Almond shortbread snow balls

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Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

Whether it’s Christmas time or you’re just in the mood to make some winter sweets, these almond shortbread snow balls will be a great thing! Light and fluffy they melt in your mouth and leave you with a full flavour of roasted almonds, with the airiness of the light shortbread. Kids will love them as a special treat. These snow balls keep for a week, so they’re great to make and have around for when family and friends come round. Enjoy this traditional and moorish almond shortbread recipe.

Summary

Prep: 25 mins
Cooking: 20 mins
Ages: Toddlers to Teens
Difficulty: A bit tricky
Makes: 56 small snow balls

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

What are ‘kourabiedes’?

Kourabiedes are the Greek word for these almond shortbread snow balls and are pronounced “koo-ra-bee-ye-thes” (just in case you ever find yourself in Greece and in need of a small traditional dessert!) They are an age old recipe going back hundreds of years and have been used to mark special occasions such as Christmas, baptisms and weddings. Now they are one of Greece’s signature holiday desserts.

The secret of good kourabiedes?

Butter is king here. The fluffiness and the soft taste of these almond snow balls is all down to the butter. We have used standard butter, as this is what is most readily available. However if you do find yourself able to get hold of some high quality ‘fresh’ or ‘soft’ butter, buy it! You won’t regret it.

In Greece a number of people use sheep or goat’s butter. You can try this as well but it does have quite a strong taste to it and not everyone enjoys it. For this reason we recommend cow’s butter but if you’re feeling adventurous feel free to try out different butters and see which ones you like. There are butters that are a mix of sheep and cow’s butter which could be a happy medium. Either way the best quality butter you can get the better!

The key to the success of the recipe is in the beating of the butter. We can’t stress enough how important it is to beat the butter for 15 minutes before making these. Either use an electric mixer or prepare yourself for a serious bicep workout and do it by hand with a whisk. The butter should turn whiter in colour and be the consistency of whipped cream when it is ready.

The rest is pretty simple, so we’ll get started!

Ingredients

  • 340 grams unsalted butter
  • 50 grams icing sugar, plus 100 grams for sprinkling
  • 330 grams whole almonds (with the skin)
  • 500 grams self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Lay the whole almonds out onto a baking tray. Spread them out so that each one has its own space.
  3. Roast the almonds in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browner in colour. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t overcook. After 10 minutes remove them from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. In the meantime you can start to prepare the butter. Make sure the butter is soft, either by having removed it from the fridge a few hours before starting the recipe, or by using the oven or microwave. Be careful not to melt the butter, you just want it to be soft enough to work with.
  5. Place the softened butter in a bowl with icing sugar and beat with an electric mixer for 15 minutes on a relatively high setting. Smaller mixers may overheat and stop working after a few minutes of this so if this happens either switch to a different mixer or start beating by hand. If you don’t have an electric mixer you can do it all by hand with a strong whisk. This is the most important step of the kourabiedes recipe so it’s worth the effort! After 15 minutes the butter should have gone lighter in colour and become the consistency of whipped cream.
  6. In a separate mixer blend the roasted almonds until they become a coarse breadcrumb consistency.
  7. Add them to the whipped butter and icing sugar mixture and mix them in.
  8. Add the self raising flour a bit at a time. This is so that you can make sure that your kourabiedes dough reaches the right consistency. You’ll know when it’s ready when the mixture is crumbly but holds together in a ball when you pick it up and squeeze it in your hand, as we will do later on. Add the flour until you get to this stage. 500 grams of flour was the right amount for us.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius again. Grease two large baking trays with butter or oil spray.
  10. Take a small amount of mixture and squeeze it into a ball with your hand. Gently shape it further into a ball by squeezing it. Try to resist the urge to roll it between your hands into a ball shape, as the dough should not be sticky enough to be able to do this. It should just about hold together when compressed.
  11. Line up all the almond shortbread snowballs on the baking trays and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until slightly golden. Take care not to overcook them as they will dry out.
  12. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
  13. While still warm add the first layer of icing sugar by sieving it over the almond balls.
  14. Roll the balls around in the icing sugar until they are coated on all sides.
  15. Add a second layer of icing sugar onto them using a sieve.
  16. Carefully pick up and place them in a serving dish, ready to enjoy!

 

Almond shortbread snow balls – our step by step guide:

 

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and start with the almonds.

A great roasted almond taste is so key for this recipe so we recommend roasting them there and then so that you get the freshest, fullest taste.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

Lay the whole almonds out onto a baking tray. Spread them out so that each one has its own space.

Roast the almonds in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browner in colour. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t overcook. After 10 minutes remove them from the oven and leave to cool.

Your kitchen should already be filled with the scent of roasted almonds.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

In the meantime you can start to prepare the butter.

Make sure the butter is soft, either by having removed it from the fridge a few hours before starting the recipe, or by using the oven or microwave.

Be careful not to melt the butter, you just want it to be soft enough to work with.Place the softened butter in a bowl with icing sugar and beat with an electric mixer for 15 minutes on a relatively high setting.

Smaller mixers may overheat and stop working after a few minutes of this so if this happens either switch to a different mixer or start beating by hand. If you don’t have an electric mixer you can do it all by hand with a strong whisk.

This is the most important step of the kourabiedes recipe so it’s worth the effort!

After 15 minutes the butter should have gone lighter in colour and become the consistency of whipped cream.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

In a separate mixer blend the roasted almonds until they become a coarse breadcrumb consistency.

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

Add them to the whipped butter and icing sugar mixture and mix them in.

Add the self raising flour a bit at a time. This is so that you can make sure that your kourabiedes dough reaches the right consistency.

You’ll know when it’s ready when the mixture is crumbly but holds together in a ball when you pick it up and squeeze it in your hand, as we will do later on.

Add the flour until you get to this stage. 500 grams of flour was the right amount for us.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

Take a small amount of mixture and squeeze it into a ball with your hand.

Gently shape it further into a ball by squeezing it.

Try to resist the urge to roll it between your hands into a ball shape, as the dough should not be sticky enough to be able to do this. It should just about hold together when compressed.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

Line up all the almond shortbread snowballs on the baking trays and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until slightly golden.

Take care not to overcook them as they will dry out.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

While still warm add the first layer of icing sugar by sieving it over the almond balls.

Roll the balls around in the icing sugar until they are coated on all sides.

Add a second layer of icing sugar onto them using a sieve.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

Carefully pick up and place them in a serving dish, ready to enjoy!

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

You’ll love the light and fluffy texture of these almond shortbread snow balls.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

These little snow balls will wait around for a week and still taste great!

So they’re perfect to have around the house for when family and friends pop by.

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

 

Almond shortbread snow balls - make these delicious kourabiedes a traditional Greek dessert

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5 from 2 votes

Almond shortbread snow balls

These almond shorbread snow balls are based on a traditional Greek recipe for kourabiedes. They are light and fluffy they melt in your mouth and leave you with a full flavour of roasted almonds, with the airiness of the light shortbread. 
Cuisine Greek
Keyword almond cookies, almond shortbread, Greek desserts, kourabiedes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 56 small almond snow balls

Ingredients

  • 340 grams unsalted butter
  • 50 grams icing sugar plus 100 grams for sprinkling
  • 330 grams whole almonds (with the skin)
  • 500 grams self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lay the whole almonds out onto a baking tray. Spread them out so that each one has its own space.
  • Roast the almonds in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browner in colour. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t overcook. After 10 minutes remove them from the oven and leave to cool.
  • In the meantime you can start to prepare the butter. Make sure the butter is soft, either by having removed it from the fridge a few hours before starting the recipe, or by using the oven or microwave. Be careful not to melt the butter, you just want it to be soft enough to work with.
  • Place the softened butter in a bowl with icing sugar and beat with an electric mixer for 15 minutes on a relatively high setting. Smaller mixers may overheat and stop working after a few minutes of this so if this happens either switch to a different mixer or start beating by hand. If you don’t have an electric mixer you can do it all by hand with a strong whisk. This is the most important step of the kourabiedes recipe so it’s worth the effort! After 15 minutes the butter should have gone lighter in colour and become the consistency of whipped cream.
  • In a separate mixer blend the roasted almonds until they become a coarse breadcrumb consistency.
  • Add them to the whipped butter and icing sugar mixture and mix them in.
  • Add the self raising flour a bit at a time. This is so that you can make sure that your kourabiedes dough reaches the right consistency. You’ll know when it’s ready when the mixture is crumbly but holds together in a ball when you pick it up and squeeze it in your hand, as we will do later on. Add the flour until you get to this stage. 500 grams of flour was the right amount for us.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius again. Grease two large baking trays with butter or oil spray.
  • Take a small amount of mixture and squeeze it into a ball with your hand. Gently shape it further into a ball by squeezing it. Try to resist the urge to roll it between your hands into a ball shape, as the dough should not be sticky enough to be able to do this. It should just about hold together when compressed.
  • Line up all the almond shortbread snowballs on the baking trays and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until slightly golden. Take care not to overcook them as they will dry out. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • While still warm add the first layer of icing sugar by sieving it over the almond balls.
  • Roll the balls around in the icing sugar until they are coated on all sides.
  • Add a second layer of icing sugar onto them using a sieve. Carefully pick up and place them in a serving dish, ready to enjoy!