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Melt in your mouth Kourabiedes

Melt in your mouth Kourabiedes

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These melt in your mouth kourabiedes (Kourabies (pl. kourabiedes, pronounced kou-rah-bee-EH-thez), 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 picture

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 closeup with icing sugar image

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

Kourabiedes closeup image

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!»

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.

Kourabiedes Christmas cookies image

Melt in your mouth Kourabiedes

Yield: 40 (30 grams each)
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes

Kourabies (pl. kourabiedes) 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.


  • 150 grams (5.29 oz) blanched and roasted almonds
  • 375 grams (13.3 oz) ewe's and goat milk butter, at room temperature
  • 125 grams (4.4 oz) icing sugar
  • 600 grams (1.32 lbs) all-purpose flour
  • 1 shot (30 grams - 1 oz) mastic liqueur, ouzo, brandy or rum
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • A pinch of salt
  • 300 grams (0.66 lbs) icing sugar, for coating


  1. Blanche and roast the almonds in a preheated oven to 180o C / 350o F, for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool and then coarsely cut them with a knife or in the food processor into small pieces.
  2. Sieve the flour and then sieve the icing sugar, separately.
  3. Beat the butter with the icing sugar at low speed until incorporated and then beat at high speed for ten minutes until it becomes white and fluffy. Add the liqueur (or ouzo, brandy or rum) and vanilla.
  4. Stop the mixer and change the paddle to the hook or the K beater.
  5. Add two thirds of the flour as well as the salt and mix.
  6. Stop the mixer, add the almonds and continue mixing by hand, adding the remaining flour gradually until the dough is soft but not sticky on the hands.
  7. You can manually shape them into crescents or round balls or remove the dough on a non-stick working surface or on parchment paper and flatten the dough about 1 cm.
  8. Cut with a cookie cutter and place on a baking tin lined with parchment paper, spaced apart.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C / 350o F, for about 16 minutes, depending on your oven. If you are making them into balls, weigh the dough to be 30 grams each and bake them for about 18 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Spray them with blossom water then turn them over and do the same.
  12. Using a sieve, sprinkle some icing sugar and then turn them again. Continue sieving until they are coated and then place them in a platter.


Baking time:

  • For those which are 30 grams each about, 18 minutes.
  • For those which are 25 grams each about, 16 minutes.

    For those which are 20 grams each about, 14 minutes.

  • The icing sugar used may be sieved and used again.

Nutrition Information
Yield 40 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 138Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 2mgSodium 26mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 1gSugar 12gProtein 3g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Monday 21st of December 2009

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!


Thursday 17th of December 2009

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!


Wednesday 16th of December 2009

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

History of Greek Food

Wednesday 16th of December 2009

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


Wednesday 16th of December 2009

How fun and festive! Love the decorations!

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