These traditional Greek almond cookies are dusted with confectioner’s sugar. These have the delicious flavor of toasted almonds, and have a delightfully crumbly, melt-in-you-mouth texture! Cookies will become part of your regular cookie rotation year-round, especially at Christmas!
What are Greek Almond Cookies?
Greek almond butter cookies with a crunchy-crumbly-melt-in-your-mouth texture and wonderful flavor of toasted almond. It’s similar to shortbread but more crumbly and always includes some sort of liquor, commonly Greek Metaxa, or brandy. Some regions of Greece have a tradition of embedding a single whole clove in each cookie.
Greek Almond Cookies deliberately limit the amount of sugar in the dough since the cookies are very generously dusted with or rolled in confectioner’s sugar.
Some versions of Greek Almond Cookies are shaped like a crescent – hearkening back to the days of the Ottoman Empire’s occupation of Greece.
But just as often in Greece today these cookies are rounds.
Traditionally, sugar and butter were both expensive luxury items and so these cookies were typically reserved for special occasions, most notably Christmas, baptisms, and christenings. Today almond cookies are year-round but still hold cultural significance for those special occasions.
Also, visit my healthy greek recipe: Quinoa Greek Salad: Want to Know About
Greek Almond Cookies History
Almond trees are prevalent in Greece, which is why almonds are in many Greek pastries. Almonds happen to symbolize happiness, prosperity, and new beginnings, so amygdala cookies are present at most Greek baptisms and weddings, along with other almond treats.
Although, These cookies are thought to be the Greek version of macaroons, only they’re made with almonds instead of coconut. No wonder I love them!
You can find greek almond cookies in various shapes depending on which region of Greece you’re in. Some are rolled into balls as I’ve done here, some are piped with a whole almond in the middle, and some are shaped in crescents or half moons.
Sometimes they’re unbaked and shaped like pears with a powdered sugar coating. There are so many variations of this classic greek almond cookie!
Greek Almond Cookies Recipe
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) of quality unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered/confectioner’s sugar
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1-2 tablespoons brandy (e.g., Greek Metaxa or brandy of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional if you want to bump up the almond flavor)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sliced or slivered almonds, toasted in the oven at 350 F until golden (be careful not to over-toast or the almonds will be bitter)
- powdered sugar for dusting/dredging
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar for a full 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolks and beat for another 5 minutes. Beat in the brandy and extracts, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add one cup of the flour mixture at a time into the wet mixture, beating after each addition until incorporated. Stir in the almonds. If the dough is too crumbly to form into balls knead in a little extra egg yolk.
Form the batter into roughly 1-inch balls, slightly flatten them in the palms of your hands, make a small indentation in the center with your thumb, and place them on a lined baking sheet two inches apart. Bake the cookies on the middle shelf until golden, 15-18 minutes.
However, Once the cookies are fully cooled, store them in an airtight container where they will keep for a few weeks.
While the cookies are still hot, dust a serving platter with powdered sugar and place a single layer of cookies on top of the sugar. However, Lightly sprays the cookies with some water infused with a bit of rose water and generously sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies.
Place another layer of cookies on top and repeat the process. Continue repeating this process forming a pyramid-shaped display of cookies. (Note, this display form is traditional but optional.
However, The key is simply to generously coat the cookies with powdered sugar while they’re still hot, lightly spraying with the water to enable the sugar to adhere.)
Greek Almond Cookies Nutrition
Greek almond cookies have the following nutritional facts
Saturated Fat: 5g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4g
Trans Fat: 1g
Vitamin A: 258IU
Crescent Moon Vs. Round Shape?
Let’s get one thing straight. The shape truly DOES NOT MATTER!
I have seen Greek Almond Cookies both shaped as crescents and round equally. However, to save time, a round is a way to go. If you want to make these look more fun and dippable (I recommend coffee), However, I suggest shaping them longer with a curve.
Greek almond cookies, also known as the amygdala, are traditional ones with almond flour, sugar, and egg whites, and sometimes flavored with vanilla or almond extract. However, They have a delicate, crumbly texture and are usually small rounds or crescents.
Yes, Greek almond cookies are naturally gluten-free with almond flour instead of wheat flour.
While egg whites are a key ingredient in traditional Greek almond cookies, some recipes use alternative binders such as aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) or ground flaxseed mixed with water.
These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Although, They can also be frozen for up to three months.
However, Some variations of these cookies include adding lemon zest or juice for a citrusy flavor or dipping the cookies in chocolate for an extra decadent treat. Some recipes also incorporate other types of nuts, such as pistachios or walnuts.