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Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies (Easy! + tips & variations)

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, these heavenly, festive almond cookies are just what you need! They are deliciously light and buttery and will make your Christmas cookie plate look amazing! Learn the secrets to making these melt-in-your-mouth cookies!

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

Kourabiedes (pronounced kou – rab – YE – des) are traditional Greek cookies made during Christmas. In some parts of Greece they are also handed out to guests at christenings and weddings.

They are a type of shortbread cookie filled with chopped almonds. A Christmas in Greece is not complete without melomakarona and kourabiedes!

They are one of the tastiest gifts I make for family and friends every year! And, kourabiedes are absolutely FANTASTIC with coffee!

You’ll only need 5 ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour
  • Almonds

HOW TO MAKE KOURABIEDES – GREEK BUTTER COOKIES IN 5 EASY STEPS:

STEP 1: BEAT THE BUTTER AND POWDERED SUGAR

Beat the butter and powdered sugar on high speed for about 20 – 25 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract and mix.

STEP 2: ADD THE ALMONDS AND THE FLOUR

Add the almonds by hand and mix until just combined. Then add the flour, ½ cup at a time, and gently mix by hand until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour (you may need up to 4 cups). The dough should easily come off the sides of the bowl without sticking to it. Don’t overmix.

STEP 3: SHAPE

Divide the dough in half. Put half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of about an inch / 2.5 cm. Cut out different shapes with a cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough.

STEP 4: BAKE

Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven until just light brown. Allow the cookies to cool slightly.

STEP 5: DUST WITH SUGAR

Generously dust a cookie plate with powdered sugar. Add the cookies and dust with powdered sugar while they’re warm.

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  1. Butter: Make sure the butter is at room temperature. You also really need to beat the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy and that takes around 20 – 25 minutes on high speed. You want to incorporate as much air in it as possible.
  2. Flour: Mix the flour in by hand, but don’t overmix it because the cookie will become tough. Use just enough flour to make a pliable dough, so there may be extra flour that won’t be used.
  3. Almonds: Traditionally, almonds are roasted and then added to the dough, but I never roast them because they tend to become really hard after the cookies are baked. I always use chopped, blanched almonds in the dough.
  4. Dough: Cover the dough and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to work with. I always chill my sugar cookie dough to prevent spreading, but it’s not necessary for this recipe! These cookies will not spread because there are no leaveners, so you can bake them straight away without chilling the dough and save time! Without any leaveners, I found that these cookies are sturdier – this is especially important if you’re packaging cookies!
  5. Parchment paper: This is one of my favorite things in the kitchen. It makes baking easier! Traditionally, these cookies are shaped by hand into small mounds or crescent moon shapes, but I use parchment paper, instead! By rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, I save so much time in the kitchen! First of all, there’s no mess because I don’t have to flour my work surface and it’s a lot faster and easier to shape the cookies.
  6. Baking: These cookies should be baked until JUST light brown in color, otherwise they can get hard.
  7. Dusting with powdered sugar: Allow the cookies to cool slightly before adding the powdered sugar. If you add the powdered sugar when the cookies come straight out of the oven, a damp layer of sugar will form, making them soggy on top.

 Variations

  • You could use almond extract or even ouzo instead of vanilla extract!
  • For chocolate kourabiedes, add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the dough and mix by hand.
  • Many traditional Greek kourabiedes recipes call for rose water. If you’d like to add it to the kourabiedes, just sprinkle some rose water on the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. Then let them cool slightly before dusting with powdered sugar.

Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies

Have a very Merry Christmas!

 Please let me know how these kourabiedes turn out for you in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

KOURABIEDES - Greek Butter Cookies

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, these heavenly, festive almond cookies are just what you need! They are deliciously light and buttery and will make your Christmas cookie plate look amazing! Learn the secrets to making these melt-in-your-mouth cookies!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Kourabiedes Greek Butter Cookies Christmas Easy
Servings: 45 cookies*

Ingredients

  • 250 g (1 cup / 8.8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 60 g ( 1/2 cup / 2.1 oz) powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 150 g (1 cup / 5.3 oz) blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 360 g (3 cups) all-purpose flour (you may need an extra cup (121 g)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180° C / 350° F and line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Beat the butter and the sugar on high speed for about 20 - 25 minutes. 
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Add the almonds by hand and mix until it’s well combined. 
  • Add the flour**, ½ cup at a time, and gently mix by hand until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour (you may need up to 4 cups). The dough should easily come off the sides of the bowl without sticking to it. Don’t overmix.
  • Divide the dough in half. Put half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of about an inch / 2.5 cm. Cut out different shapes with a cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until just light brown, about 10 – 15 minutes. 
  • Allow the cookies to cool slightly.
  • Generously dust a cookie plate with powdered sugar. Add the cookies and dust with powdered sugar while they’re warm. 
  • Enjoy!

Notes

These cookies will keep for up to 3 weeks stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
* The number of cookies this recipe makes depends on the size of your cookie cutter(s).
** Don’t add the flour all at once. Add about ½ cup flour at a time until the dough forms into a ball and is pliable. If necessary, add more flour. The dough should easily come off the sides of the bowl without sticking to it.
©Pastry Wishes
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Greek Christmas Cookies

Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

These classic Greek Christmas cookies will fill your house with a warm aroma of spices! My comprehensive guide will break down all the steps, tips and tricks you need to make the perfect Greek honey cookies!

MELOMAKARONA – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

These traditional Greek Christmas honey cookies are mildly spiced and dipped in honey.

Melomakarona (pronounced mel-o-ma-KA-ro-na) are traditional Christmas cookies that are popular all over Greece. They are thick cookies spiced with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, and lightly soaked in syrup. If you haven’t made them before, you should definitely give them a try!

What you’ll need:

  • Flour: I use sifted, all-purpose flour together with fine semolina flour. 
  • Oil: I always use a combination of olive oil and light vegetable oil.
  • Spices: A combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Fruit: Some lemon and orange juice, and some orange zest.
  • Alcohol: Cognac or Brandy (optional).
  • Sweeteners: I use confectioner’s sugar, granulated sugar, and honey.
  • Nuts: Chopped walnuts.

Making melomakarona is pretty straightforward and the best thing is you don’t even need a mixer!

Can I make melomakarona without semolina flour?

Traditionally, melomakarona are made with a combination of all-purpose flour and fine semolina flour, but you could make them with just all-purpose flour. Keep in mind, though, that if you don’t use semolina flour, the texture inside will NOT be the same – it will be a bit crumbly. Semolina flour also helps absorb the syrup better as opposed to cookies made with just all-purpose flour.

Can I omit the alcohol?

Sure! Cognac really goes well with the spices, but you can leave it out and still have great melomakarona! 

Why do you use powdered sugar in the dough instead of granulated sugar?

Powdered sugar dissolves a lot better than granulated sugar and results in a more denser cookie consistency, which is perfect for soaking up the syrup. Powdered sugar also contains cornstarch which helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much.

Why do you use a digital scale?

I always use a digital scale to weigh the dough for each cookie BEFORE I bake them. That way they ALL bake evenly at the same time. I think they also look nicer when I put them on a serving platter because they’re all the same size. If you don’t have a digital scale, try and make each piece of dough the same size before baking.

Should they be baked with or without a fan?

An oven with a fan (convection oven) is ideal because the air circulation from the fan creates a uniform temperature inside, baking all the cookies evenly. If your oven doesn’t have a fan, you might want to try rotating the cookie sheets halfway through the baking time, just to make sure all the cookies are evenly baked.

Should the syrup be hot or cold?

Many Greek desserts are made with syrup, which is either used hot or cold, depending on the recipe. In my post Easy Greek Baklava Rolls – Refined Sugar Free , I mention how opinions differ among chefs on whether or not a dessert should be hot when pouring cold syrup on it or the other way around. Some like it hot and some like it cold! I have tried both ways and found that this cookie is sturdier when it’s hot and then dipped into really cold syrup.

MELOMAKARONA – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

How to make melomakarona in 11 simple steps:

STEP 1: MAKE THE SYRUP FIRST

Make the syrup first, allow it to cool, then put it in the refrigerator.

STEP 2: PREHEAT THE OVEN

Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F.

STEP 3: PREPARE THE TOPPING

Set the honey and the walnuts aside.

STEP 4: MIX THE FLOURS

Mix the all-purpose flour with the fine semolina flour and set aside.

STEP 5: MIX REMAINING INGREDIENTS FOR DOUGH

Whisk together the wet ingredients with the remaining ingredients for the dough.

STEP 6: MIX WET AND DRY INGREDIENTS

Gently add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix by hand. Do not overmix the dough.

STEP 7: REST

Cover the dough and let it rest for about half an hour.

STEP 8: WEIGH EACH PIECE OF DOUGH & SHAPE

Take a piece of dough and weigh it using a digital scale. Each piece should be about 20-25 g / 0.70-88 oz. Make each piece oval and thick. If you don’t have a digital scale, try and make each piece of dough the same size before baking. If you want, you can make a pattern on top using a closed scalloped crimper.

Tip: The pattern helps absorb the syrup and hold the walnuts on top.

STEP 9: BAKE

Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for about 25-30’ until they’re golden brown.

STEP 10: SOAK IN SYRUP

When cookies are done, take 7-10 of them and immediately dunk them into the cold syrup. Let them soak for about 40 seconds, dunking them so that they’re submerged in the syrup. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. Repeat with the other cookies.

STEP 11: ADD THE TOPPINGS

Drizzle some honey over the cookies and add the chopped walnuts.

Please let me know how these melomakarona turned out for you in the comments!

I would love to hear from you!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Melomakarona Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

MELOMAKARONA – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

These classic Greek Christmas cookies will fill your house with a warm aroma of spices! My comprehensive guide will break down all the steps, tips and tricks you need to make the perfect Greek honey cookies!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Greek Christmas Honey Cookies
Servings: 55 cookies
Author: Voula

Ingredients

For the Syrup

  • 250ml / 1cup / 8 oz water
  • 250 gr / 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 125 ml / 6.5 oz good quality honey

For the Dough

  • 500 g / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 100 g / 1/2 cup fine semolina flour
  • 200 ml / 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 200 ml / 3/4 cup light vegetable oil
  • 30 g / 4 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)
  • grated orange zest from 1 orange

For the Topping:

  • 120 gr / 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons good quality honey (optional)

Instructions

  • Make the syrup: Wash the orange and cut it in half. Put the orange halves in a large saucepan and add the remaining ingredients for the syrup. Boil for 5 minutes. Then take off the heat and discard the orange halves. Stir in the honey and set aside to cool. Then refrigerate.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 °F.
  • In a bowl, mix the all-purpose flour with the fine semolina flour and set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the dough.
  • Gently add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix by hand. Mix until just combined.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for about half an hour.
  • If you have a digital scale, take a piece of dough and weigh it. Each piece should be about 20 - 25 g / 0.70 -0.88 oz. If you don’t have a digital scale, try and make each piece of dough the same size before baking.
  • Make each piece oval and thick. If you want, you can make a pattern on top using a closed scalloped crimper.
  • Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about an inch apart, and bake for about 25-30’ until they’re golden brown.
  • When cookies are done, take 7-10 of them and immediately dunk them into the cold syrup.
    Let them soak for about 40 seconds, flipping them over halfway through. Don't soak them too long, though, because they'll fall apart.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. Repeat with the other cookies.
  • Drizzle some honey over the cookies and top with the chopped walnuts.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  1. You could make the syrup a day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator.
  2. Do not overmix the dough; otherwise the cookies will become tough and hard. Mix until just combined. I usually count up to 15 seconds as I gently mix by hand and then stop.
  3. Don’t put too many cookies in the syrup at the same time, because you won’t have enough room to remove them with the slotted spoon. 
  4. The dough is very greasy, so you might want to wear gloves.
  5. Save any extra syrup in the fridge for your coffee or tea! Or, if you want more syrup in your melomakarona, just pour some more on the bottom of the plate the next day and let the cookies soak it up.
  6. These cookies will last for up to 2 weeks as long as they’re covered.
©Pastry Wishes

 

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