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Greek Nut Crescents (Kourabiedes)

Greek Nut Crescents (Kourabiedes)
3 votes, 4.33 avg. rating (84% score)
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Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Hands On Time: 40 minutes

Yield: about 50 cookies

This recipe for Greek Nut Crescents appeared in February 1958 in an article by Duncan MacDonald, then Yankee’s food editor and lifestyle maven. In an article celebrating the influx of European cuisines to postwar America, she included recipes for halva (spiced semo­lina pudding), loukoumathes (honey-coated fried-dough pastries), and these crescent cookies, kourabiedes.

Essentially shortbread with nuts, they’re similar to Russian tea cakes and Mexican wedding cookies. You can make them with any nuts you like: hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, or walnuts. These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 10 days, and they also freeze well—just dust them with another coat of powdered sugar once they’ve thawed to room temperature.

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Photo/Art by Michael Piazza


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup plus 21/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups very finely chopped nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, or pecans (a food processor is ideal for this job)


Using a standing or electric mixer, beat the butter until very creamy, 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup sugar, plus the salt and vanilla, and beat well. Add the flour and nuts, and beat until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350° and position the racks in the middle, with space in between. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Break off a tablespoon-size piece of dough, roll it into a cylinder, turn it into a crescent shape, and transfer it to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until browned on the bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies gently with the remaining 2-1/2 cups of powdered sugar to coat. Repeat once cookies have cooled.

Updated Friday, November 1st, 2013

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2 Responses to Greek Nut Crescents (Kourabiedes)

  1. Jean December 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    These cookies are good and easy. Next time I make them I will only use 1/2 tsp salt. I used unsalted butter, as directed, and they are a bit too salty for me.

  2. Barb December 9, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    To make into crescent shape, roll out the dough and use an inverted juice glass, or something similar in size, to cut out the crescent shape. ( Best to make these the first week of December to allow the cookies to sit in the conf. sugar. Store in seal-tight container.

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