• 250g butter made from cow’s milk, cold
• 150g almonds, roughly chopped and roasted
• 50g almonds (whole) or almond slivers, raw
• 1 tbsp rose water
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• a pinch of salt
• 400g all-purpose (plain) flour
• icing sugar for powdering
Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F. Roast the almonds. Place the 150g roughly chopped almonds on a baking tray and sprinkle with some water. Bake
them for 7-8 minutes, until roasted, being careful not to burn them. Set aside or put them in the fridge to cool.
In a blender, add the 50g raw almonds and blend, until powdered. Set aside.
In a food processor, add the cold butter and sugar; mix for about 10 seconds, until the butter is completely dissolved. Add the powdered almonds, a
pinch of salt, the rosewater and the vanilla extract; mix for 10-20 seconds, until combined. At the end, add the baking powder and flour and mix again
for 10-15 seconds.
Place the mixture in a large bowl and add the roasted almonds; blend lightly with your hands. It is important that the butter doesn’t warm up and melt.
So wait a while for the roasted almonds to cool, before adding them to the butter mixture.
Preheat the oven to 170C / 340F. Layer the bottom of 2 baking trays with parchment paper and form the dough balls.
Roll 1 tbsp of the dough into a ball, place on the baking tray and push with your finger in the middle, to form a little hollow. Continue with the rest of
the dough. Place in the fridge for 5 minutes until you prepare your next tray.
Place the baking trays with the kourabiedes on the second and fourth rack of the oven. Bake for approx. 15-20 minutes, until they have a very faint
golden tint and are cooked through. Be careful not to overbake them.
Leave them aside to cool down for a while. If you try to lift them, while they are still warm, they will break!
Spray the kourabiedes with rosewater and sift with icing sugar.
For the honey cakes
• 150g fine semolina
• 500g cake flour (soft)
• 1/2 tbsp baking powder
• 100g orange juice
• 3 tbsp cognac
• 100g sugar
• 1 tbsp powdered cinnamon
• 1/3 tsp ground nutmeg powder
• 1/3 tsp ground clove
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tbsp baking soda
• 90g water
• 125g olive oil
• 125g vegetable/sunflower oil
• 50g honey
• zest of 2 oranges
For the syrup
• 300g water
• 600g sugar
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 3 whole cloves
• 1 orange, cut in half
• 200g honey
• 200g chopped walnuts
• ground cinnamon (optional)
• ground clove (optional)
Make the syrup first. In a pan add all the ingredients for the syrup, except the honey and bring to
the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and remove from the stove. Stir in the
honey and set aside to cool completely.
Prepare the dough. Mix the semolina, flour and baking powder with a whisk to combine.
In another large bowl add the orange juice, the cognac, the sugar and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon,
clove, vanilla) and mix. Add the baking soda and whisk immediately for 5-10 seconds until the
ingredients combine and the baking soda dissolves and starts to foam. Add the water, the oil,
the orange zest and honey and whisk to combine.
Put the mixed flour, semolina and baking powder (from step 2) into the bowl with the rest of the
ingredients from step 3 and start kneading the dough, using your hands, until the ingredients
combine and the dough is smooth and soft and slightly sticky. Be careful not to overwork the
dough as they will become tough.
Preheat the oven at 180C / 356F. Layer the bottom of 4 large baking trays with parchment paper and
start shaping the honey cakes. Pinch a portion of dough about the size of a walnut – 30g / 1oz and
shape with your palms into a smooth oblong shape, like a small egg. Place on the baking tray, push
lightly the top with a fork and pierce three times on top about half way through the dough. Continue
with the rest of the dough.
Place the baking trays with the honey cakes in the oven and bake for approx. 15-20 minutes, until
they are lightly and evenly browned and cooked through. If you’ve made them bigger, you’ll need to
extend the cooking time.
When they come out of the oven, dip them immediately in the pan of cold syrup, flipping them with
a slotted spoon to absorb the syrup for approx. 10-20 seconds, depending on how syrupy you like
them. Remove them using a slotted spoon, place on a platter and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container. They will keep all through the Christmas
Recipe for honey cakes (melomakarono)
Recipe for almond snowballs (kourabiedes)