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 (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:
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
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.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- 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.
- 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. If you accidentally add too much flour and the dough becomes crumbly, just add a little melted butter until it comes together.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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! I roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and then use cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. This saves me 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 than shaping the cookies by hand.
- Baking: These cookies should be baked until JUST light brown in color, otherwise they can get hard.
- 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.
- 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.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
MORE GREEK AND CHRISTMAS RECIPES!
- Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies
- Greek Style Gingerbread Cookies (NO CHILL, NO SPREAD)
- How to make ancient Greek sesame bars (Pasteli)
- Rizogalo (Greek Rice Pudding + Vegan Option)
- Koulourakia (Greek Easter Cookies)
- Greek Halva Cake
- Greek Baklava Rolls (Saragli) – Refined Sugar Free
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
- 1 cup (250 g / 8.8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (60 g / 2.1 oz) powdered sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
- 1 cup (5.3 oz / 150 g) blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (381 g) (you may need an extra cup (127 g)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (480 g / 17 oz) for dusting after baking
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and line two 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. If you accidentally add too much flour and the dough becomes crumbly, just add a little melted butter until it comes together.
- 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 onto the baking sheets and bake until just light brown, about 10 – 20 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool slightly.
- Generously dust a cookie plate with powdered sugar. Put the cookies on top and dust with the remaining powdered sugar while they’re warm.