Melomakarona are one of the most popular treats in Greece during the Christmas Holidays with their intense homely smell full of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg making every house smelling like Christmas! These are soft cookies dipped in a honey syrup and covered with chopped walnuts
Historically, melomakarona are thought to be derived from the ancient and medieval makaria. Gradual changes in the recipe and the addition of dipping them in honey led to melomakarona which etymologically is derived from the Greek word for honey "meli" and "makaria".
- 1 c olive oil
- 1 c vegetable oil
- 3/4 c fresh orange juice
- Tbsp grated zest of one orange
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 c cognac/brandy (or orange juice if non alcoholic)
- 1 c sugar
- 7 1/2 c all purpose flour & pinch of salt
- 1 c walnuts & ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- 4 c honey
- 1 c sugar
- 1 c water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 whole cloves
- •1-2-inch piece lemon rind
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Place all the ingredients except flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and knead.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the orange juice and brandy to mixer and mix well.
- Slowly incorporate the flour cup by cup until the mixture forms a dough that is not too loose but not quite firm either. It will be dense and wet but not sticky. Once the flour is incorporated fully stop mixing.
- To roll cookies, pinch a portion of dough off about the size of a walnut. Shape in your palms into a smooth oblong shape, almost like a small egg. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Shape and roll cookies until the sheet is filled. Press the tines of a large fork in a crosshatch pattern in the center of each cookie. This will flatten them slightly in the center. The cookies should resemble lightly flattened ovals when they go in the oven. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes until lightly browned. (The cookies will darken when submerged in syrup.)
- While the cookies are baking, prepare the syrup.
In a saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon rind. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon, cloves, and lemon rind and stir in lemon juice.
- Place the ground walnuts in a shallow plate or bowl next to the stove top. When the cookies come out of the oven and while they are still very warm, carefully float the cookies in the syrup and allow the cookies to absorb syrup on both sides, a few at a time, for about 5 minutes. If you prefer them softer, let stand longer.Using a fork or small spatula, remove the cookie from the syrup and place on a platter or plate.
- Over every layer press ground walnuts lightly into the tops of the cookies (syrup will help it adhere) and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon.
- Extra Tips:
The consistency of the dough should be rather stiff. The syrup should be simmering gently, while the melomakarona are being dipped. Enjoy!
Do not refrigerate Melomakarona as they will harden. Let cool & store in an airtight container at room temperature.