The perennial dividing question among Greeks during the holidays is whether Melomakarona or Kourabiedes are the best Christmas cookies. Friendships have been ruined, families torn apart… Here’s how to make the latter.


  • 100 g icing sugar (more for serving)
  • 500 g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 2 vanilla capsules
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 1 levelled teaspoon baking soda
  • 150-250 g blanched almonds (depends on how “almondy” you want your cookies)
  • 850 g (approx.) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Rose water


  1. Leave the butter and eggs out until they reach room temperature.
  2. Place your almonds on a baking sheet and roast at 200°C for approx. 10 minutes.
  3. Once cooled, chop them as finely as you like (you can even leave them whole).
  4. Start beating the butter for about 1-2 minutes on its own.
  5. Add the sugar and beat for about 10 minutes until the mixture is creamy, fluffy and whitish.
  6. Halfway through mixing, add in the vanilla capsules, nutmeg, your egg and egg yolks.
  7. In a small cup, dissolve the baking soda in the cognac and add it to the mixture (we’re not playing chemist here, don’t worry, we just want to make sure the baking soda is equally dispersed).
  8. Once the mixture is ready, take turns adding a heaped tablespoon of flour and some of your chopped almonds.
  9. As the mixture thickens, either change to a flat-bladed paddle on your electric mixer or start mixing with a spatula.
  10. Once you’ve added all the flour and almonds, let your hands take over and gently knead for a few minutes.
  11. Make sure not apply too much pressure, as we don’t want the dough to be overworked. It should be soft, buttery and easily pliable.
  12. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. If it’s hot in the kitchen, put the dough in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm up a bit so that you can shape them more easily.
  13. Roundly shape the biscuits as large you wish and place them sparsely on shallow non-stick baking trays.
  14. Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 35 minutes until they have a golden color and have “cracked” slightly on top.
  15. Dab them with rose water just as their coming out of the oven, so all the moisture evaporates with the heat, leaving only the aroma behind.
  16. Let them cool completely before dusting with icing sugar. If you add the sugar while they’re still hot it will melt and leave you with a yellowy biscuit.
  17. Place them on a festive tray to serve or in a an air-tight container where they should remain fresh for several weeks.
  18. Enjoy!