I like baking these Mediterranean Almond Cookies. They are easy to make, taste delicious and don’t require a lot of effort. As far as I know, almond cookies are famous in Italy and Greece as well as other Mediterranean countries. In Greece they’re called Kourabiedes and they’re popular during Christmas, Easter and weddings. In Italy they’re called Amaretti or Biscotti. They’re usually covered in powder sugar or confectioner’s sugar.
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I like making these cookies the traditional way and I usually spare no white confectioner’s sugar to add on top. However, my trick is that for special occasions I add some powder food color to confectioner’s sugar in order to give cookies a festive color.
Usually I make them in half moon shape or just a round shape, however for Valentine’s I used some hearts and lips cookie cutter shapes. My son finds the shapes completely adorable and wants me to bake again a double batch so he can take these cookies to school next week for his friends:). Let’s see how long this traditions lasts:).
Cookies with Cognac or Brandy
As you’ll notice in the recipe below, I use a shot glass of cognac or brandy to make these cookies. I usually let everyone know visiting my house that the cookies have liquor inside and it has never been an issue. I don’t add the shot of liquor when I make them for school functions. It was a natural thing for us growing up in the Mediterranean having cake or cookies that had a shot of alcohol in them. You can feel it if you try the raw cookie dough, but it seems to evaporate while baking because I don’t feel it once the cookies are baked. However, I know not everyone agrees with that so I prefer letting all my guests know. I also make it very clear they’re almond cookies in case anyone has any nut allergies.
Food Coloring and Cookie Shapes
I tend to use confectioner’s sugar for several recipes and quite often I’ll recycle a favorite recipe and change the outside color to match the festivities. Or I’ll use different cookie shapes to have Valentine’s hearts or Christmas tree forms. See below some of the items I use to help me achieve color/shapes:
Mediterranean Almond Cookies Recipe
This is a simple family recipe that has evolved over time between my mom and myself.
- Our recipe from back home has almost double the butter I’m using below, it makes the cookies really soft. They really do taste amazing with that much butter, but I try to keep it to a decent butter amount that won’t affect the taste much and won’t clog our arteries either:). Feel free to add as much as you like though, especially if you are going to use this recipe once a year for Valentine’s or Christmas.
- If you are sensitive to alcohol, please use an almond extract white grape juice. If using the almond extract, add that to one shot of water so you can keep the same consistency of the dough.
- Butter has to be room temperature, don’t microwave because it will turn into liquid. You just want it to be soft.
Please see below a picture of all ingredients before I started making the cookies:
See below almond flour created after blending the almond slices. I use the Pulse function in my blender to really grind the almond slices.
Mediterranean Almond Cookies
- 1 butter stick unsalted
- 3 eggs I use 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks, then I store the remaining egg whites for breakfast next day
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 150 g sliced almonds
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 shotglass cognac or brandy
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 lb confectioner’s sugar please note that if you are using this recipe list for calculating calories, you have to use only 3 tbsps of powder sugar instead of the whole pound.
- food coloring optional or as desired
- Blend the almond slices. I use the pulse function in the blender until i get a powder almond mix. These functions vary from blender to blender, so please see which function in your blender would give you the best result.
- Add baking soda to flour, mix well and put aside.
- I use a hand held mixer to beat eggs and sugar together. Once smooth, then add softened butter and keep mixing. Then add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and cognac and keep mixing well.
- Finally add almond mix and flour. At some point the mixer doesn’t work so well, so you might have to mix the final stage of the cookie dough by hand. Once you have a homogeneous dough, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the chilled dough in a thin layer. Cut with cookie cutter shapes of choice. You can also just roll by hand in a ball shape. I sometimes use a little extra flour to avoid the pin sticking to the dough.
- Bake cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (about 175 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
- Let the cookies cool down in a rack for about 30 minutes.
- Mix confectioner’s sugar with the food coloring of your choice. You can just keep it white which is the traditional way of making these cookies.
- Roll the cookies in the mix and put them aside. Add some more powder sugar on top of the cookies before serving. This recipe made 20 cookies for me using the cookie cutters i had, that might vary a bit depending on what you are using to shape your cookies.
- If you’re going to use food coloring, please take this note into consideration. The colors tend to run into each other, so you have to be extra careful while if you use only one color you have a bit more freedom. Also, you can add a bit more sugar to the cookies as you serve them. The powder food coloring really stains, my kids get pink fingers when they eat the pink cookies.
- I use the red color more than the pink because with red I can achieve either a red finish or a pink finish depending on how much I add to the confectioner’s sugar.
If you like this recipe and would like to save it for later, please pin the below image to Pinterest. Feel free to contact me with questions or tag me in social media if you made this recipe. Thank you:)
Below is an old picture collage from when I was still taking pictures with my phone. However, if you came to land on my blog because of this old picture from Pinterest I still wanted to keep this here so you knew it’s the same recipe.
Recipe was first published on February 2019 and updated with new pictures on 01/28/2020. Thank you for following along:)