December 14 , 2022

Kourabiedes: Greek Almond Cookies

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

Kourabiedes: Greek Almond Cookies


Making merry is second nature to Greeks, and food is a big part of traditional celebrations. Like many holidays around the world, Christmas in Greece brings to mind its own festive menu. Kourabiedes, a beautiful and simple Greek Christmas cookie, might look familiar to you as they are quite similar to Mexican wedding cookies, Polvorones, Snowball cookies, Russian tea cakes, etc. You may even know the Kavala cookies of Türkiye, which have a shared origin with Kourabiedes.


What all these divine, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread style cookies have in common is plenty of butter (or lard) and nuts, plus a gorgeous dusting of powdered sugar. They look like they’re made of snow – a perfect holiday treat!


Ingredients (for a large batch, approximately 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 the cookies are just starting to get a bit of color.


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


Now these nutty snowdrops are ready to melt in your mouth. Enjoy!