Greek Christmas Cookies

Greek Christmas Cookies

Melomakarona are traditional honey dipped cookies of the festive table in Greece. One would say that they are the equivalent of mince pies for the Greeks as these can only be found around the Christmas period.

The sighting of them in sweet stores around Greece gives you the feeling that Christmas is on our doorstep. Melomakarona have been made in Greece since the Byzantine era.

The presence of these cookies in a household back in the days gave evidence that one must be quite wealthy to have them. Thus making Melomakarona a sweet available to the lower classes only around the period of Christmas when even to this day we all chip in a bit more than we can in order to celebrate!

  • TIME NEEDED
  • 80 mins

  • SERVINGS
  • 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of olive oil
  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • ½ cup of brandy
  • ½ a teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • The zest of 2 oranges and 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ a cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of fine semolina
  • 4 cups of “00” flour (usually obtained from delicatessen sores)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

For the syrup

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 ½ cups of honey
  • 1 cup of water
  • A rind of lemon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks.

      method

      • In a big bowl add the olive oil, citrus zest, sugar, spices, salt and orange juice.
      • Dilute the soda in the brandy and add to the mixture.
      • Give it a Wisk and add the semolina.
      • Leave the mixture to stand for about 10mins (otherwise you will think that you need to add more flour).
      • In the meantime sieve the flour and add the baking powder then add to mixture and work with your hands until all ingredients are integrated. You don’t want to mix it more than that as this will make it harder to get your cookies to absorb the syrup and you will end up with cookies suitable only for stoning!!!
      • When your dough is ready mould about a tablespoon of the dough in your hands to form a cylinder shape and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
      • Pattern them by gently running a fork on top in order to form ridges. Bake in a preheated oven at 340°F for 30mins
      • When done leave the Melomakarona to cool completely.
      • Prepare your syrup and dunk about 4 Melomakarona at a time in the hot syrup, leave them for about 1 min on one side then flip them over and leave for another minute, place on a platter and sprinkle with ground walnuts, almonds or sesame seeds.
       

      Tip

      When you have finished about half of your Melomakarona add about ¼ of cup water to the syrup and reheat to thin it down or your Melomakarona will not absorb the syrup.

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