Kourabiedes (Greek Almond Cookies)

This traditional Greek Christmas cookie recipe was provided courtesy of one of our excellent guides in Athens.

Food is such an integral part of the Greek lifestyle, it’s no surprise there are some delicious sweets that are made especially for Christmas. Kourabiedes are special Greek Christmas cookies made with butter and almonds and dusted with powdered sugar. These melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-type cookies are a true Christmas treat: they look like they’re made of snow!

Ingredients (for approx 70 cookies):

• 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 large egg yolks
• ½ cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting (about 2 cups)
• 2 tbsp ouzo
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped very finely
• 1 lb flour (about 3 ½ - 4 cups)
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add egg yolks and confectioner’s sugar. Mix well. Add the ouzo, vanilla, and the toasted finely chopped almonds.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. With the mixer on low, add the flour to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. You don’t want to over-mix the dough because that will toughen the cookies.

Chill the dough for about half an hour to make it easier to handle and roll.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Growing up, we shaped these as crescents but they can also be made round. To make a crescent, take a piece of dough about the size of a walnut. Roll it into a log and then curl the ends in and pinch slightly to make a half-moon or crescent shape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

When the cookies are still very warm, dredge in confectioner’s sugar. (Handle them with care!) The sugar layer will almost melt and coat the cookies. After the cookies cool a bit, add another generous dusting of confectioner’s sugar.