Kourabiethes: Greek Shortbread Cookies With Almonds

Kourabiethes - Greek Shortbread Cookies with Powdered Sugar and Almonds

Lynn Livanos Athan

Prep: 50 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 40 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
171 Calories
12g Fat
14g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 40
Amount per serving
Calories 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 194mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 2g
Calcium 36mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A Greek family celebration wouldn’t be complete without the delightful buttery goodness of kourabiethes (koo-rah-BYEH-thes).

These are very rich cookies (as are most shortbread cookies) yet somehow lighter and melt-in-your-mouth good. Be sure to make extra because these will go fast!


  • 1 pound unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ouzo
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (toasted and chopped very finely)
  • 1 pound cake flour (about 3 1/2 to 4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Optional: whole cloves for decoration
  • Garnish: 2 cups confectioners' sugar for dusting

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add egg yolks and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Mix well. Add the ouzo, vanilla, and the toasted chopped almonds.

  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. With the mixer on low, add the flour to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. You don’t want to over mix the dough because that will toughen the cookies. Chill the dough for about half an hour to make it easier to handle and roll.

  5. Heat the oven to 350 F. Have ungreased baking sheets at the ready.

  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Take a piece of dough about the size of a walnut, roll it into a ball, and place on the cookie sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Alternatively, roll the walnut-sized piece of dough into a log and then curl the ends in and pinch slightly to make a half-moon or crescent shape.

  7. Stud each cookie in the center with an optional whole clove and bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

  8. When the cookies are still very warm, dredge in confectioners' sugar. (Handle them with care because they are fragile.) The sugar layer will almost melt and coat the cookies. After the cookies cool a bit, add another dusting of confectioners' sugar.

  9. After the cookies cool a bit, add another dusting of confectioners' sugar. Store in a covered container with a light dusting for confectioners' sugar for up to one month.


Kourabiethes are delicious served with tea, coffee, or a glass of ouzo. For the kiddies, a glass of milk would be in order. Since these cookies store well, they are a great make-in-advance treat that would be perfect for a sweets table. Be sure to remove the whole clove before consuming!