Kourabiedes, the traditional Greek Christmas Butter Cookies, are a melt-in-your-mouth perfect holiday treat! They are sweet and buttery with pieces of toasted almonds and covered with powdered sugar. One of the most popular desserts during the holiday season, they are easy to make and difficult to resist!

If you love these Greek Christmas Butter Cookies, you will also love Trigona-Almond Pastry Triangles and Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Honey Cookies!

A glass bowl with Christmas butter cookies with two cookies on the table infant and Christmas lights at the back.

Why this recipe sings 

Kourabiedes the Greek Christmas Butter Cookies is a treat all Greeks await with great excitement. Around November, these fabulous butter cookies smothered in powdered sugar appear in pastry shops and bakeries. Kourabiedes are sweet, soft, crunchy, indulgent, and special.

This kourabiedes recipe has all the secrets to achieving fragrant, crunchy, and fluffy Christmas butter cookies. It combines recipes I have tried through the years, especially the one from the great Greek pastry chef Stelio Parliaro.

Here is what you need

All the ingredients for kourabiedes, greek Christmas cookies on a butcher block table.
  • Ghee. At room temperature. Ghee or clarified butter is the best for this recipe. You can also use unsalted butter.
  • Unpeeled whole almonds. They will get roasted and then ground into medium-large pieces.
  • Dark rum or Amaretto Disaronno. Amaretto is a sour almond liquor, great for kourabiedes.
  • Ground nutmeg. I love grinding my nutmeg from the seed. Nutmeg gives a perfect aroma to kourabiedes.
  • Powdered sugar. For the cookie dough as well as for finishing the baked cookies.
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Baking powder.
  • Rose water. A touch of rose water can be sprinkled over the cookies before rolling them in the icing sugar. Leaves a faint beautiful aroma. Optional, not shown in the ingredients photo.

Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Tips

  • The fluffier and creamier the butter mixture, the fluffier the cookies.
  • Whipping the butter with the sugar requires high speed. But as soon as we start gradually adding flour, the speed needs to be low to avoid ruining the fluffy texture of the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Kourabiedes are baked at a low temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. They should come out of the oven with a light color and without a hard texture. 
  • Spilling the icing sugar when the cookies are fully cooled is imperative. Otherwise, if the cookie is still warm, the sugar will create a layer on top that will be thick and without a pleasant taste.
  • The almonds need to be cool when added to the dough. Otherwise, the dough will tighten significantly. 
  • The dough should be soft, buttery, and pliable. Allow the dough to rest covered for 20 minutes. This will make the cookies easier to shape. 
  • It is not suggested to cut the cookies with a cookie cutter. It is better to shape them by hand due to the almond pieces. You can skip the almonds and use cookie cutters to shape them into stars, hearts, etc.

Storing

  • The cookies must be covered when not served because they quickly absorb moisture and get damp. 
  • When stored in an airtight container, they can be kept for a long time. To prevent the cookies from rubbing against each other, add parchment paper between the layers when you store them. 

Step by step

1. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes or until they get a nice dark golden color at 320°F / 160°C. Let the almonds cool. Pulse almonds in a food processor into thick pieces or break them with a mortar and pestle.

Two photos of almonds. Whole almonds on a baking sheet on the left and crushed almonds on the right.

2. Using your mixer beat the butter with the sugar using the wire whip attachment at high speed for about 20 minutes. Gradually add the flour, baking powder, and vanilla.  Continue beating at a lower speed for 10 minutes until the mixture turns white and is a fluffy white cream. 

3. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and fold in the almonds and rum.

Butter cookies on parchment papaer in a baking sheet in an oven.

4. Form cookies into a round shape with a diameter of 1.5 inches. Press lightly with your finger on the top. Place cookies on a parchment paper baking sheet. Bake them in a preheated oven at 350°F / 170° C for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size we made them.

5. Remove from the oven, and let cookies cool completely. 

Optional but great: Fill a spray bottle with rose water and lightly spray the cookies, or sprinkle some with your fingers.

6. Add the icing sugar to a large bowl. Add the cookies to the bowl with the sugar. Turn cookies around, cover them with sugar, and transfer them to a serving platter.

Kourabiedes- Greek Christmas butter cookies covered in powdered sugar on a table, a couple broken in half. At the back fading Christmas lights.

Troubleshooting

  • Why did the kourabiedes cookies pop on top? When the cookie is fluffy, it will burst slightly on top. That means that you have achieved the melt-in-your-mouth texture of soft buttery goodness.
  • Why did the cookies spread in the oven? You probably used more sugar than you should, or the oven is not at the right temperature.
  • Why did the kourabiedes mixture break before baking? Because you probably added more flour or too many almonds, the dough became tough and crumbly instead of soft and buttery.

Check out my Greek pantry staples 

Cooked this? Rate this recipe! You can also leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!

WANT TO EAT LIKE A GREEK? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

The Greek Foodie Logo.
A glass bowl with Christmas butter cookies with two cookies on the table infant and Christmas lights at the back.

Kourabiedes – Greek Christmas Butter Cookies

by Jenny | The Greek Foodie
Kourabiedes, the traditional Greek Christmas butter cookies, are sweet and buttery with toasted almonds and powdered sugar.
5 from 6 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cookie dough rest ive 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 185 kcal

Equipment

  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Food processor
  • Mixer (hand mixer or tabletop)

Ingredients
  

  • 300 grams ghee or clarified butter softened 1¼ cup = 2 tablespoons
  • 120 grams unpeeled whole almonds 1 cup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 110 grams confectioners sugar 1 cup
  • 25 ml rum or Amaretto Disaronno A little more than half a shot glass
  • 600 grams unbleached all purpose flour 4⅕ cups
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup rose water optional

Instructions
 

  • Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 320°F / 160°C. Let the almonds cool. Pulse almonds in a food processor into thick pieces or break them with a mortar and pestle.
  • Using your mixer beat the butter with the sugar using the wire whip attachment at high speed for about 20 minutes. Gradually add the flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Continue beating at a lower rate for 10 minutes until the mixture turns white and is a fluffy white cream. 
  • Remove mixing bowl from mixer and fold in the almonds and rum.
  • Form cookies into a round shape with a diameter of 1.5 inches. Press lightly with your finger on the top. Place cookies on a parchment paper baking sheet. Bake them in a preheated oven at 350°F / 170° C for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size we made them.
  • Remove from the oven, and let cookies cool completely. 
    Optional: Fill a spray bottle with rose water and spray the cookies lightly. Or sprinkle some with your fingers.
  • Add the icing sugar to a large bowl. Add the cookies to the bowl with the sugar. Turn cookies around, cover them well with sugar, and transfer them to a serving platter.
  • For serving: Often, home cooks create a pyramid shape with the cookies, sprinkling each row with extra sugar.

Notes

  • The fluffier and creamier the butter mixture is, the fluffier the cookies will be.
  • Whipping the butter with the sugar requires high speed. But as soon as we start gradually adding flour, the speed needs to be low to avoid ruining the fluffy texture of the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Kourabiedes are baked at a low temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. They should come out of the oven with a light color and without a hard texture. 
  • Spilling the icing sugar when the cookies are fully cooled is imperative. Otherwise, if the cookie is still warm, the sugar will create a layer on top that will be thick and without a pleasant taste.
  • The almonds need to be cool when added to the dough; otherwise, the dough will tighten significantly. 
  • The dough should be soft, buttery, and pliable. Allow the dough to rest covered for 20 minutes. This will make the cookies easier to shape. 
  • It is not suggested to cut the cookies with a cookie cutter. It is better to shape them by hand due to the almond pieces. You can skip the almonds and use cookie cutters to shape them into stars, hearts, etc.

Storing

  • The cookies must be covered when not served because they easily absorb moisture and get damp. 
  • They can be kept for a long time when stored in an airtight container. Add parchment paper between cookie layers when you store them so they do not rub against each other. 
Nutritional Info – Please remember that the nutritional information provided is only an estimate and can vary based on the products used.

Nutrition

Calories: 185kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 79mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 250IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @thegreekfoodie__ or tag #thegreekfoodie__
Kourabiedes - Greek Christmas Butter Cookies

Similar Posts