In any Greek home, over the Christmas season, kourabiedes and melomakarona, can be found, piled high on plates, ready to be offered to any visitor that might drop by.
Melomakarona are olive oil based honey and spices cookies. They are napped with almonds and / or nuts. Delicious and full of cinnamon, cloves and orange aromas they are very easy to make and are suited for vegans!
Ingredients for the Melomakarona
- the Dough
- 240 ml olive oil
- 50 ml honey
- 80 ml water
- 100 grams sugar
- 5 grams ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- zest of half an orange
- 550 grams all purpose flour
- 125 grams fine semolina
- 6 grams baking powder
- the syrop
- 600 grams sugar
- 100 ml honey
- 450 ml water
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 4-5 dried cloves
For Garnish: extra honey, chopped walnuts and/or almonds
The Syrup is very easy. In a large and wide cooking pot add all of the ingredients for the syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Do not stir syrup. Just shake the pot a few times. Remove from fire and let it cool.
We start with the dough. Place the ingredients for the dough in a large bowl, following the order: olive oil, orange juice, baking soda, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, zest and the semolina. Whisk well when you add the baking soda for about a minute, to allow it to blend with the orange juice.
Remove the whisk and then add the flour on top. Mix gently with your hands, by “folding” the dough from the bottom to the top. This way all the ingredients will blend perfectly, creating a soft dough. This kneading process should not take more than 2 minutes. The more you knead the less fluffy the dough gets.
The Cookies. Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F and lay a parchment paper on your ovens pan.
Take a piece of the dough in your hands (about 40-45 grams). Squeeze it a bit to remove any air and knead to a round ball. Give the ball an oval shape and flatten it slightly. Add to the pan. Knead remaining dough into cookies the same way.
With a sharp knife make criss cross lines on each cookie. Bake for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until cookies get a golden brown color.
Finish Off: Using a draining spoon dip the hot cookies into the cold syrup (about 5-6 cookies each time). Soak the cookies for about 1 minute on each side and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool and drain from excess syrup.
Top them with honey and plenty of chopped walnuts.
Please note: The syrup should be cold when you dip in the cookies.
Makes 30 melomakarona / Prep time: 20 – 30 min. / Cooking time: 20 – 30 min.