As Christmas is approaching, we all indulge in our favourite chocolates, cookies and cakes to celebrate the festive season whilst taking some time off work. As such, Greeks have a great variety of cakes and treats specifically served this period that all favourites to people of all ages. Kourabiedes are definitely one of those (pronounced kou-rah-bee-EH-thez), which are effectively the Greek version of shortbread cookies.
Their name come from the Persian Qurabiye, which means biscuit, pastry made from flour, butter and powdered sugar. Traditionally, Kourabiedes were handmade hence making them a laborious cookie to make that was primarily served in special occasions such as weddings, christenings and other similar celebrations. They would then be flavoured with rose water or blossom water and roasted almonds were also sometimes added to provide that extra touch. They would then be formed into round or crescent cookies which, after baking, and coated with confectioners’ (or icing) sugar. However, throughout the passing of time, other flavourings are now also been added in lieu of, or in combination with, rose or blossom water, such as vanilla, lemon and orange zest and even liquor or Greek mastiha in certain locations.
After the cookies are removed from the oven and slightly cooled, blossom or rose water may be sprinkled on the cookies before dusting with sugar to help the coating to stick, although this method seems not be used any more.
WHAT ARE KOURABIEDES
Kourabiedes are small almond and butter cookies sprinkled with icing sugar, and are widely considered a must-have during Christmas time. This festive dessert has become synonymous – along with melomakarona and tsoureki – of the Christmas table. It’s the perfect cookie, easy to make, tastes great and the sugar makes it look “snowy”. It is the perfect homemade treat to give or share! They are perfect in taste and each bite they melted in your mouth, making you want to eat more and more.
Nutritionally, kourabiedes are effectively similar to biscuits or cakes, as they are primarily made using sugar, flour and butter. Nonetheless, they are not meant to be eaten in “bulk”, but rather just one as a dessert. Greeks typically make a big batch of these sweets (As well as melomakarona) as they last through the whole holiday season, allowing for them to be eaten slowly and offered to family and guests alike!
HOW TO MAKE THEM
Making them can be quite trick, but following the recipe below will provide you with a useful and easy -step-by-step guide to follow:
- Blanche and roast the almonds in a preheated oven to 180o C / 350o F, for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool and then coarsely cut them with a knife or in the food processor into small pieces.
- Sieve the flour and then sieve the icing sugar, separately.
- Beat the butter with the icing sugar at low speed until incorporated and then beat at high speed for ten minutes until it becomes white and fluffy. Add the liqueur (or ouzo, brandy or rum) and vanilla.
- Stop the mixer and change the paddle to the hook or the K beater.
- Add two thirds of the flour as well as the salt and mix.
- Stop the mixer, add the almonds and continue mixing by hand, adding the remaining flour gradually until the dough is soft but not sticky on the hands.
- You can manually shape them into crescents or round balls or remove the dough on a non-stick working surface or on parchment paper and flatten the dough about 1 cm.
- Cut with a cookie cutter and place on a baking tin lined with parchment paper, spaced apart.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C / 350o F, for about 16 minutes, depending on your oven. If you are making them into balls, weigh the dough to be 30 grams each and bake them for about 18 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes.
- Spray them with blossom water then turn them over and do the same.
- Using a sieve, sprinkle some icing sugar and then turn them again. Continue sieving until they are coated and then place them in a platter.
- 150 grams (5.29 oz) blanched and roasted almonds
- 375 grams (13.3 oz) ewe’s and goat milk butter, at room temperature
- 125 grams (4.4 oz) icing sugar
- 600 grams (1.32 lbs) all-purpose flour
- 1 shot (30 grams – 1 oz) mastic liqueur, ouzo, brandy or rum
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- A pinch of salt
- 300 grams (0.66 lbs) icing sugar, for coating
- For those which are 30 grams each about, 18 minutes.
- For those which are 25 grams each about, 16 minutes.
- For those which are 20 grams each about, 14 minutes.
- The icing sugar used may be sieved and used again.
ORDER THEM ONLINE FROM THE GREEK DELICATESSEN
We are pleased to now be able to offer this delicious treat to all our customers nationwide, via the e-shop of our website. These traditional, utterly delicious kourabiedes are our favourite by far! As they crumble in your mouth the taste of butter & sugar is just so thrilling!
To order them, simply visit the dedicated page for Xmas treats on our website by clicking here, which will allow you to also explore our other festive treats available such as Tsoureki, and Melomakarona.
The Greek Deli this Xmas
Visit our dedicated e-shop and check out our plethora of delicious Greek food items available both for cooking as well as immediate consumption this festive season. The Greek Deli stocks artisanal products, including Greek juices, melomakarona, kourambiedes, tsoureki, egg dyes, olive oils, wines, cheeses, and mezedes. In addition, ready meals (such as pastitsio and gemista), sweets (such as baklava and orange cake), and Greek coffee (Loumidis) can be found in our online shop. We even stock beloved Greek chocolates and cookies. Furthermore, brands such as Lacta, Ion, Sokofreta, and Gemista cookies, as well as an impressive selection of Greek wines. You can purchase and customise our unique Greek gift boxes, with your favourite products or pre-made. One box includes extra virgin olive oil, two bottles of wine and two jars of olive paste. Along with roasted peppers, honey, chilies, and balsamic vinegar. Perfect for sending the best of Greek tastes to a beloved, close or far!
Accompanied by the very best of what Greek nature has to offer, we find our way into your homes and into your hearts. Here at the Greek Deli we have maximized our efforts so our deliveries are swift and provided in a safe and hygienic manner this Christmas.
We’d love to hear your view so do not hesitate to contact us, subscribe to this blog for free, click here to place an order, or send us your favourite recipes.