Kourabiedes are a traditional Greek buttery cookie served on special occasions. For us non-greeks, it’s best to described Kourabiedes as a light and delicate shortbread buttery cookie. Which has additional flavours of roasted almonds, ouzo, vanilla extract and rose water.
How do we pronounce it?
Κουραμπιέδες. Pronounced as Koo-rum-byeh-dthess.
Not an easy word to spell or say in English. And as a result I’m not completely sure how to spell it myself in English. I could spell it letter for letter translation which would mean it could be Kourambiedes or Kourambiethess. However, I am spelling it Kourabeides. Anyway you spell it, they all translate for deliciousness!
The best way to describe Kourabeides, is to tell you, that it is a melt-in-your-mouth explosion of tastes. These little buttery Greek shortbread cookies are a delicious. To me, they resemble the snowy mountains.
Kourabeides are light and fluffy, yet have a slight crunch and crumble with a delicate almond flavour and a hint of rose water. When baked they should just have a golden glow around their edges. And as they are cooling, I like to spray them with more aromatic rose water. Just so that I, can then heavily coat them in layers upon layers of luscious powdery confectioners sugar.
Kourabiedes are absolutely perfect for accompanying either a cup of coffee or a good cup of tea. Yet, these cookies are equally perfect, when paired with a glass of champagne on New Years Eve! 😉
They really are that good! Here in Greece, they are also known as the “Wedding Cookie”, and show up at Baptisms, Christenings and even Easter.
What’s the secret to perfect cookies?
Every single recipe, has a trick or two to master. And this one, is no different.
The secret to getting Kourabiedes that are perfectly melt-in-you-mouth cookies every single time:
- Use room temperature butter (regular butter or vegan butter).
- Whip the butter for 20 minutes!!! Yes, you read correctly, 20 and I mean twenty minutes!
Regardless of which recipe you make, traditional or my updated vegan recipe, you will want to whip that butter for a good 20 minutes. It must go absolutely white! Snow white in-fact. And if you are using vegan butter that is already white, you still want to whip it for a minimum 10 minutes or so. Friends, this is really all the secret that these cookies hold. Doing these 2 things will ensure that you’ll have success. The longer you beat the butter, the lighter the cookie will be!
Who’s ready to get started?
The very first thing you will want to do, is to make sure that the butter you are using is at room temperature. I cannot stress this enough to you. Best to leave it out overnight.
If you have a stand mixer, set it up and get that butter whipping with 100 grams of powdered sugar (a.k.a icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar). If not, using a hand mixer is totally fine… just start off at low to medium speed. Whip it for approximately 20 minutes. I hear you babe, it sounds crazy… I know, but remember white, creamy and fluffy butter equals delicious lighter cookies!
Preheat your oven to 200C/390F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast your almonds for approximately 6-8 minutes. I use almonds with their skins on. Keep an eye on your almonds… be careful not to burn them. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the almonds to cool slightly. Once they have cooled enough to handle them, roughly chop the almonds and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 180c/356F degrees.
Once the butter and powdered sugar have turned a beautiful white and fluffy colour. Add the ouzo, vanilla extract and rose water. Gently mix until all ingredients are blended into the butter mixture. Using a spatula or spoon, gently fold in the roasted almonds. Next, slowly add the sifted flour and baking powder. I find it’s best to work with your hands, but a wooden spoon will work too. You want the dough to be soft, yet buttery. All of the ingredients should be well combined.
I like measuring my cookies as this helps ensure that I end up with evenly sized cookies. I use 2 Tablespoons of dough per 1 cookie. The end result is a beautiful cookie that fits about 3/4 of your palm of your hand. However, if you prefer smaller cookies… then use 1 Tablespoon. Shape the dough, by rolling it between your hands to form a ball shape and place on to baking sheet. Gently push the end of your finger to make a slight indentation in the middle of each cookie. This will help prevent the cookie from breaking during the cooking process.
Place the baking sheet into the center of your oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cookies have just a faint golden hue around their edges. Remove from heat and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for just a moment. Taking care not to transfer them directly to the cooling rack whilst still hot, as they are delicate and could end up breaking.
After approximately 10 minutes or so, spray each cookies with a little more rose water to dampen slightly. If you do not have access to rose water, regular water will be fine. (Spraying the cookies with either water or rose water will help the icing sugar to adhere to them better).
Into a medium size bowl, place the 1 kilo of icing sugar. Take a cookie and place into the bowl with icing sugar. I find it’s best to cup your hands with icing sugar (much like making a snowball in the winter time) and patting it gently all over the cookie. Smooth off the excess icing sugar from the bottom of the cookie with your finger. Make sure that they are completely covered with layers of icing sugar on top and all around their sides. Place the cookie gently down on to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
To serve, take a large serving platter and sprinkle with a little icing sugar and begin placing your cookies on and around to form a circular shape. Dust a little more icing sugar over the cookies, and begin building up the cookies to form a pyramid. Making sure that each layer is being dusted with just a little more icing sugar. To me the icing sugar represents the winter wonderland snow, covering the mountains!
If you haven’t tried traditional Kourabiedes or perhaps you would like to try my vegan kourabiedes, think about giving them a go and adding them to your next special occasion! And, if you are a fan of shortbread and/or buttery cookies, then I think you’ll enjoy these Greek buttery cookies just about as much as we do.
- buttery and crumbly
- loaded with flavours
- delicate tasting
- easy and fun to make
- easy to share
- perfect for the holidays
- not overly sweet (despite all the powdered sugar)
- best served with tea, coffee and champagne!
If you make and enjoy this recipe, please leave a rating below. And better yet – leave me a comment to tell me how you got on, or just say hi – I LOVE hearing from you. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to see more of my everyday recipes and wellness tips.
- 250g butter - room temperature
- 100g powdered sugar
- 100g whole almonds - roasted, roughly chopped with skins
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoon ouzo*
- 1 Tablespoon rose water
- 450g all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 1kg of powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 200C/390F degrees.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Roast almonds 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to burn! Remove from the oven and roughly chop. Set aside.
- Reduce the over temperature to 180C/356F degrees.
- Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix the butter with 100g of powdered sugar for 10-20 minutes or until butter is completely white, creamy and fluffy. It should represent whipped cream!
- Add the ouzo, vanilla extract and rose water and blend.
- Fold in roasted almonds using a wooden spoon.
- In a medium size bowl sift the flour and the baking powder.
- Gradually add the flour into the butter mixture. With clean hands, work the ingredients until well combined. The dough will be soft, yet buttery.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Form 1-2 Tablespoons of dough into a small ball shape. Place onto tray and gently push the middle of the cookie with your fingertip to make a slight indentation. (helps to prevent the cookie from breaking).
- Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until just golden around the edges.
- Allow to cool slightly on the tray for 10 minutes. Refrain from moving whilst still hot as the cookie will break!
- Spray with a little rose water to dampen them slightly and dip the cookies into a bowl of powdered sugar. Roll them around to make sure that each cookie is well covered.
- Place onto large plates in a pyramid style, sprinkling with extra powdered sugar.
- Serve with coffee, tea and/or champagne.