Kourabiedes: Perfect Christmas Cookies from Greece
If you spend your winter in Greece there is a very high chance that you will taste this delicious Christmas treat known as kourabie. In fact, together with melomakarona, kourabiedes are one of the two sweets most related to Greek winter holidays.
If you still haven’t heard of them, kourabiedes are a crunchy kind of biscuits, short bread style, simply made with just a few ingredients, including butter, flour, and roasted almonds.
We agree that they seem easy and plain, yet selected flavors of your choice, including orange juice, or even a few drops of rose water make a huge difference and along with some of the other ingredients included in the kourabiedes recipe, they make the most delicious Christmas treat.
Covered in tons of icing sugar, kourabiedes resemble the wintery snow-capped mountains of Greece. In other words, they are nothing but just the perfect Christmas biscuit!
The Origins of Kourabiedes Christmas Cookies
It all started many, many years ago, when immigrants from Asia brought with them a delicacy very similar to what we now know as kourabiedes in Greece.
As often happens, the Greeks kept the tradition and made the recipe even better by adding some of the best local ingredients. All of them still to be found the most traditional recipe for kourabiedes. Since then, and every winter, locals prepare kourabiedes during the holiday season.
We Can Eat Them All Year Round!
Friable, and rich in flavor, it is no wonder that in many Greek regions, kourabiedes are actually prepared (and even bought) on many happy occasions, including Easter holidays, a wedding, or a christening celebration.
It’s true that kourabiedes are better known for being winter sweets, especially popular around the Christmas holidays. As a matter of fact, many believe that the plenty of icing sugar that covers each cookie is supposed to represent the pure wish of happiness and abundance of blessings for the new year.
Where Does the the Word Kourabie Come From?
As yuo probably remember, Greece has been for many, really too many years, under the oppression of the Ottoman Empire.
Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise to discover that the word originally comes from Turkey. Kourabiedes (kourabie in singular) were originally known as kurabiye, a Turkish word made from two different words kuru, meaning dry, and biye, which stands for biscuit.
In fact, being dry and crumbing are two of the most remarkable characteristics of this biscuit. Want to learn more? Check this article about the origin of kourabiedes.
Calories in Kourabiedes
… Before embarking on a guilt trip, remember that you will probably eat kourabiedes only during Christmas, not the best moment in the year to start counting calories, right?
A medium-sized kourabie can contain from 130 up to 200 calories, especially when they includes large chunks of almonds, which make the calorie count go up by a lot.
Remember that, these biscuits are made with tons of butter, a source of saturated fat, less healthy than olive oil (monounsaturated and therefore healthier fat), the most common kind of fat used in the majority of Greek recipes.
However, and as long as you keep a moderate intake of kourabiedes, you will also take in the excellent healthy properties of almonds. If you want to keep it more on the healthier side, get rid of some of the icing sugar to avoid some extra calories that you don’t really need as the biscuits are already super tasteful.
Kourabiedes with Chocolate… What About That?
I have always had a preference for melomakarona and, especially, melomakarona dipped in dark chocolate.
However, it is fair to say that kourabiedes dipped in milk chocolate can be be a fantastic alternative to chocolate melomakarona.