Posted by Eloise Graham-Kyriakou on 18th Dec 2014
HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone! I thought that it would be a great idea to share one of our favorite Greek Holiday treats. They are called Melomakarona, the name comes from the Greek word Meli, which means honey and Makaroni which is anything with a doughy sunstance....suiting these delicious bites perfectly because they literally are little ovals of spiced dough dipped in a honey syrup and topped with crushed walnuts....they are simply divine and you must try.
These cookies will fill your home with the aroma of the Holidays and your family will know no self-control once these little bites of deliciousness are presented before them. They are kind of the Greek Gingerbread cookie...the kind you really want to eat and not just decorate. Nothing says festive more than the tastes and smell of cinnamon, honey, and orange and lemon zest. Below I have shared for you the recipe of a friend whose family is from Crete. Give them a try and let us know what you think!
Here is a picture of my Mother-in-Laws Melomakarona along side another favorite Greek holiday cookie that I will share with you tomorrow
- For the cookies:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Zest of one orange
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup walnuts, ground coarsely
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- For the syrup:
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 whole cloves
- 1-2-inch piece lemon rind
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: About 60 cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, using your fingers, combine the orange zest with the sugar – rubbing the grains as if you were playing with sand in order to release the orange oils into the sugar.
Using an electric mixer, beat the oil with the orange sugar until well mixed. 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 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.
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.
Using a fork or small spatula, remove the cookie from the syrup and place on a platter or plate. Press ground walnuts lightly into the tops of the cookies (syrup will help it adhere) and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon.
Do not refrigerate Melomakarona as they will harden. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea, you won't be disappointed
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