Greece: Kourabiedes (Clove Cookies)

Kourabiedes, traditional Greek cookies, is one of the two kinds of cookies that are traditionally consumed in large quantities in Greece during the holiday season. The other is Melomacarona. Kourabiedes (kou-ra-bi-ETH-es)', is the plural of the word Kourabies (kou-ra-bi-ES).

Legend has it that these buttery shortbreads were crescent-shaped during the Turkish occupation of Greece, in deference to the Turkish flag. However, while crescent-shaped kourabiedes can still be found, after Greece regained independence from Turkey people in many parts of the country resumed making them in thick slabs, balls or shaped like little pears. No holiday or special-occasion feast would be complete without them, and they are usually on hand to offer to guests.


2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tbs brandy
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups flour
1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped
1 lb confectioners sugar (for coating)

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup confectionrs sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating continuously. Add the brandy and vanilla. Blend in the almonds and flour, one cup at a time, with a wooden spoon or your hands. Use just enough flour to get a firm dough.

Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Shape the dough into balls, approximately 1inch in diameter. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten them slightly and then placed on greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. While they are still hot, roll each cookie in the confectioners sugar and return to the cookie sheet. Repeat this step once more so that there is a thicker coating of the confectioners sugar.

Place the coated cookies on a platter, liberally sprinkling each layer and the bottom of the platter with confectioners sugar. Let cool.

To store: Kourabiethes will keep for several months if stored in airtight containers. Make sure there's a dusting of powdered sugar on the bottom of the container, then layer cookies as above, each layer with a covering of sugar. Wait one day after baking to cover with an airtight lid.

TIP: Try using ouzo or scotch instead of the brandy. You can also use almond extract rather than the vanilla extract.

Yield: Approximately 30 cookies

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this helped a lot thanks!

From Aidan Ford