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Melt in your mouth Kourabiedes

Kourabiedes with stakovoutyro


Kourabies (pl. kourabiedes), as most of you, who follow my blog, must know by now, are the Greek shortbread cookies  made during Christmas.

In the older times, before the use of the mixer, these cookies needed elaborate preparation and that was done by hand, so these were made for special occasions such as weddings, christenings and other celebrations.

Traditionally they were flavoured with rose water or blossom water.    Local butter, usually ewe’s and/or ewe’s and goat butter is used and roasted almonds are sometimes added.  They are then formed into round or crescent cookies which, after baking, are then coated with confectioners’ sugar.

Through the centuries, other flavorings have been added in lieu of, or in combination with,  rose or blossom water, such as  lemon zest, orange zest, vanilla, etc.    Liquor such as Metaxa brandy, Greek mastiha,or ouzo are sometimes added to kourabiedes.

After the cookies are removed from the oven and slightly cooled, blossom or rose water may be sprinkled on the cookies before dusting with sugar to help the coating to stick, although this method seems not be used any more.  We continue to do this in Cyprus for Loukoumia tou Gamou, our Wedding cookies.

Modern versions of kourabiedes now include other non traditional ingredients as well.

Kourabiedes with angel decoration

I have been making kourabiedes for many years and a very significant factor to have tasty kourabiedes lies mainly in the quality of butter used.

This year I made them with a butter I never used before and quite frankly I was really afraid what the outcome would be.  I asked my husband to bring sheep’s butter and instead he brought a Cretan butter called Stakovoutyro, made of sheep’s and goat milk.    Staka is the fresh cream skimmed off the top of milk and  Stakovoutyro is the buttercream (like clotted cream) made by cooking staka.  I know that all Cretan products are delicious but I didn’t know if I could use this butter to make kourabiedes.   On the back of the jar it said suitable for cooking and for desserts, so I risked making them and the result was fabulous.

If you cannot find ewe’s or goat milk butter these can also be made with regular butter, although they will lack the characteristic taste, they will still be delicious.

Kourabiedes Christmas cookies


They were perfect in taste and each bite they melted in your mouth, making you want to eat more and more.

You can get the recipe by downloading my free e-book just by subscribing to my blog.

This recipe also goes to Rosa, of Rosa’s Yummy Yums, for her even Pastries For Peace.

This recipe also goes to Susan of Food Blogga for her event Eat Christmas Cookies, Season 3

This recipe goes to Cinzia of Cindystar, for her event Baking under the Christmas Tree.

This and many more recipes are included in my cookbook  «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» but I have already posted other similar recipes for Kourabiedes.  See links below.

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.


Other related Recipes:

Amygdalota with White Chocolate

Kourabiedes with Pistachios

Kourabiedes filled with Dates & Almonds, Cypriot recipe

Christopsomo (Christmas Bread)

Christopsomo with a twist


Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to you all!!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,




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24 Responses

  1. They look delightful! Nice tree and decorations!



  2. Cookies look beautifully baked. Right in time for the festive season.

  3. These are so pretty Ivy! And I bet they are just heavenly tasting!

  4. Wow..first time I made Kourabiedes was 5 years ago??? My family loves them so much as they never ate Greek version. In my country, the Malays will made something similar called Kuih Makmur with pounded peanuts & sugar inside, then moulded into any shapes you want but most of the time, it's rounded or oval shaped. 🙂 You can compared the recipe with Kourabiedes ..it's quite similar! 🙂

  5. Wow, your kourabiedes look phenomenal. I am definitely making these. Great idea of making them with a cookie cutter.

  6. Zoe

    I have silently been reading your beautiful blog for a while and would like to thank you for all these lovely recipes you are sharing with us! I love Greek food and have made several of your recipes which were fantastic. I am definitely making these.

  7. I love these and the addition of the mastic liquor sounds lovely.
    Just in case you haven't heard, your photos are enticing!! Have a great day Ivy 🙂

  8. These look lovely Ivy, and your angel is so pretty.

  9. O your tree looks lovely Ivy … makes me miss Christmas back home … not the same at all here! The cookies look great … I am sure taste great too! I think I will do this one with my daughter tis the season for cookies of course! Merry Christmas!

  10. Nadjibella

    Je vais tester tous tes gâteaux de Noël. Ils me plaisent tous.
    A bientôt.

  11. Those cookies look wonderful!!!Great pictures.

  12. I love the first picture, so Christmasy! I love the twist you gave these cookies this time. I need to start baking my cookies soon.

  13. Love the idea it is fully covered with icing suagr which gives a real christmas feeling to it.
    They are so beautiful.
    I have never know you could have butter mixed with sheeps milk and goats milk.

  14. Thanks everybody for the lovely comments. I've been very busy these days (like everybody else) and have only some hours in evening to post and hope to be visiting all of you soon.

  15. That's a beautiful first photo! You should make it your Christmas card.

  16. Cool….I made some star cookies last year….maybe I should make some for this x'mas too! And you have a very beautiful x'mas tree.

  17. Ivy, your home looks so warm and inviting. And I love those cookies!

  18. Isn't it nice when a product we've never tried before manages to please us beyond expectation? The cookies are lovely, in their star shape.

  19. I love kourambiedes! I decided not to make them myself this year (there will be plenty when I visit family of course) but i agree the quality of butter makes a big difference. Glad your results were great, and I love your stars!

  20. How fun and festive! Love the decorations!

  21. Stakovoutyro is a wonderful butter! Women in Creatan villages make their kourambiedes with a combination of stakovoutyro and olive oil making the dough crunchy.

  22. When made well, Kourabiedes cannot be beat and with all that butter…they last a long time! Happy baking.

  23. These remind me of our ghraybeh (even the name sounds similar) which are shortbread cookies. I like the addition of mastic liqueur especially. Here we use the mastic pebbles ground with a pinch of sugar, I had no idea you could get this liqueur!

  24. mary

    with the exception of the mastic liqueur, these are exactly the way my yiayia taught my father to make kourabeides so that he could teach my mother and me. I have tried variations over the years, but this simple recipe is always always the best. And I love the star shape! Cookie cutters — what a great idea!

  25. […] Kourabiedes (Greek Christmas Shortbread Cookies) […]

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