes but the main ingredient which gives this traditional Greek cookie its taste is the Greek ewe&rsquos and goat milk butter.

However, if you cannot find Greek sheep&rsquos butter you can also make them with any other butter you usually use.

I have made kourabiedes quite different this year after watching a Greek cooking show by Stelios Parliaros, a famous Greek pastry chef.

I mixed in some pistachios as well and used real vanilla pod, added rum and they were fantastic. If you want a more traditional recipe, see my last year&rsquos post here.

The only difference I made to his recipe was to use a vanilla pod and add pistachios in half of them.

To make these cookies, I start by roasting the almonds (with skin on) and the pistachios so that they cool before using them. You can roast them ahead but I usually do this when preheating the oven.

I roasted them separately in two tins as pistachios need about 8 minutes and the almonds around 15 minutes, stirring them a couple of times.

I used the Paddle Beater Attachment and I beat the butter with icing sugar for almost half an hour, until the mixture was light and fluffy.

The traditional flavour for kourabiedes is vanilla. To flavour them, I used a real vanilla bean. Vanilla beans are quite expensive, so feel free to substitute them with either vanillin or vanilla essence.

How to use a vanilla bean

To cut open the vanilla bean, use the tip of a sharp knife and cut along the bean.

Using the knife to scrape the seeds and this is what to use.

The seeds of one vanilla bean are equivallent to about 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract, depening of the size of the bean.

Once split open, the seeds must be used, as these cannot be stored. However, if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of vanilla extract, just cut 1/3 of the bean and then split open just this piece.

Wrap the remaining piece in cling film and store in the refrigerator.

Do not discard the used part. You can put it in a jar and fill it with sugar. Leave it there for about a month so that the sugar is flavoured and then use this sugar in your desserts.

Next step is to combine all the dry ingredients. Put the flour in a bowl and add the baking powder, salt and vanilla seeds and mix.

Lower mixer speed and then add the flour mixture until incorporated.

Usually an alcoholic drink is added to kourabiedes. Parliaros chose to use rum, which I happened to have at home. The traditional alcohol used is brandy or you can use any other liqueur.

After the addition of the rum, stop the mixture to check the cookie dough. Test it with your fingers. It should be a soft dough which does not stick to your fingers.

When the nuts cool, coarsely pound them with a pestle and mortar or in a food processor. You can mix them all in the mixture if you like but I prefered to use them separately to make two different kinds.

I divided the dough in two parts and in most of the dough I added the almonds and in the remaining the pistachios.

To distinguish them, I made the ones with the almonds round and baked them on a baking tin lined with parchment paper.

The ones with the pistachios I gave them a crescent shape, which is more traditional.

Be careful not to make them too big as they will expand when baked. Make them about the size of a walnut and space them 3 &ndash 4 cm (about an inch or more) apart.

Bake them for 20 &ndash 30 minutes, depending on their size and your oven.

Let them cool and turn them oven. Sieve some icing sugar and them turn them over. Sieve more sugar on top and place them in a platter.

Kourabiedes - Greek Butter Cookies

These Greek Butter Cookies (Kourabiedes) usually appear at weddings, birthdays, or various holidays such as Christmas, Easter and other. They are melt-in-your-mouth tender, buttery, with a hint of brandy and cloves. Oh and these beauties are stuffed with pistachios!

A few days ago I got an email from a fellow blogger Sarah, who runs a blog in the same niche as mine (cooking food from all over the world) called Curious Cuisiniere. In fact, she contacted me almost two months ago but I saw her message only now. Oops. She invited me to join the annual International Cookie Exchange (Virtual) hosted by herself where a group of bloggers will be sharing cookie recipes from various countries. I couldn't resist such an offer even though there were only 4 days left until the exchange (it takes place on December 2nd). It's my first time participating in such events as a blogger so I am super excited!

The cookies I picked for this event come from one of my most favorite countries to cook from - Greece. They are called Kourabiedes and are traditionally made on Christmas, Easter, and other holidays. Well, that's a perfect timing! A few weeks ago I made these beautiful Italian Christmas Cookies and now I'll have one more idea for my Christmas table.

Kourabiedes are also known as simply Greek Butter Cookies. Butter plays the main role in this recipe, but there are also honey, brandy, and plenty of pistachios! These nuts are crazy popular in Greece (do you remember Kataifi?) so I wasn't surprised at all to stumble upon them in these cookies. Pistachios are used two times: a part of them is grounded in a food processor and added to the dough, while the other ones are inserted whole into each cookie. Actually, pistachios are not necessary for Kourabiedes. You can use almonds or walnuts instead.

Traditionally, these cookies are made with a whole clove inside, symbolizing the spices brought by the Magi (Three Wise Men) as a gift to baby Jesus. However, eating a whole clove is not the most pleasant experience in the world so many recipes omit it or substitute with a nut (like me). I still included ground cloves, though, so the historical connection is not completely lost.

What can I say after tasting these beauties? These cookies are sooooo tender. They literally melt in your mouth! Oh and they taste fantastic: buttery, with a hint of brandy and cloves. At first, I thought that 30 cookies is too much for me and my wife but 10 minutes later I changed my mind, ha! Make these Greek butter cookies for Christmas, any other occasion, or simply any day you like. They will brighten up even the gloomiest days!

Phinikota &ndash Cypriot Kourabiedes filled with Dates and Almonds

Phinikota or Finikota are made the same way as the traditional kourabiedes but without the almonds in the dough. The balls are flattened and filled with chopped dates, nuts and spices.

Phinikota take their name from the Cypriot word &ldquo&Phi&omicron&iota&nuί&kappa&iota&alpha&rdquo, which means dates.

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ kilo of dates, stoned and finely chopped
  • 1- 1 ½ cups of roasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp group cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp rose or citrus water


  1. Place butter dates, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a small pan and put over moderate heat until butter melts. Lower heat and continue stirring until the mixture softens. Add rose water and stir two or three times.
  2. Place the mixture in a bowl and let it cool.
  3. Meantime prepare the dough as given for the traditional kourabiedes.
  4. Take a small amount of dough and flatten it with your hands. Add some filling and cover it to enclose the filling. Shape them into small balls.
  5. Place the folded part on the baking tray.
  6. To make the crescents, after flattening the dough, form the filling into a cord and enclose with the dough. Shape them into a crescent, making the edges pointy and bringing them forward.
  7. Proceed with the baking and coating procedure as described in the recipe card.

This year, as I did not have some of the ingredients of the above recipe, I made them with dates, filled with two roasted almonds, with skin on, in each. They came out so delicious!


These melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies are a Greek Christmas tradition. They are found in every greek home during the holidays and they are so delicious, I’m tempted to bake them all year round. I usually make a huge batch and give to all our friends and family. They are buttery, tender pieces of heaven, filled with roasted almonds and dusted with icing sugar. Some people stick a clove in the centre of each cookie, some brush with rosewater or brandy, but I prefer to leave them plain with a generous dusting of icing sugar.


  • 1 ½ cups unblanched, unsalted almonds (you can, of course, use blanched almonds, but I find almonds have a better flavour when roasted with their skin)
  • 450 g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • about 2 cups icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 175 C. Put almonds on a baking tray. Bake for 8 minutes until roasted and fragrant. Coarsely grate, in a food processor, fitted with a metal blade.

In a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat butter very well until soft. Add the icing sugar and beat for 10 minutes until mixture is fluffy and very pale. The longer you beat butter and sugar the fluffier the cookies.

Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture together with the almonds. Mix on low speed until you have a soft dough.

Using your palms make small ball shaped cookies. Put cookies on several baking sheets, lined with baking paper. Bake cookies for 18 minutes until they are lightly colored. Do not over bake.

Leave cookies to cool for 10 minutes, then dust generously with icing sugar.

Watch the video: Tasty Almond Crescent Cookies Kavala kurabiyesi nasıl yapılır (June 2022).