This festive season let’s make some delicious Greek honey cookies called Melomakarona, and spread the scent of Christmassy Spice Flavours (yummy) throughout the house.
Greek tradition requires Christmas Treats on the table and certainly a huge pile of Melomakarona is one of the healthiest cookies for the holidays. They are dairy-free, made with a mix of olive and vegetable oils, not butter, and half of their sweetness is honey. You can, also, package them up in boxes and make great Christmas gifts for family and friends.
The Melomakarona don’t go soggy, they stay good for AGES therefore we can make them weeks before Christmas and they’ll still be delicious at New Year.
For the cookies
5.5 cups plain flour
1 cup semolina, fine (optional)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable oil
0.75 cups brown sugar
1 orange zest of
0.75 cups orange juice
0.25 cups brandy (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.75 cups walnuts chopped
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) cloves
1/4 teaspoon(s) nutmeg
For the syrup
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups water
3 cinnamon stick
2 inches lemon rind lemon juice a few squeezes
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.
Zest the orange, then combine the zest with the sugar in a large bowl. Pour the oils into the sugar/orange mixture and beat until well combined. Then add the orange juice and brandy and beat again.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda, then add to the liquid little by little until a stiff, wet dough forms. Mix, using a hand whisk.
Preparing the dough
Pull off a walnut-sized piece of dough and shape it into a ball / oval in your hands, then place it on a baking sheet. Use a fork to flatten the dough and make a criss-cross pattern on it. Keep shaping and flattening balls of dough until it is all used up. Mix by hand, very gently and for a very short time (10 seconds at the most). If you mix longer the mixture will split or curdle.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned. While they are in the oven, make the syrup. Combine the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, lemon peel and cloves in a saucepan, then bring to the boil. At this point, simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until the syrup has thickened slightly.
Then, while the cookies are still warm, float them in the syrup a few at a time, make sure they soak up plenty of liquid. After about 10 seconds put the cookies on a serving plate and press some walnuts into the top. Lastly, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over them.
In Greece, the cookies are served or sold in a pile on top of each other also is better to keep them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 56mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.9mg