Koorabia – A Christmas Cookie Favorite

Reader Sara Raymond wrote recently when she noticed we didn’t have a Koorabia (Kourabia)  cookie recipe on our website. She noted that it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Kindly, she offered her family’s recipe for us to share with you. Thanks, Sara!

Note: This recipe was not tested in our kitchen, but I’m sure it will please the fussiest sweet-tooth.

Read Sara’s message, and give her family recipe a try. She says her mother ALWAYS uses Crisco instead of butter, and they turn out fine every time.  The cookies should not be chewy or tough; they should just melt in your mouth when you eat them. (Sorry, no photo at this time.)

“Hi Robyn —
I have been enjoying your blog quite a bit! I skimmed through it yesterday looking for a recipe for cheese boreg (which I found — thank you!) and also for koorabia. I didn’t see a koorabia recipe, so I thought I would share my family’s recipe. It wouldn’t be Christmas without these cookies, that’s for sure!

From Aunt Marina and Sophia Toroian (my maternal grandmother)

1 c sugar
1 c Crisco or butter (or half cup of each)
2.5 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 drops brandy
Garnish: candied cherries in red and green, cut in to quarters

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Cream the sugar and Crisco/butter together. Take your time with this, as if you go too fast, the cookies will be tough.
3. Add flour and salt slowly, and the drops of brandy.
4. Roll the dough into long ropes, about the width of a finger.
5. Cut the ropes into lengths about 1 1/2 or 2 inches long. Pinch each end of the lengths and push towards the center, so that each length forms an “S” like shape.
6. Decorate each “S” with a slice of cherry.
7. Place in the oven to bake. Check cookies after 15 minutes. Depending on your oven, baking may take a bit longer. Cookies should not brown! Take them out of the oven when they become stiff to the touch.

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  1. Ara December 18, 2010 at 5:36 am

    My mother, who is a pretty good cook, struggled with these cookies for a long time. If I remember correctly, one trick is to add the flour to the butter/sugar mixture by hand, being careful not to knead too much. The finished cookies are supposed to be crumbly and flaky, like powder held together by love 🙂

  2. Anonymous December 18, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Thank you for your contributions to this blog. You are a good friend to this blog as well as to Robyn and Douglas Kalajian.
    Good Wishes to All for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

  3. Robyn December 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Ara, your description of these cookies couldn't be more accurate. My kourabia recipe will appear in a few days, and I, too, use my hands to caress the dough.
    Ditto to what anonymous wrote above!

  4. Mari Mansourian December 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    love these cookies and if you ask me it isn't baking till you get your hands in it 🙂


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