Kourabiedes - Greek Christmas Cookies

Kourabiedes orKourabiethes (Greek: κουραμπιέδες, pronounced: koo-rah-bee-YEH-thehs) are a traditional Greek almond shortbread cookie made for special occasions like Christmas, christenings and other celebrations. Together with the Melomakarona they grace the Greek Christmas table. Traditionally they were flavoured with rosewater and through the centuries, other flavorings have been added such as  lemon zest, orange zest, etc. Local butter, usually ewe’s and/or ewe’s and goat butter is used but if you can’t find any use regular butter, although the cookies will lack the characteristic taste, they will still be delicious. The real magic of kourabiedes is how they immediately melt in your mouth, the memory of the crumbling delicious almond cookie only lasting until the next one entering your mouth.

Kourabiedes, adapted from Stelios Parliaros


  • 300 grams of Greek Sheep’s milk butter or normal butter
  • 110 grams of powdered/icing sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod or vanilla extract
  • 30 grams of black rum or Metaxa brandy
  • 600 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 grams of almonds with the skin on, roasted and coarsely cut
  • 300 grams of icing sugar, for coating them

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC
  2. Preheat oven at 160 degrees Celsius and roast the almonds for  12 minutes.  Cut finely once they get cold.
  3. With an electric mixer, whisk the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should be done for a long time as the longer we whisk it the more velvety it will become!
  4. Sift together the flour and baking powder and then add to the butter mixture in four or five batches, making sure that each batch is well blended before adding the next.
  5. Add the rum. At the end, add the roasted almonds.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Break off 35 gram pieces of the cookie dough and roll by hand into balls, half-moon, or S shapes.
  7. Place in a preheated oven of 180 degrees C.  The temperature of the oven depends of course on the oven you have.
  8. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, or until golden.
  9. Cool completely and then roll the cookies in the confectioners’ sugar. 
  10. If placed in a tin box without the sugar they can last up to 3 months.