In Greece we have a lot of traditions. I’m proud that most of them are so alive and honored at all celebrations. This is a traditional recipe, but the way it is prepared makes it a modernized version: Christmas muffins!
Sweet bread to fight goblins
The ingredients come from a sweet bread that one of my aunties always brought to our house for Christmas. I just applied them to bake muffins (within the back of my mind to eat a bit less, but unfortunately without succeeding).
It is a recipe from the old days. The women would put the sweet bread outside of their homes to avoid the goblins going inside. If the goblins would be busy eating their sweet bread buns and sweet honey cookies (melomakarona) outside the house, they would completely forget their original target; going inside the houses and making a mess for Christmas!
Greek Goblins destroying Christmas
It makes you wonder what these goblins are all about! The Kalikatzari as we call them in Greek, are an old tradition in our country. In every place, even more so in the villages, there are a thousand legends and traditions around these little beings. Kalikatzari appear with every Christmas. Some say they are ghosts, but good ones, others think they are bad. Some think the Kalikatzari are strange little hairy beings, that sneak into the houses from the chimneys. During the nights they go into the houses and steal the food they find, especially the figs as they like them a lot. When they are finished eating they begin to dance.
Around Christmas time all villagers are afraid to go out of their homes when night is approaching, especially the younger children. This lasts until the feast of Epiphany, where the cross is thrown into the sea and all Kalikatzari disappear to go and live underground, just to appear again next Christmas. In many villages they also burn coals in their wells so that they will not be made dirty by the goblins.
This is how far my explanation of a Kalikatzari goes, but I hope I have given you an idea of what this being is and how it’s still alive in our society today. For many they are naughtily nice and for others they are just obnoxious. I would really love to see the goblins eating all the candy at my home, but I am not that hopeful as I have never managed to see them so far :-).
Making Christmas muffins
Whether you want to keep the Kalikatzari out of your house or not, these Christmas muffins are a treat and decorating them lots of fun! We start by preparing the mixture, place it into muffin forms and put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. When they come out, the Christmas muffins already look delicious!
Gather your decorations! I have used pomegranates, colored chocolates and silver stars, but the possibilities are endless. Make it look all Christmassy!
Cover the Christmas muffins with white icing or melted chocolate. On top of this you can decorate them any way you like. Be creative!
The Odyssey family and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas!!