Channeling My Inner Paula Deen with Kourambiedes (Greek shortbread cookies)

December 16, 2007 · 11 comments

in desserts/sweets,greek

Any recipe that starts out with one pound of butter has got to be good. I’m sorry, but it’s just a fact. Kourambiedes are another one of my favorite cookies. They are basically the Greek’s version of shortbread cookies, and are rolled in powdered sugar. The cookies are really similar to Mexican wedding cookies/Russian tea cakes. If you were thinking maybe the pound of butter wasn’t rich enough, then surely the dousing of the cookies in powdered sugar adds that extra sweetness you want :)

The last time I made these, we were out of ouzo and brandy, so I used about 1 tsp. of almond extract and they were still really good, and more almond-y. I say this in case you tend not to keep liquor around the house and want to know if something can be substituted.  But today, I went the traditional route since I have a just-opened bottle of ouzo in the liquor cabinet.

I’m submitting these cookies over to Susan at FoodBlogga who is hosting a Christmas cookies event. New cookies are being added constantly, and I have been drooling over a large portion of them for days.


makes about 4 dozen
Printer Friendly Recipe

1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 shot ouzo, brandy, or cognac
3.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2/3 cup roasted and crushed almonds
additional confectioners sugar, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350.

Beat the butter until very creamy, a good 10-15 minutes. Add the sugar into the butter until incorporated and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, one a a time, until well incorporated and finally, mix in the vanilla and the ouzo.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture slowly, until incorporated and a relatively stiff dough forms. Add more flour, if necessary. Knead in the almonds, and knead the dough 5 or 6 times.

Using tablespoon sized portions, roll the dough into whatever shape you want (I did crescents; in my family, crescents, rounds and esses were the most popular) and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for about 24 minutes or until done. Cookies should be slightly browned, but not too dark.

Let the cookies cool for ten minutes or so before rolling in powdered sugar.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

tcmaryf November 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

My very fav cookie to make and eat. My kids used to tell ev one “please don’t breathe in” you might choke on the powdered sugar. Somewhat of a good warning, I think. One needs be careful not to choke on it. I went looking for this post, wanted check out your recipe in time for Christmas.


Lisa December 12, 2011 at 6:46 am

Want to make these but wondered where the cream is in the recipe. Instructions say add the the cream and sugar together after beating the butter. I love Kourambiedes since marrying into a Greek family.


elly December 12, 2011 at 7:27 am

There is no cream added, you just cream the butter into the sugar. I’ll make the instructions a little clearer.


vicky March 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Elly, i wondering if i could put rum instead of brandy or ouzo?


elly March 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I’ve never tried but I think it would be okay, and I’d probably use a lighter rum. You could also use rosewater (though I’m assuming you probably don’t have that around. :D)


vicky March 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm

oh yes i do have rose water , i am bulgarian-armenian.. we use tons of rose water. Maybe i can make 2 portions with run and other half with rose water…Thanks for the tip.


vicky March 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm



elly March 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Hope you like them!


Barbara December 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Is it normal to have a recipe where the eggs are used as an egg wash to top the cookies before going in the oven? It’s my yiayia’s, and now, i am hesitant in using it because the last time i baked her recipe was 3 years ago and i don’t remember how i used the fact, it calls for two egg yolks, not even whole eggs.


elly December 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I’ve never seen it personally, Barbara. My yiayias use egg washes for things like koulourakia, but not kourambiedes.


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