Christmas cookies are a worldwide tradition and these Kourabiethes (or kourampiedes) are the Greek version of traditional Christmas butter cookies/biscuits.
Kourabiethes, Greek Christmas Cookies
Kourabiethes are those gorgeous little Greek Christmas biscuits that are very much a type of shortbread so they tick all the boxes for this blog being both Greek biscuits but based on good old fashioned Scottish shortbread, what could be better!
You find them in every bakery in Greece on the run-up to Christmas. When you visit friends you are sure to be offered them with your Greek coffee.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without biscuits, cookies, mince pies and other gorgeous sweet treats to keep you going between all the other food we manage to pack away during the festive season.
The Christmas cookie is of course a must-have. You have to leave something sweet and tempting for Santa to nibble on along with his shot of whisky by the fireplace.
Whether you make Christmas cookies to hang on the tree in star, heart or gingerbread man shapes. Or you box up different types of biscuits to give as gifts. These sweet treats are a Christmas classic.
Scottish shortbread is synonymous with this time of year, traditionally being the gift of the First Footer at New Year.
Shortbread pops up all over the world and this Greek cookie is really a type of shortbread too. Melt in the mouth perfect it is another fabulous biscuit to add to your repertoire of sweet treat recipes.
I always like to make these Kourabiethes to take round to friends when going out for supper and I sometimes pack a little box of them into my foodie hampers to give to friends.
However, very often they don’t even make it out of the kitchen as we eat them all first!
Greek cookie shapes
Kourabiethes can be made in little rounds or are very often presented in half-moon shapes. Either way, they are always drenched in icing sugar which makes them look so Christmassy.
These Christmas cookies pack a punch in the flavour department too because they contain a little Ouzo or Greek brandy (Metaxa). You can use whatever hooch you like or just leave it out.
Ingredients for kourabiethes
Unsalted butter, caster sugar, 1 egg yolk, vanilla extract, baking soda.
Brandy or Ouzo, plain flour, a pinch of salt and ground almonds.
Finally, icing sugar for that all-important festive snow-like dusting.
How to make kourabiethes
Start like many a bake by beating together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Now add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat.
Mix the baking soda with the Ouzo or Metaxa (or whatever hooch you are using) and add this to the mixture.
Now sift in the flour and beat again.
Wrap your finished dough in clingfilm and pop it into the fridge to firm up a bit.
Now you can either pull off pieces and make little balls to bake as round cookies. Or you can make little sausage shapes out of the cookie dough and curl then into crescent shapes.
Or you can roll out your Greek cookie dough and cut out those lovely crescent moon shapes.
Bake, cool a little and drench in icing sugar.
How long will Kourabiethes keep?
They will keep like any other shortbread for up to five days in an airtight container. Quite honestly they never tend to last that long whenever I make them.
Can you freeze Greek Christmas cookies?
Yes, just like good old Scottish shortbread these Christmas cookies will happily freeze for up to three months. Remember to wrap well and store in a freezer proof box.
How to serve your Kourabiethes
Traditional Kourabiethes are served alongside Greek coffee. However, like any Christmas cookie they should be served with love any way you like.
Just like shortbread they are good served alongside a simple ice-cream or fruit dessert for a bit of light as air buttery crunch.
This is my last recipe before Christmas so I hope you all have a super time and enjoy all the festive food and most of all the great company of family and friends.
May all your Christmas wishes come true.
PS I think Santa might like one or two of these Kourabiethes Greek biscuits left out with the drink and carrot on Christmas Eve. What cookies will you be leaving out for him?
Looking for more Christmas cookie ideas? Then check out these recipes before you go;
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Kourabiethes Greek Christmas Biscuits
- 112 g/3 1/2oz unsalted butter
- 75 g/3 oz caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tbsp Ouzo or Brandy
- 250 g/9 oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 75 g/3 oz ground almonds
- Icing sugar to cover
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas4 and line a baking tray with parchment
- Beat together the butter and sugar till fluffy
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix well
- Mix together the baking soda and Ouzo or Brandy then stir this into the mixture
- Sift in the plain flour and pinch of salt to your mix
- Knead the mixture
- Add the ground almonds and knead again
- Wrap the dough in cling film and set aside in fridge for 30 minutes
- Roll out to 1/2" thick and using a half moon cookie cutter cut out your shapes (stars look good too). Or you can just roll into small balls or small sausage shapes and curl slightly to get the crescent shape.
- Bake for approx 20 minutes till golden but not brown
- While still warm sift over icing sugar