Kourabiedes – Greek Celebration Cookies

March 21, 2015

in Cook What You Like, Cookies and Confections

Kourabiedesv1 The Art of Eating a Cookie.

(Pssst…if you’re planning a sneak a cookie, Kourabiedes are not good candidates.  Actually, any cookie covered in powdered sugar will betray you almost every time.)

Be Prepared.  Wear lightly-colored clothes, especially on top. Powdered sugar is naturally attracted to navy, black, brown and burgundy colored garments.

Face Away of the Line of Fire.  Stay out of the wind, even the slightest hint of a breeze, especially if it’s coming at you.

Position is Important.  Bend forward slightly and hold a napkin under your chin. If no napkins are within sight, cup your other hand under your chin, palm up, to catch any falling cookie parts.

Don’t Breathe.  Before picking up a cookie, relax.  Don’t inhale as you bring the cookie to your mouth and if you have to, exhale softly as the cookie melts on your tongue. Breathing with powdered sugar in your mouth can cause you to cough and create a mess on your clothes – see the paragraph above about clothes.

Hide the Evidence.  Check yourself in a mirror to ensure there’s no powdered sugar dust on you, especially if you’re trying to sneak a Kourabiedes.

Recipe: Kourabiedes – Greek Celebration Cookies

Buttery kourabiedes are Greek celebration cookies, showing up at holidays including Christmas and Easter.  At Christmas, round or oval kourabiedes are often studded with a whole clove in the center to represent the gifts brought by the Magi for Jesus.  Use the brandy or spirit of your choice.   If omitting the alcohol, adjust the vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons and add 1 teaspoon water or milk. 


  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tablespoons brandy, Greek brandy or ouzo
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds or walnuts
  • powdered sugar for coating cookies


  1. Make dough:  combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter for 15 seconds on low with a hand-held mixer.  Add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolk, brandy, and vanilla extract and mix well.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in ground almonds and then flour mixture to form a dough.  Gather together and cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to make the dough easier to handle.
  2. Make cookies:  line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.  Form dough into 1-inch balls. To shape into ovals, gently elongate dough balls into ovals about 1 1/2″ long (shaped like fat fingerling potatoes).  To shape into crescents, roll dough balls into 3″ long logs and place on prepared sheets in a horseshoe shape.
  3. Bake at 325º F: position oven racks into the center of the oven.  Bake cookies in a preheated 325º F until tops are set and bottoms are light brown, 15-20 minutes. Bake oval shapes for the longer baking time.  If baking more than one sheet at a time, rotate sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.
  4. When cookies are cool, gently roll them in sifted powdered sugar, re-rolling again before serving if desired.  Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.  Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

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