Karabij is a popular Middle Eastern cookie served with Natef. Natef is a special white cream used for dipping with Karabij.
Karabij are one element in the Middle Eastern cookies family, which in turn is a class of Arabic sweets. It is a cookie made of semolina dough, which makes it very delicate and easy to break. It is baked, and it is abundant in pistachio nuts.
While other Middle Eastern cookies like Mamoul and Mamoul-Mad are filled with many types of nuts such as pistachios and walnuts, as well as dates, Karabij on the other hand is always filled with only pistachios. Even though it is perfectly possible to use a walnuts or dates filling with Karabij cookies, it has been the custom not to do so and to use only pistachio nuts filling with Karabij.
Karabij are essentially small pistachios filled Mamoul cookies. They share the same ingredients as Mamoul and are prepared and baked in the same manner. However, Karabij are usually smaller in size than Mamoul because they are intended to be dipped in Natef. Even though Mamoul is made into different sizes, Karabij are always made into a small longitudinal shape easy to use for dipping.
Karabij are great for those who like dipping. It is a favorite dessert to eat while watching a movie for example. It is much healthier than chips or chocolate since it contains healthy pistachio nuts.
Karabij are popular in Arabic countries. Their popularity did not spread much to the western world because they are closely associated with the white Lebanese cream Natef which is not popular in the Western world.
Karabij are small in size, and one can eat couple dozens of them before noticing. They are in general high in calories, just like any other cookies, so people should watch how many they eat.
These small cookies are considered to be in the same category as Mamoul, Mamoul-Mad, and Ghraybeh, which are all under the class of Middle Eastern cookies. However, while Ghraybeh is a sugar cookie, all the rest are semolina based cookies filled with nuts such as pistachio and walnuts and with dates as well.
Middle Eastern cookies are consumed especially during holidays and celebrations in Middle Easter and Arab countries. They are also the preferred gift during religious holidays and celebration.
In summary, Karabij are Middle Eastern cookies exclusively dipped with the white cream Natef and offered for desert.