This time-tested recipe for Kourabiedes will get you in the holiday spirit in no time!
It’s time for the Greek Christmas cookie battle. In one corner we have Melomakarona — honey walnut syrup soaked spice cookies. And in the other we have Kourabiedes — festive almond flavored powdered sugar butter cookies. Choosing between these two confections is one of the most difficult parts of the holiday season. But why even choose? Luckily you can bake (and eat) both.
Even though I am having a long standing love affair with Melomakarona, Kourabiedes were my absolute favorite cookie growing up. (Because my mom never baked Melomakarona.) We devoured Kourabiedes for Christmas (where you’ll find them most traditionally) and Easter, and on every cookie table at every Greek wedding and baptism. When you make them correctly, the sugar and butter just melt in your mouth and you have to immediately go back for more (unless you’ve already stuffed a stash in your purse). They are perfect with coffee or tea. I like to eat them for breakfast as well.
Is there anything better?
These festive biscuits most likely ended up in Greece because of the Ottoman occupation. In Turkey you’ll find similar crescent-shaped shortbread cookies dating back to the 15th century. But we are Greeks, so always roll ours out round.
Origins of this recipe
This recipe, much like my recipe for Koulourakia, is based on one from our dear family friend Andriana Skinner. The only difference is that hers did not have almonds or almonds flavor. In Greece these cookies are traditionally made with almonds. Because of that my mom added in the almond extract to compensate for not using actual ground almonds.
Tricks to perfect Kourabiedes
If you want to bake perfect Kourabiedes follow these two tips.
1) Do not add too much flour. If you’re using an electronic mixer, stop adding in flour once the dough cleanly separates from the side of the mixing bowl. It should be a soft dough. Remember these melt in your mouth; they’re not supposed to break your teeth!
2) Hit them with sugar when they are warm, so it soaks in. That means removing them from the cookie sheet to a surface that is dusted with powdered sugar. Once they’re down then dust them on top. Reserve even more powdered sugar to dust them with right before you serve them. Is that enough powdered sugar??? Probably not.
Either way, there’s nothing more festive than endless cookies throughout the holidays. Where do you fall on Melomakarona vs. Kourabiedes? Let me know in the comments.