These melt in your mouth kourabiedes (Kourabies (pl. kourabiedes, pronounced kou-rah-be-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.
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.
They were perfect in taste and each bite they melted in your mouth, making you want to eat more and more.r
Melt in your mouth Kourabiedes
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
- 375 grams (13.3 oz) ewe’s butter, at room temperature
- 125 grams (4.4 oz) blanched and roasted almonds
- 125 grams (4.4 oz) icing sugar
- 680 grams (1.5 lbs) all purpose flour
- 1 shot (30 grams – 1 oz) mastic liqueur, ouzo, brandy or rum
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 500 grams (1.10 lbs) icing sugar, for coating
- Blanche and roast the almonds in a preheated oven to 180o C / 350o F, for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then coarsely cut them into small pieces.
- Sieve the flour and then sieve the icing sugar, separately.
- 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 and add two thirds of the flour and mix.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut with a cookie cutter and place on a baking tin lined with parchment paper, spaced apart.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C / 350o F, for about 20 – 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn them upside down.
- 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.
Note: The icing sugar used may be sieved and used again.
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 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.
If you liked my recipe pin it on Pinterest to make it later on or when you make it, I would be glad to see your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #kourabiedes or #GreekChristmasCookies .
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Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to you all!!
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,