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Kourabiedes (Almond Shortbread)

“Kourabiedes” are another Christmas classic in a Cypriot kitchen. They make their appearance every December, and usually disappear within a week (at least when I am around). Even our childhood parrot would call “cookie” when he saw my mom making these cookies. The recipe is pretty straightforward. I have included lots of pictures below, partly because one of the “tricks” to this recipe is knowing when your dough is ready. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hands. So the six cups of flour below is more like a ball-park measurement than anything else. You need to add ½ cup at a time, and once you see that your dough resembles the dough in the picture below (see recipe), you are ready to move on. Traditionally, “kourabiedes” are shaped into half crescent moon shapes, or the card shape of “spades” or “clubs”. I don’t actually see why “kourabiedes” can’t be shaped into other Christmas shapes such as snowflakes, stars and bells, so I simply just rolled out the dough and used cookie cutters to make shapes. This was pretty fun, and also a lot faster than shaping the dough using my hands. Once the cookies have been cooked, it is always important to let them cool, otherwise your icing sugar will melt onto the top of the cookies. That’s about it. They are a delicious nutty (literally) version of shortbread, and go perfectly coffee and tea. Definitely worth making, not just around Christmas!

akstampLevel of Difficulty: 2/5
Preparation Time: 3 hrs (cooling time included)
Cooking Time: about 20-22 minutes
Makes about 144 small cookies


3 cups butter
1 & 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
2 & 1/2 tbs brandy
1 tsp liquid vanilla extract
2 & 3/4 cups coarsely chopped roasted almonds
roughly 6 cups all purpose flour (or less or more flour as is needed per the instructions below)


1. Preheat the oven to 176C.

2. With a mixer (or hand mixer) beat the butter and icing sugar together for about 10 minutes, until the butter turns a light yellow colour.

3. Continue to mix and add the egg yolks. When the egg yolks have been incorporated, add the brandy. Continue to mix well incorporated, about another 5 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, add your vanilla and nuts. Then add the butter mixture. Begin to mix with your hand, adding the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to mix with your hands.steps The mixture will be very sticky at the beginning, but should become less sticky as you add more flour. Continue to add flour until the mixture holds together and does not stick to your hands. It should look like the last “Step 4″ picture below.

5. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Do not work the dough too much, as this is not good for the cookies. With a cookie cutter, cut out shapes from the dough.step5

6. Place the cookies on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 20 to 22 minutes. The cookies should be a very light golden brown colour.

7. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool.

8. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top to cover the cookies and enjoy!kourapiedes-9459

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