Kourabiedes are traditional Greek butter cookies with loads of powdered sugar. I grew up eating them and am so excited to share my mother's/grandmother's recipe with you.
These cookies are delicate, buttery, and go perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. You'll love making them, eating and sharing them!
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What are Kourabiedes?
Growing up, my mom and grandma made kourabiedes for special occasions, someone's birthday or a family get-together. The recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies, so we always had some to take home or freeze, which worked out well for everyone involved!
My mom and her family are originally from Greece and this is the way she makes her Kourabiedes. It's a simple recipe and very easy to make. These cookies are essentially butter cookies heavily doused in powdered sugar.
I have learned since doing some research, that many Greeks make Kourabiedes for Christmas. And, I learned that they are frequently made into crescent shapes or rounds.
My mom and grandma always made these Greek cookies using the same fluted diamond-shaped cookie cutter. And so that's how I'm bringing them to you!
My sisters and I found out when searching for these cookie cutters for ourselves, that the diamond was actually originally part of a set of playing card cookie cutters. The set included a heart, spade, diamond and club.
Kourabiedes can be made with or without almonds. Personally, I prefer the cookies without almonds and that's the way I've made them. I put a note in the recipe that the almonds are optional.
While researching how other people make Kourabiedes, I discovered that some use egg yolks instead of egg whites and some included brandy. My mom/grandma made their Kourabiede cookies without brandy.
I, however, decided to add brandy in and we are all so glad I did. It changes the flavor in a good, but subtle way. You can, of course, leave the brandy out if you choose.
Other than these two minor changes, I stuck to the original recipe for Kourabiedes Greek cookies I grew up with. I included a photo below of my mom's handwritten recipe for fun!
As you can see, her recipe, like many handwritten, passed-down recipes, doesn't contain a lot of detail.
I included more detail in my instructions below to help those who haven't made these before; or had the benefit of watching their mom / grandma make them time and again!
Ingredients needed to make Kourabiedes Cookies
Hers is a list of ingredients you'll need to make these Greek cookies:
- Butter: My mom's original recipe says sweet butter. This refers to unsalted butter. Be sure you remove it from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to baking. This will help the butter incorporate well into the other ingredients
- Vegetable Oil: yes, oil and butter both in these cookies. The oil helps to keep the cookies moist
- Brandy: You can choose to forego the brandy, however, I would highly recommend keeping it. It adds a nice flavor to the cookies
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered Sugar: As you can see from the photos, this recipe uses a lot of powdered sugar! ½ cup goes into the batter and the rest is used to cover the cookies after they are baked. Using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar helps give these cookies their characteristic softness
- Egg white: using just the white of the egg helps keep these cookies delicate, while still giving them structure. I have seen some Kourabiedes recipes that use egg yolk instead of egg white. This would result in a richer cookie that's not quite as delicate
- Baking powder
- Flour: as you'll see in the recipe, these cookies call for sifted flour. While sifting your flour before adding it to the dough may seem unnecessary, it helps to keep the dough light and produce a delicate cookie. I highly recommend taking the time to sift
- Almonds (optional): as mentioned above, almonds are completely optional. If using, chop them very fine before adding to the cookie dough
How to Make Kourabiedes
Then add in the sifted flour and baking powder, mixing just until combined. If using almonds, add them in at this point.
My mom refrigerates the dough first then rolls it out. I choose to roll out the dough first, as I find it easier to roll it out while room temperature. Cutting out the shapes while the dough is somewhat chilled is also easier, given how delicate the dough is.
To roll out to the dough, place a large piece of parchment paper on a clean surface. Dump the dough onto it then place a second piece of parchment on top of the dough. Press down gently with your hands until the dough is about an inch thick.
Transfer the dough, sandwiched between the two sheets of parchment, on a baking sheet and then in the fridge for an hour.
If you choose to refrigerate the dough then roll it out once it's chilled, be sure to heavily flour the work surface to prevent the cookies from sticking.
Once the dough has chilled, remove the top layer of parchment paper. Dip your cookie cutter into flour and cut out the shapes.
Be sure to dip the cookie cutter in flour before cutting each shape. Otherwise the dough will surely stick to the cookie cutter.
Using a spatula, carefully slide it under each cookie and transfer the shapes to baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. The parchment under the cookie dough helps create a non-stick surface, making the cookies easy to transfer.
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
Looking for more cookie recipes like this one? Give these a try:
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Watch how to make these Kourabiedes
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg white from one large egg
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup finely chopped almonds (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, add butter and vegetable oil. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
- Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the brandy, vanilla, ½ cup powdered sugar, and egg white. Beat on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and continue beating for 30 seconds more.
- With the mixer off, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Then add in flour and baking powder. Mix on low until just combined.
- Add in almonds, if using, and mix for 15-20 seconds on low.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper on a flat surface, and dump dough out onto it.
- Place another piece of parchment paper or wax paper on top of the dough and press down gently until the dough is a couple of inches thick.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on top of parchment/wax paper until it’s about ½ inch / 1.25 cm thick.
- Slide the dough sandwiched between the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF / 190ºC. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and peel off the top piece of parchment paper.
- Using a cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut out shapes and carefully transfer them to the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
- Continue dipping the cookie cutter into flour between each shape you cut out.
- Bake 10-12 minutes in a preheated oven, rotating the trays front to back and top to bottom halfway through.
- Remove the cookies from the oven when they have just started to brown at the edges.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the trays for 15-20 minutes.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar over top of the cookies until thoroughly coated.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week
- Cookies may be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature for 1 hour before serving
- Recipe inspired by and adapted from my mom and my grandma
SAVE THIS RECIPE FOR LATER! PIN THE IMAGE BELOW TO PINTEREST
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