Every Christmas in Egypt, petit fours (or betefours) fill our homes once again! These cookies are made exclusively during the holiday seasons, so when people start baking them, it simply fills you with the Christmas spirit! The origin of this dessert is French (as you might guess by the name); however, these cookies became widely famous in Egypt and ultimately became a key part of our Christmas traditions. The cookies are soft and buttery and often filled with honey or jam. They're so delicious that you just can't get tired of them!
When I think of betefours, it calls to mind very fond memories, such as my teta (grandma) and my mama making them, or how my cousins and I used to decorate them with chocolate or stick them together with jam. Betefours remind me of a beautiful time in my childhood when we all gathered together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
The most beautiful thing about betefours is the sharing. Families tend to make a lot of batches in order to share them with neighbours, coworkers, or those who don't have a lot or don't celebrate Christmas. Betefours are a token of love for everyone. Indeed, the essence of Christmas is about giving and sharing with others.
These cookies were always part of my Christmas growing up, and I'm happy to have shared this little piece of holiday cheer from my country with you!
Want to try making petit fours/betefour yourself?
You'll need flour, powdered sugar, butter (or clarified butter), eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and cocoa powder, and jam, chocolate, sprinkles, or nuts for decoration.
Then check out this video to learn how they all come together to make the most delicious Egyptian butter cookies!
Magy Nabil is a student living in Cairo, Egypt.