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Kourabiedes and melomakarona cookies for sweet Christmas holidays

24 December 2013 / 15:12:10  GRReporter
8100 reads

In Greece, the coming of Christmas is not connected with the decoration of homes and streets alone, it smells of honey and cinnamon and is covered with soft white icing sugar. These are the main ingredients of the two types of sweets without which Christmas is not Christmas, namely kourabiedes and melomakarona cookies.

Although the cake shop[sare full of them weeks before the holiday, every self-respecting housewife faces the challenge of serving to her family and guests homemade sweets. But before I present the recipes for the most delicious kourabiedes and melomakarona, I will tell you their stories.

Firstly, we should note that they are made with fresh butter, which is the main factor for their successful or unsuccessful preparation. The cookies originated from neighbouring Turkey, as shown by the origin of their name "kurabiye". However, the most probable place of their origin is the Middle East, where there is a variety of similar sweets even today.

"Kurabiye" in Turkish means "dry biscuits" to which almonds, walnuts and plenty of icing sugar have gradually been added to obtain the Christmas look we know today.


These cookies are of Greek origin and date back to antiquity. The first component of their name is the word "meli", honey, but the second has nothing to do with macaroni, despite the apparent association.

The etymological origin of the word is related to the use of the word "makaronia" in the Middle Ages. It was associated with the funeral supper, during which the relatives paid their last respects to the deceased. The pie that the relatives gave to the people after the funeral was called "makaria". Over the years, housewives have gradually added to them a lot of sweet syrup and honey to turn them into today's melomakarona.

It is worth noting that in ancient Greece honey was a symbol of prosperity and creativity. Its use as an ingredient in the preparation of melomakarona symbolizes all the things that we want the New Year to bring. So, at least theoretically, the more melomakarona we eat, the better the New Year will be for us.

Perfect kourabiedes - Stelios Parliaros’ recipe
300 g butter
125 g almonds
½ tsp baking powder
1 pinch of vanilla
110 g icing sugar
25 g dark rum
600 g flour
icing sugar to dust the cookies

Method of preparation:
Beat the butter and icing sugar for about 20 minutes, by mixer and at high speed. It is important to beat the mixture well to achieve a good result.

Meanwhile, roast the almonds at a temperature of 160°C and then chop them into large pieces.

Gradually add flour, baking powder and vanilla to the mixture of butter and icing sugar and beat by mixer again. Add the almonds and rum and continue to beat for another 10 minutes.

Shape the mixture into round cookies and bake in a preheated oven (170° C) for 15-20 minutes until ready.

Leave to cool and dust with plenty of icing sugar.

Perfect melomakarona - Argyro Barbarigou’s recipe

240 g sunflower oil
240 g olive oil
50 g cognac
160 g fresh orange juice
1 tsp baking soda
200 g sugar
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Rind of 2 oranges, grated
900 g flour
2 tsp baking powder

For the syrup:
400 g sugar
400 g water

Method of preparation:
Put the olive oil, sunflower oil, cognac, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and the orange rind in a deep bowl. Dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice and add to the mixture. Beat with a handwhisk and add the flour, previously sieved with the baking powder.

You do not have to vigorously beat the mixture, as the dough should be soft and oily.

Shape into oval cookies and bake in a preheated oven (160° C) for about 25 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the syrup. Bring the water and sugar to the boil and allow to boil for another 3 minutes. Remove the foam that has formed and leave the syrup over low heat to keep warm.

Dip the already cold cookies into the syrup for about 20 seconds (if the cookies are larger dip them for longer) and then cover them with the crushed walnuts. It is very important to dip cold cookies into warm syrup.

We wish you all a delicious and Merry Christmas!

Tags: RecipesChristmas sweetsCookiesMelomakarona Kourabiedes
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