The Greek’s long tradition with Greek biscuits and cookies, or Koulourakia
Melomakarona, macarons, biscota, mostokoulouro, kourambies, paximathakia…. The list of delicious Greek biscuits, cookies and sweet treats is endless and have been a part of Greek culture for centuries. So much so, biscuit making can be traced back to Crete as far back as 1200BC.
Back then, bakers found it very hard to locate any special baking supplies and ingredients such as sugar to make sweets, so they used their standard foods like flour, butter, honey, olive oil, lemon and strong spices derived from local farms to create delicious cookies and sweet treats. Greek bakers then shaped the biscuits into strange shapes such as figure eights, spirals or crescents and as you would know if you’re ofay with these delicious morsels of Greek deliciousness, nothing too much has changed since 1200BC!!
Nowadays in Greece, cookies, in general, are called “koulourakia” and are a staple in most households. They are an everyday treat; something to enjoy together with a cup of Greek coffee, or a sweet treat reserved for holidays and special occasions, such as marriages, christenings and other significant social events. Authentic Greek cookies are still to this day made from delicious yet simple ingredients, such as grape must, extra virgin olive oil, orange juice and zest, ouzo, Mastic from Chios and honey.
So, what’s the difference between Melomakarona, Mostokoulouro, Paximathakia and Kourambies?!
Greek cookies are a simple sweet treat, perfect for any occasion and are really hard to resist, but there are so many varieties, with many of them having a different meaning or purpose of when they are eaten. Here’s a quick run-down of the most popular Greek biscuits.
Melomakarona – are egg-shaped Greek cookies made mainly from flour, semolina, cinnamon, olive oil, and honey. Along with kourabiedes, melomakarona are a traditional dessert prepared primarily during the Christmas holiday season and are often filled with ground walnuts.
Mostokoulouro – are cookies made from grape must and are very popular in Greece. In the old times, they were usually prepared during the grape harvest, but nowadays you can find them all year round. Mostokoulouro come in different shapes and can be soft or crunchy, depending on the amount of flour used.
Kourambies or kourabiedes – are a classic Greek butter cookie made with almonds and are often called wedding cookies or Christmas cookies (just to confuse you!) and originate from the Azeri Iranian city of Tabriz!! The essence of really good kourambiedes is the butter; always fresh and ideally clarified. Although the biscuits look solid, they should melt in your mouth and crumble as you bite, and the resulting texture should be light and airy.
Paximathakia – pronounced pa-ksi-ma-tha-kya are another Greek classic and are basically an orange, super crunchy sesame biscotti that’s ideal for dunking in your coffee!
Really, you can have your Greek sweet treat and eat it too!
Did I mention that Greek cookies are actually a guilt-free sweet treat? Yes, really!!! Many Greek biscuits are made either using dairy or gluten-free ingredients and are of course are part of the Mediterranean diet, which is gaining momentum worldwide. Times call for a balanced diet, and why not kill two birds with one stone by combining high quality Greek ingredients with a tasty snack?
Who makes the best Greek biscuits and sweet treats in Australia?
Since 1998, Olympian has been servicing the Greek community here in Australia by developing biscuits and cookies made from our parents and Grandparents homeland in Greece and producing what we think are the best Greek biscuits in Australia to have with your coffee.
Our homestyle Sesame Biscota, Tahini Fingers and Halvas are all baked the traditional way, using premium ingredients and are also dairy-free, our Melomakarona honey macarons are just like Grandma used to make, and fresh off the baker’s board and our Jam Delights have recently been re-invented with a new, great-tasting recipe using real butter… and of course lots of LOVE!