Kourabiedes

A Sweet-dish recipe, by Gina Lioti.

This is a healthy recipe! See why.
Two dozen Kourabiedes (shortbread balls) on a plate, sprinkled with powdered sugar
100 bite size pieces
prep
cooking
3 hours wait

Here’s why you’re going to love this

Kourabiedes originate from Persia, but since then they have taken many forms and many places make them differently. In Greece, the traditional ones are made with butter, although many contemporary recipes use margarine or sunflower oil, but the ones made with pure butter are far superior.

In some areas they are sold all year round, but during Christmas you can find them at every pastry shop - and there usually is one in almost every neighbourhood. The custom is that when you visit friends or family during the holidays, you bring them a box of kourabiedes or melomakarona (a syrupy biscuit made with semolina, cinnamon, walnuts and honey) or even better half of each.

But, as usual, homemade ones are so much better. This recipe uses only a few ingredients, so the taste is unspoiled and pure.

Ingredients

Tip: Click on ingredients to discover more recipes!

To serve ingredients:

Instructions

  1. Firstly, remove the butter from your fridge to allow it to soften, for about 3 hours. If you are in a hurry, or you forgot to take it out of the fridge, you can take two pieces of parchment paper, put the butter in the middle and with a rolling pin press it until it is a few millimetres thick.
  2. If you just leave it out of the fridge, you can prepare the almonds while the butter softens. You spread them in a baking tray and bake them at 150 degrees Celsius, for a few minutes (usually about 6-7), until golden, stirring occasionally. It is very easy to overdo them, so make sure you are constantly stirring and looking that they have not burned.
  3. When they are ready, use a mortar and pestle to smash them in little pieces. How small the pieces, depends on how you prefer them. Just think that they will be mixed in the biscuits. Leave them aside to cool off completely.
  4. Scrape the vanilla pod over a bowl where you have put your powdered sugar to add to the mix later. Stir in the vanilla a little, so that your powdered sugar absorbs some of the flavour.
  5. With a mixer on the highest setting, beat the butter until it becomes white, for about 6 minutes.
  6. Add the powdered sugar with the vanilla in the butter and beat for one or two minutes, until they become an even mix. Add your flour little by little, beating continuously, for about 6 minutes.
  7. Your dough is ready. At this point add your almonds and stir them in the dough with a spoon, until they are mixed evenly.
  8. Preheat your oven at 170 degrees Celsius and spread parchment paper on a baking tray.
  9. Take the amount of a small, bite size ball and in the palm of your hand, squeeze tightly to make it solid and dense. You can’t roll it into a ball with your two hands, as it will crumble; I found that with the one hand it is easier. Then, using your fingers, try and form a round, even ball-like shape.
  10. Put each ball on your parchment paper, leaving small spaces between them, as they will expand slightly.
  11. Bake until golden. In my oven, it took about 20 minutes.
  12. Allow them to cool completely and then (even better if you wait one day), using a strainer, sprinkle powdered sugar on a large tray or a couple of dinner plates. Place one layer of kourabiedes on top of the powdered sugar and sprinkle over them more sugar, until they are completely covered. Place a second layer of kourabiedes and sprinkle again.
  13. They are best kept in an airtight container or covered with cling film.

Final notes

You can use shelled or blanched almonds; it is a matter of preference, but it doesn't really affect their taste.

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Thank you!
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