Melomakarona

Try this recipe for a Greek Christmas cookie, Melomakarona
Contributor
Melomakarona

Arousing Appetites

Melomakarona is a very fragrant and delicious mixture of strongly flavored ingredients. Made from an oil and semolina-like flour base, you prepare the recipe with additional pungent ingredients like orange zest, cognac and/or brandy, cinnamon and, of course, honey. All those mixed into one bite-sized cookie leads to an explosion of flavor.

To add additional flavor and texture to the cookie, it is then dipped into a syrup made from honey and sugar dissolved in water. While the melomakarona are still piping hot with syrup, you drizzle crushed walnuts on top both for presentation but also to add an additional crunch to the cookie itself.

We’d seen other recipes that swapped out the honey syrup for chocolate syrup instead, so we tried a very small test batch dipped in chocolate. Truthfully (and this is coming from fervent chocolate eaters), the chocolate cookies weren’t nearly as dynamic and diverse in their flavors and not as good as the original recipe. Call us old-fashioned in this respect, I guess.

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Notes

Don't refrigerate the melomakarona, as they'll harden and become tough to eat. Instead, store them at room temperature.

Ingredients

For the cookie:

  • 1/3 Cup olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 Cup cognac/brandy
  • 1/3 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup spelt semolina
  • 1 Cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 Cup walnuts

For the honey syrup:

  • 4 Cups honey
  • 1/3 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • One-inch piece lemon rind
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

For the cookie:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all the wet cookie ingredients into a large mixing bowl and knead. In a separate bowl, combine the dry mixture and lightly whisk through to sift.

Slowly add the dry mixture bit by bit to the larger bowl. The dough that forms should be one that's dense and wet but not sticky and loose. You should be able to add all the dry mix, but be mindful if you see the mixture starting to become too dry. If this happens, just add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough is no longer dry.

To shape the cookies: take 1 palm-sized portion of dough (or 1 heaping tablespoon), shape dough in your palms into a smooth oblong shape, almost like a small egg. Tip: Roll the dough on the reverse side of a grater to get a dimpled, consistent oblong shape.

Fill an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper with as many cookies as you can. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the cookies have a crispy golden brown outer shell.

For the honey syrup:

While the cookies are baking, combine the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, cloves and lemon rind in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer uncovered over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

As the syrup simmers, crush and grind your walnuts and side aside next to the saucepan.

After 15 minutes of simmering, strain the syrup through a sieve and return to the saucepan. Add lemon juice and put the syrup back on a low heat.

Remove the cookies from the oven and carefully dip each cookie in the syrup.

Place the cookies on a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath (to catch dripping syrup) and sprinkle with the crushed walnuts. If you'd like, you can sprinkle additional cinnamon on top as well.