Kourabiedes (Greek Almond Cookies)

This traditional Greek almond cookie is dusted with confectioner’s sugar, has the delicious flavor of toasted almonds, and a delightfully crumbly, melt-in-you-mouth texture!  Kourabiedes are sure to become part of your regular cookie rotation year-round and especially at Christmas!

kourabiedes recipe greek almond cookies butter brandy whiskey cognac liquor rose water

What Are Kourabiedes?

Kourabedies, or kourambiethes, are Greek almond butter cookies with a crunchy-crumbly-melt-in-your-mouth texture and wonderful flavor of toasted almond.  It’s similar to shortbread but more crumbly and always include a liquor of some sort, commonly Greek Metaxa, or brandy.  Some regions of Greece have a tradition of embedding a single whole clove in each cookie.

Kourabedies deliberately limit the amount of sugar in the dough since the cookies are very generously dusted with or rolled in confectioner’s sugar.

kourabiedes recipe greek almond cookies butter brandy whiskey cognac liquor rose water

Some versions of kourabiedes are shaped like a crescent – hearkening back to the days of the Ottoman Empire’s occupation of Greece.  (Slightly different variations of this confection exist in most of the countries once occupied by the Ottoman Empire where they are known by different names including qurabiya and ghoriba).   But just as often in Greece today kourabiedes are shaped into rounds.

Traditionally sugar and butter were both expensive luxury items and so these cookies were typically reserved for special occasions, most notably Christmas, baptisms and christenings.  Today kourabiedes are enjoyed year-round but still hold cultural significance for those special occasions.

kourabiedes recipe greek almond cookies butter brandy whiskey cognac liquor rose water

Kourabiedes Recipe

Let’s get started!

Butter is a dominant ingredient in these cookies.  For the best results use the best butter you can find.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar for a full 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

creaming butter and sugar

Add the egg yolks and beat for another 5 minutes.

Beat in the brandy and extracts, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

beating egg and butter

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add one cup of the flour mixture at a time into the wet mixture, beating after each addition until incorporated.

mixing dough

Stir or gently beat in the almonds.

If the dough is too crumbly to form into balls knead in a little extra egg yolk.

adding toasted almonds to dough

Form the batter into roughly 1-inch balls, slightly flatten them in the palms of your hands, make a small indentation in the center with your thumb, and place them on a lined baking sheet two inches apart.

Bake the cookies on the middle shelf until golden, 15-18 minutes.

kourabiedes recipe greek almond cookies butter brandy whiskey cognac liquor rose water

While the cookies are still hot, dust a serving platter with powdered sugar and place a single layer of cookies on top of the sugar.

Lightly spray the cookies with some water infused with a little rose water.   

kourabiedes recipe greek almond cookies butter brandy whiskey cognac liquor rose water

Generously sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top and repeat the process. Continue repeating this process forming a pyramid shaped display of cookies. (Note, this display form is traditional but totally optional. The key is simply to generously coat the cookies with powdered sugar while they’re still hot, lightly spraying with the water to enable the sugar to adhere.)

kourabiedes recipe greek almond cookies butter brandy whiskey cognac liquor rose water

Once the cookies are fully cooled, store them in an airtight container where they will keep for a few weeks.

Enjoy!

kourabiedes recipe greek almond cookies butter brandy whiskey cognac liquor rose water

Looking for some more traditional Greek and Greek-inspired dishes?  Be sure to try our:

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet November 9, 2021

 

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