Kourambiedes, Greek shortbread cookies

 Greek walnut shortbreads

Legend has it that these buttery shortbreads were crescent-shaped during the Turkish occupation of Greece, in deference to the Turkish flag. However, while crescent-shaped kourabiedes can still be found, after Greece regained independence from Turkey people in many parts of the country resumed making them in thick slabs, balls or shaped like little pears. No holiday or special-occasion feast would be complete without them, and they are usually on hand to offer to guests.


  • 250 gm soft unsalted butter
  • 110 gm icing sugar, sifted, plus extra, for dusting (2/3 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300 gm plain flour, sifted with ½ tsp baking powder (2 cups)
  • 90 gm walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp orange flower water

How to Make Them

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and creamy, then add icing sugar, vanilla and egg yolk and beat until well combined.
  2. Fold in combined sifted flour and baking powder.
  3. Add chopped walnuts and stir to combine.
  4. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls, then roll into 5cm lengths and form into crescents.
  5. Place crescents on baking paper-lined oven trays and bake at 160C for 15-20 minutes or until just starting to colour.
  6. Transfer shortbreads to wire racks and, while still warm, sprinkle with orange flower water and dust with icing sugar, then leave to cool.
  7. When completely cool, dust generously with icing sugar.
  8. Walnut shortbreads will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.