When it comes to Christmas and New Year’s food for us Greeks, sweets play a vital role. This means that some of our favourite festive sweets/desserts are shared as part of the holiday season, like Melomakarona, Vasilopita and Kourabie.
Melomakarona (pronounced mel-low-ma-KA-row-na); are beautiful honey, orange, clove and cinnamon syrup-drenched soft cookies that melt in your mouth. It’s THE most popular Christmas & New Year dessert, and it’s present in almost every home in Greece during the holidays.
Many families follow the tradition of making their own melomakarona at home. It is quite easy to make them, plus this way you can make them just the way you want them adjusting the ingredients. You can also find melomakarona in almost every pastry shop/bakery in Greece, during the Holidays period.
Video and following recipe is courtesy of Nana Savvatianou and Cook Eat Up:
Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Cookies with Walnuts and Honey Syrup
For the dough
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Zest of an orange
- 7 and 1/2 flour, about 950 gr
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
For the filling
- 1 cup finelly chopped walnuts and 1 more cup coarsely chopped, to sprinkle the cookies
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp sugar
For the syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 2 cups water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- A cinnamon stick
In a bowl combine olive oil, brandy and orange juice and then sugar, orange zest and cinnamon.
In another bowl combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients to mix, creating a soft, oily dough. Gently flatten one ball of dough into a disc with the palm of your hand. Put a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the dough. Fold the dough up and over to cover the filling, then seal the edges. Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven at 180℃ / 350℉ for about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, simmer water, sugar, honey, lemon juice with the cinnamon stick for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Let cool to just warm.
Remove melomakarona from the oven and drop them, a few at a time, into the simmering syrup, flipping them over to soak evenly. Let them soak about 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending how soft or crunchy you like your melomakarona.
Layer the melomakarona on a platter, spoon any remaining syrup over them and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.