Every year in around July I make a mental note to make Kourabiedes for Christmas but sadly I am such a goldfish that, come December, I have completely forgotten. Not this year though! Thank you iPhone reminder!
Kourabiedes are Greek cookies usually seen at Christmas time, probably because they look at little like snowballs thanks to their heavy dusting of icing sugar.
They are sweet almond and butter cookies and, done right, almost melt in your mouth. This makes them highly dangerous and likely to be consumed in large volumes. But equally this makes them perfect for consuming at the ultimate time for excess: Christmas.
I’ve used ground almonds in my recipe below, but if you have blanched almonds to hand instead, use those and just chop them up before stirring them through – the biscuits will have a coarser texture but will be just as delicious.
You might argue that my Kourabiedes look a little like melting snowballs rather than actual snowballs but sadly it turns out that icing sugar coated cookies really don’t enjoy a rainy afternoon in Singapore. A little like my hair. But don’t worry, yours will be beautiful. Especially if made in the chilly UK. Happy baking!
Kourabiedes (Greek Christmas Cookies)
Makes 40 biscuits
100g ground almonds
250g butter, at room temperature
300g icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg, beaten
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/160°c fan/350°f. Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.
- Put the ground almonds on one of the baking trays and bake in the oven for about 7 minutes until lightly toasted. (you’ll reuse the baking tray so don’t throw away the parchment once you’re done!)
- Using an electric hand held or free standing mixer, beat the butter and 150g of the icing sugar until very pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes), scraping down the sides at intervals. Add the vanilla and almond extracts together with the egg and beat until well mixed.
- Stir in the flour, baking powder and ground almonds by hand until a dough forms. If your dough is a little soft, place in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up so you are able to form it into balls.
- Using heaped teaspoon-sized amounts of dough, roll the dough into about 40 balls. Arrange on the baking trays leaving about 2cm on either side of the balls to allow for spreading. Bake for 17 minutes until just slightly golden around the edges.
- Sift the remaining icing sugar onto a plate. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before coating in icing sugar in batches (they must be warm to allow the icing sugar to stick), ensuring they are all well coated. Transfer to a wire rack to cool fully. Store in an airtight container until ready to eat – they last 3 days though might need a further dusting of icing sugar before serving if you don’t eat them immediately.