A TASTE OF GREECE – The History of Kourambie

Some of the best moments during the holidays are shared between mothers and daughters, especially when they are making “kourabiedes”, the sugar dusted almond and vanilla flavored cookies that are a must on every Greek dinner table during the festive season. Have you ever asked yourselves why we make kourabiedes during the Christmas season, and better yet, when did we start making them?
Well according to our culinary history these delicious cookies appear to have their origins in 7th century Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region.The word kourabie (single cookie) is derived from the Iranian and Azerbaijiani word “Qurabiya”. They were then prepared in Asia Minor and the name we recognize stems from
the Turkish word “Kurabiye”, which also means a sweet flour, butter and icing
Some argue that the Greek and Turkish kourabie is very similar, but we beg to differ. The “arab” way of making kourabiedes includes almond flour, sugar, egg white, vanilla, margarine and pistachios and the cookies of course are usually served with tea. In Greece, kourabiedes are usually served with aromatic coffee and resemble a light shortbread, which contain whole almonds, a splash of brandy, Metaxa of course, vanilla and scented with rose water.
Also the cookies differ from region to region, as do the recipes. Christmas kourabiedes are adorned with a single whole spice clove embedded in each biscuit on some islands, while on the island of Folegandros in the Cyclades they make a “psefto-kourabie” (meaning a fake kourabie) and honey and plenty of cinnamon are used.
Whatever the recipe, kourabiedes are a must on every holiday table. Just keep in mind that if you add more than two egg yolks in whatever recipe you choose then your cookies will become hard. If you want them to remain delicate then use no more than two yolks!
The internet is full of kourambie recipes, so we here at hellasfrappe have decided to share a different recipe with all of you for all the kourambie leftovers that you might have after the holidays. (if you have leftovers that is…)
Chocolate – Truffles With Kourambie (to die for!)
10 large kourabiedes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup of strong espresso coffee (Greek coffee cup or 2/3 of a regular cup)
2 tblsp. of Metaxa brandy 
2 kg in cocoa powder
250 gr. dark baking chocolate (semi-sweet)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Cooking Method:
Melt your baking chocolate over a double boiler and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Remove from fire when ready and set aside. Put your cookies in a food processor and pulse until they resemble a rough powder. Remove and place them in a large bowl and add your melted chocolate, the coffee, the brandy, the cocoa, the vanilla and the nuts. If you see that your mixture is not wet enough then add some melted butter or a little bit of condensed milk Leave the mixture in the refrigerator for at least two hours, covered with a plastic wrap. Following this, remove from the fridge and you can begin shaping your chocolate truffles into round balls. Dust or roll them in chocolate shavings, cocoa powder or icing sugar… they are to die for and very simple to make! Enjoy!

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