Kourabiedes (κουραμπιέδες)

Dec 7th, 2010 | By | Category: Almonds, Baking, Christmas, Cookies, Dessert, Featured, Festive, Greek, Sweets

This Greek cookie is an almond shortbread cookie. Christmas time is coming and every home will certainly have Kourabiedes on offer for visiting house guests.

These cookies are fantastically simple in ingredients, not too difficult and I don’t think I’ve met one person that doesn’t like them. What’s not to like about butter, roasted almonds and icing sugar?

Kourabiedes (κουραμπιέδες)
(recipe is for 2 baking trays/80 cookies)

1 lb. unsalted butter, clarified* and room temperature
1 cup icing sugar

2 egg yolks
3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups of roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1 shot of brandy

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 heaping Tbsp. of baking powder

5 cups of of all purpose flour
, sifted
Extra icing sugar for powdering (about 2 cups)

  1. Using a mixer and a large bowl, cream your butter, oil and sugar. Add the egg yolks and continue to mix.
  2. Add your brandy to a large glass and then add your baking powder and stir it until dissolved. Now pour this mixture, along with the vanilla extract and continue mixing until blended in.
  3. Start kneading with hands the mixture and s-l-o-w-l-y add the flour to the mixture until all the flour has been absorbed. Add the almonds and knead them into the dough mixture.
  4. Using your hand, grab a piece of dough the size of a walnut and form them into the shape of choice  crescents or patties). Place each formed cookie on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat process until all dough has been shaped into cookies.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven (middle rack) for 25 minutes for each batch. Allow the cookies to cool until you are able  to handle ((on the tray is fine).
  6. Place about 2 cups of icing sugar in a large bowl and place  the a cookie in the sugar and cover to coat. Place in your serving platter and repeat with the remaining cookies. Now place some more icing sugar in a sifter and generously dust the Kourabiedes with more icing sugar until well-coated.
  7. The cookies can be stored in a sealed container, in a cool, dry place and they’ll keep for 3 months.*Clarify the butter by melting it over medium heat then remove from heat and allow to cool in the fridge until solid. Now poke a hole into the solid butter and carefully pour out the water that’s underneath. What you have left is clarified butter (you may also use/buy ghee).


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69 Comments to “Kourabiedes (κουραμπιέδες)”

  1. Jeena says:

    Wow those look delicious. I love sweets that are covered in powdered sugar! And they keep for 3 months too, fantastic! I bet they are so lovely. :)

  2. Anh says:

    I saw these a lot in the Greek shops here! Sooo delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Kevin says:

    My mom used to make almond shortbread moon cookies though she used ground almonds rather than chopped. These look really good!

  4. Kalyn says:

    Oh yes, I love this kind of cookie. So bad for my diet though! (Sigh.)

  5. Elly says:

    Mmm, kourambiedes are my favorite! Yours look beautiful. I’m looking forward to making some for the holidays, too..and melomakarona!

  6. Peter M says:

    Folks, I’ve eaten 5 Kourabiedes tonight! ;)

  7. Helene says:

    Your kourabiedes looks absolutely intriging. I want to share a bite, and sure I try to bake them. I´ll let you know.
    But I fear they won´t last three months. ;)

  8. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I made some cookies that are similar to these last year, Peter – it’s a Donna Hay recipe and they’re called Greek almond cookies. I made them to give as a gift and it was a huge success!

    Yours look delicious and you made me crave the cookies again!

  9. Peter M says:

    Pat, you go tell Donna Hay they are Kourabiedes! They are easy ti make and Oh so buttery good!

  10. Ivy says:

    Look lovely and delicious. I don’t think that these will last for the holidays more than a couple of days. Planning to post mine, as well as memomakarona soon. But shall start with the Christmas Cake first.

  11. Bellini Valli says:

    These Christmas cookies look as though they would melt in your mouth Peter!!!!

  12. Cynthia says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more: “What’s not to like about butter, roasted almonds and icing sugar?”

  13. winedeb says:

    Yum Peter! These are my favorite holiday cookie! That powdered sugar in the last photos looks like snow!

  14. renaissance says:

    J’adore la cuisine grecque
    Merci pour cette recette qui me rappelle mon amie qui habite la grèce
    Je vais l’essayer promis

  15. renaissance says:

    On peut utiliser le beurre clarifié
    que l’on achète dans les magasins
    où il faut le faire soit même
    Si vous n’êtes pas confortable avec le français
    j’essayerais d’écrire en anglais
    Mais pour le lire je n’ai pas de problème

  16. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  17. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  18. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  19. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  20. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  21. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  22. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  23. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  24. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Those Greek cookies look wonderful and ever so pretty! Yummy!



  25. Ferdzy says:

    Just gorgeous.

  26. Gato Azul | Chat Bleu says:

    Peter! Your blog absolutely reflects it’s name… on mange bien chez toi (there’s good food at your table)! Have a nice WE

  27. Shandy says:

    I could hug the stuffings out of you for posting this recipe! I have a Hungarian background and thought I was missing one of my Grandma’s recipes. . .since she used to make these for me when I was a little girl. Well, I have just been looking in the wrong place! Your wonderful, as usual and thank you again because these will now be baked and shared with my family via airmail to different parts of the states. YaY! =D

  28. Peter M says:

    Shandy, it appears cookies like these transcend many cuisines beyond Greek and as hard as it is to admit(as a Greeek), I’m glad that so many different ethnicities shared in the same good taste.

    PS. Shandy, I’ve been to Budapest and it was a small Paris…perfect!

  29. Peter M says:

    Renaissance, to clarify butter: melt the butter then chill it. Make a hole in the side of the bowl/pot and drain the liquids, discard. The solids (on top) are what’s left…clarified butter.

  30. Helene says:

    Hello Peter,
    I modified your cookies a bit – without brandy and vanilla (I forgot)
    but with some extra almonds. They are gorgious!!
    Stop by if you like.

  31. Antonio Tahhan says:

    Peter, these were absolutely PERFECT! Thanks for the recipe – I can’t wait to make them again for Christmas this year :)

  32. swirlingnotions says:

    Gorgeous! And they look . . . doable, which is a big thing for me. Thanks, Peter!

  33. […] already shown you Kourabiedes and now you get to see the other standard offering, Melomakarona. I’m sure you can read the […]

  34. Christina says:

    I think you left out a very important step: DO NOT INHALE!

  35. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kalofagas Greek Food, Laurentiius. Laurentiius said: I love Kourabiedes! via @kalofagas http://bit.ly/hb53QQ Here's my family's recipe for Kourabiedes, a Greek Christmas cookie ! […]

  36. Mary says:

    I love these cookies, but have never had a recipe. It is now bookmarked! When I lived in Toronto and worked at a language school, one of our host mothers used to bake Greek things for us, and, while they were all good, these were my absolute favourites. Thank you!

  37. I can tell this is a great recipe the toasted almonds make a huge difference in the taste and of course the shot of brandy!

  38. I always wondered about the name, as it sounds Arabic in origin to me similar to our shortbread cookies in the Levant gh-o-ray-beh, does n it sound the same?

  39. Eva Kehayas says:

    Hi Peter

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes.I am an avid follower of your blog all the way from Johannesburg South Africa.I am happy you visited my birth place of Chania Crete this year-You have a Cretan surname -have you any links to Crete?
    I will certainly try the kourabiedes -do you think it would make a difference if I put in some dates in the middle?



    • Hi Eva and welcome to the blog, glad you left a comment! Chania and Crete were fantastic, a very memorable stay and although my surname sounds Cretam, in fact my parents are from Florina.

      I suppose you could add dates but I have never tried it. Please let me know how they turned out!

  40. Kai tou xronou Peter! Great kourabiedes.

  41. Foodjunkie says:

    I think I am going to my my kourabiedes lunar-shaped this year. They look so good!

  42. My Mom used to make these every Christmas! I was never a huge fan of almonds back then but now, that’s a different story. :)

  43. bellini says:

    Are these what we call the “cocaine” of Greek dessert. I can see becoming addicted.

  44. Eleni says:

    Hey Peter,
    I love these. Some versions I’ve eaten taste vaguely of roses (which I love). Is there a variation of these with rosewater in them or am I hallucinating or is that taste an effect of so much confectioner’s sugar? Filia, E

  45. Vita says:

    Πολύ ωραίοι σας έγιναν! Και του χρόνου να είστε καλά

  46. kat says:

    Those are a favorite of mine!

  47. Linda says:

    My mother-in-law always made kourambiedes especially for me whenever we would visit Greece. Even in the heat of summer she would be baking. Some day I’d like to make my own, and re-live some of the memories I have of my favorite woman. Thank you for posting the recipe, the cookies look delicious!

  48. I love these and other kinds of shortbread cookies! They certainly are pretty. Now I know where the “snowball” cookies my grandmother used to make every year.

  49. Isabelle says:

    Splendides et les photos du saupoudrage de sucre glace…. mmmh

    ça me donne envie d’en refaire une fournée ! Merci !

  50. Gloria Fernandes Puester says:

    I’ve made kourabiedes for over 30 years. They are one of our favorites. Most of the recipes I have seen have a whole clove stuck in the cookies. I usually use about 1/8 tsp. of powdered cloves in the dough instead.

  51. For many years my mother always made a very specific assortment of cookies at Christmas time. Some she kept for Christmas dinner, and some she gave away. These remind me so much of the “Meltaways” (also called “Russian Tea Cakes”) that were part of this annual assortment. I don’t remember if they were made with walnuts or pecans, but the recipe was very similar. I can remember the powdered sugar and that way they crumbled in your mouth. No one ever used brandy though. I LOVE that idea!

    I hardly ever get them anymore. My father made them the last time I hosted Thanksgiving dinner and my sister-in-law made another similar cookie for some holidays. I miss it all!

  52. […] already shown you Kourabiedes and now you get to see the other standard offering, Melomakarona. I’m sure you can read the […]

  53. Jean says:

    Are these similar to Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies? Love the shot of brandy in these!

  54. Zoe says:

    It’s Christmas-time, I’m a Greek abroad and I was looking for information as to whether I could use ghee to make Kourabiedes as a substitute to goat/sheep clarified butter that I normally use in Greece and I found your site so thanks!

    And now a variation: The way my mom and I have been making them for years omits vanilla in the dough. Instead, after you take them out of the oven and they have cooled down slightly, we sprinkle them with lashings of flower water (anthonero/ orange blossom water – NOT rosewater), wait briefly for the still warm cookie to absorb it and then sprinkle the icing sugar. It makes for heavenly, aromatic kourabiedes. Also another tip: when shaping them, form them into a little ball (so that each cookie can be eaten in one go) and gently press with your thumb to make a small round dip. Sprinkle the flower water and follow with the sugar. The little dip captures the sugar.

    And finally: just make the whole thing with your hands – the heat of the hand creams the butter with the sugar slowly and perfectly – a mixer can be too harsh.

  55. Vicki says:

    The best kourambiethes I have ever made. I think clarifying the butter is the secret. My mum would use ouzo when they came out of the oven, before the icing sugar. Gave a truly authentic Greek taste. Thank you!

  56. Nadya says:

    Hi there

    I make them so very often – but would like to know if one can keep in fridge or freeze the dough for the next batch when necessary –


  57. zante says:

    My recipe from my yiayia from Tripoli is different. It contains no eggs. Just 1 pound butter (melted or very soft), a little white sugar (2 T), 2 T orange juice, 5 cups flour. They are much more delicate and better than any of the kourabiedes I have found in Greek bakeries. For the powdered sugar (also called icing sugar), I sift a layer of sugar onto a cool cookie sheet and then lay a warm cookies on sugar. The bottom layer of sugar melts to the cookie. Then I sift more powdered sugar over the warm cookies and then when they are cool I transfer them to a tray and sift them once more with powdered sugar.

  58. Christina says:

    Love these cookies. I made these cookies last year as my first time ever making kourabiedes. I was so nervous but thanks to your recipe and great instructions they came out great! I made them last night again but a little smaller then last year. I cooked them for a little too long and now they have a roasted taste which I don’t mind. I love them even without the icing/powder sugar. Clarifying the butter really makes a difference.
    Thank you! Haroumena Hristougena kai Kalo Hrono!

  59. Dimitra says:

    Kourambiedes do NOT have eggs in them – just as you see some recipes for Spanakopita with EGGS in the recipe,,,well there are no eggs in Spanakopita either – but I suppose you can always do your own thing. My Mother’s Kourambiedes, god rest her soul, literally would melt in your mouth – I will try to make them according to the original recipe. These are absolutely delicious and you cannot stop eating them.

    • Dimitra, My many of the recipes you see on this blog are family recipes – passed down from my mother and she learned them from her mother, my Yiayia. They are very traditional as I am sure yours are. I ask that you respect my family’s tradtions as I am sure you would like yours to be as well.

  60. Dimitra says:

    Dear Peter – I assure you I meant NO “disrespect” whatsoever in my remarks. It’s just that you grow up with certain recipes all your life (as well as from other Greeks) and when something comes along that seems like an oddity with respect to a recipe, well, it’s a bit of a shock. I mentioned the Spanakopita as well because neither did our home put eggs in that dish and it was confirmed on a couple of other sites where Greeks did in fact remark that eggs did not belong…. Sorry, once again, I will just keep my mouth closed I think and just observe and enjoy.

    Be well – Dimitra

    • Christina says:

      To tell you the truth, if you don’t put eggs in the spanakopita then you’re just eating spinach and filo with feta. The egg actually helps bind the spanaki with the rest of ingredients. My mother has always put eggs and everyone raves about her spanakopitakia and tyropitakia. They are ALWAYS requested at family parties and even my work events. Its what you’re used to and to not put eggs in a baked good makes no sense unless you’re making baklava. To each their own but you should try something first before making yourself look like a snob.

  61. Christina says:

    I make these kourabiedes every year now and I love them! They are the best and to clarify the butter makes such a difference! Thank you for your recipes Peter. They are always amazing!

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