Christmas is nearly here and in Greece melomakarona and kourabiedes are the most popular among the sweets. It’s impossible for us to image Christmas without them.In a few days the platters will be full of them and the bakeries and confectioneries will have «white mountains» of kourabiedes,u00c2u00a0 for those who do not have the time to prepare their own.

The recipe is usually made with ewes” butter but in Cyprus we often addu00c2u00a0 spry shortening, well known in Cyprus but unknown in Greece. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0I cannot find spry in Greece, so I have adapted the recipe making it with sheep’s milk butter.

In October whenIvisitedCyprus during my last minute shopping I remembered to buy some spry but unfortunately I was unlucky because the supermarket was out of stock.

I tried to find information about spry in the internet and the only thing I found is this.

This year I made two kinds of kourabiedes. u00c2u00a0 The first one is the traditional one and the other is with dates, almonds and spices. If you want to try both, just keep half the dough without the almonds and follow the steps given at the end.

Kourabiedes, filled with Dates and Almonds, Cypriot Recipe


  • 1 tin ofspry or ½ kilo milk sheep’s butter
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup of brandy
  • 1 cup of confectioners” sugar
  • 7 – 8 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking power
  • 2 cups of blanched and roasted almonds, cut in small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of soda
  • Extra confectioners” sugar for coating
  • Blossom or rose water


Beat the butter with sugar at high speed. Reducespeedandaddeggyolksoneatatime, until mixture is light and fluffy.

Dissolve soda with brandy and orange juice and add to mixture. Beatfor 2 – 3 minutes.u00c2u00a0 Add vanilla.

Mixflourwithbakingpowder. Changethemixerpaddle to the one for dough or start kneading by hand and add flour gradually.When the dough is ready, it should be as if it needs more flour but should not be sticky on your hands.u00c2u00a0 Add the almonds and mix.

Take a small amount of dough and shape them round, oval or crescent shaped. Place in a buttered tin or lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven to 180 degrees Cu00c2u00a0 for about 30 minutes.u00c2u00a0 Allow them to cool on a wire rack.

As soon as they are ready, spray or sprinkle some rose water on them and then sieve the confectioners” sugar on both sides and place in parchment paper and let them cool.Then transfer into a platter, sprinkling some extra sugar on top.

Make one dosage of traditional kourapiedes dough (without adding the almonds in the dough).

Ingredients for filling:

  • ½ kilo of dates, stoned and finely chopped
  • 1- 1 ½ cups of almonds finely chopped and roasted
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • ¼ tablespoon of ground cloves
  • ½ tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons of rose water


Place butter dates, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a small pan and put over moderate heat until butter melts.Lower heat and continue stirring until the mixture softens and mixes.Add rose water and stir two or three times.Placemixtureinbowlandletitcooldown.Meantime prepare the dough as given for the traditional kourabiedes. Take a small amount of dough and flatten it with your hands. Place a small amount of filling and fold to cover filling. Shape as you like and proceed with procedure given in the other recipe.

Happy Holidays!
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6 u00cfu0083u00cfu0087u00cfu008cu00ceu00bbu00ceu00b9u00ceu00b1 on Kourabiedes filled with Dates & Almonds

  1. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Peter M u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    The Kourabiedes look real good and I’ve never had the stuffed ones…they sound tasty.

    I really don’t understand how some Greeks will buy a box of Kourabiedes from a bakery for 20 euros when they are so easy to make.

  2. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Ivy u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    I don’t either. Most women find as an excuse that they work and they have no time, but I think that if you like doing something you find time for it. I have been working since I graduated high school and always found time.

  3. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Laurie Constantino u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Nice looking cookies, Ivy! As for baking, at least in the village where our house is, the really is not much of a culture of baking. I think it is because until recently, people used the village oven or an outside wood burning oven, neither of which are particularly conducive to baking cookies. I bake a lot when we’re in the village, and this is unusual enough that I get lots of comments about it.

    As for Spry, at least in the United States, Spry and Crisco were pretty much the same thing: solid white vegetable shortening. It seems like I’ve seen cans of Crisco in Athens, but now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t say for sure. I agree white shortening makes good Christmas cookies — I make some every year, they are called Angel Cookies, and they are very very good. I particularly like them with cashews.

    On the other hand, Kourambiedes I’ve only made with fresh butter (from cows). They’re good too!! (And Peter, you’re right, they’re very easy and much better than what you can buy at the bakery).

  4. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Kourabiedes with Pistachios u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    [...] In Cyprus during Christmas they make the same kourabiedes as in Greece only we wet them with rose or blossom water before coating them with confectioners’ sugar.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 These, however, are also ouru00c2u00a0 traditional wedding cakes, called Loukoumia tou Gamou.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 They are much bigger than kourabiedes and are made with 1/3 flour and 2/3 semolina and are filled with au00c2u00a0 filling with roastedu00c2u00a0 almonds, sugar, cinnamon and rose/blossom water and many times they are also filledu00c2u00a0 with pistachios. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 I got the idea of making my kourabiedes from this Cypriot tradition and Loukoumia tou Gamouu00c2u00a0 are in my future plans to recreate them.u00c2u00a0 I have made kourabiedes quite differnt this year and mixed in pistachios.u00c2u00a0 u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 However, we also love kourabies with almonds so I made half of them with roasted almonds and both turned out fantastic.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 If you want a more traditional recipe, see my last year’s post here. [...]

  5. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 eva u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    thanks Ivy on enlightening me about the wedding cakes version..i had no idea they use semolina in it..what kind? super fine or more coarse? i will try it for sure!!!! thanks


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