Kourabiedes (plural: kourabiedes / singular: kourabies) – named after the Turkish word “kurabiye” which means a cookie made of flour, butter and sugar – are delicious “snowy” almond cookies, similar to shortbreads, that are traditionally prepared in almost every Greek house just before the Christmas holidays! Usually, nowadays, they are made with butter, flour, sugar and almonds, they are baked until golden, sometimes they are flavored with rosewater and then they are rolled in icing sugar so as to form their white, snowy coating. However many years before, when the butter was not easy to find in each and every part of Greece, people still enjoyed this treat but they used virgin olive oil instead of butter as olives are abundant in our country.
Actually the recipe that my grandma used to make contained olive oil, spices and orange zest and every time she baked them, the whole house was permeated by their aromas, making us even more impatient to have our first snowy treat. Since I went vegan I always prefer to make her recipe, although I have made some tiny changes, as kourabiedes made with olive oil are much healthier and foremost they are cruelty free. So instead of white sugar I like to use the unprocessed brown sugar and instead of the icing sugar I use coconut or almond flour for a healthier snowy coating, which also gives to the recipe a distinctive aroma and taste.
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ cup brandy
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 cups (about 450 g) all purpose flour
- ¾ cup peeled almonds, ground
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups (200 gr) unprocessed brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
for the filling
- 1 ½ cups peeled almonds, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unprocessed brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ -½ cup rosewater (optional)
- 1 ½ cups (150 gr) coconut or almond flour
1. In a bowl, add the oil, sugar, brandy and lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Add in the mixture the baking powder, cinnamon, ground almonds and finally the flour, kneading with a spoon or with your hands until a soft, oily dough is formed. Usually it takes about 3 cups of flour but if the dough is not firm enough you may need to add a little more.
3. Mold the dough into a ball, cover it with a damp towel or a film and leave in a cool place to rest for at least 1 hour.
4. For the filling: In a bowl mix all the ingredients until they bind together.
5. Take small pieces of the dough (in the size of a small tangerine) and with each one of them form a disk of about ½ centimeter thickness with your hand. Place in the center 1 teaspoon of the filling and pull the ends of the dough to the center, so as to enclose the filling. Mold a little bit with your hands to seal and get the shape of a small bun.
6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Place the buns, leaving 1.5 to 2 cm between them as they increase in volume during baking. Bake in preheated oven at 175 oC for 35-40 minutes or until they get a nice golden brown color.
7. Let them cool slightly and brush them with the rosewater. This step is not necessary but it is recommended.
8. When kourabiedes are completely cool, put the coconut flour in a bowl and dip them one by one so as to form a white coating. Place them on a platter and dust with the remaining coconut flour. Keep them for several days in an airtight container or in a platter covered with film.