Growing up, kourabiedes were my favorite Christmas cookie. They were available to us at home throughout all of December. My mother and my yiayia made sure of it!
They are a butter cookie that are studded with chopped, roasted almonds. I blanch my almonds, though you don’t have to. The batter can have either cognac or ouzo in it. I have used both. Both ways are wonderful! Spritzed with a little ouzo and sometimes rose water, and coated in a generous amount of powdered sugar. The batter is airy because it actually starts out as a buttercream because you cream the butter with powdered sugar.
You can roll them into a ball and press an indentation into the center, to catch the powdered sugar. You can also roll them into a crescent moon. Both shapes are traditional. If you wish, you can even refrigerate the batter and then roll it out to use with a cookie cutter.
No matter what, they are a hit at any holiday party!
2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
a splash of ouzo (or cognac)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup roasted & blanched chopped almonds
More powdered sugar to coat the cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Start by creaming the room temperature butter with your mixer. Then add in both the granulated and powdered sugars, as well as the vanilla extract. Beat them for a few minutes until it resembles buttercream.
Now add in the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix this again.
Add in a splash of ouzo or cognac, and almond extract. Then incorporate the almonds. Mix it all together with your mixer. Then use your hands to fully incorporate everything into the dough.
I roll them into balls and make a thumbprint indentation.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. You will most definitely smell their wonderful aroma when they are ready! When fresh out of the oven, brush them with a little ouzo.
Wait a few minutes before coating them in powdered sugar. You want to do this while they are still warm, but not hot. If the cookie is too hot, it will turn the powdered sugar yellow.
Finally sift a bit more powdered sugar on top.
Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee.
Kali Oreksi & Merry Christmas!