Monday, December 7, 2009

Melomakarona: Honey & Spice Cookies

This is a great recipe of my Grandmother Despina!!!!

In Greek: μελομακάρονα (pronounced meh-lo-mah-KAH-ro-nah)

These honey-soaked cookies are a Christmas tradition all over Greece.

The recipe is very forgiving except in two areas: the dough should not be overworked or the cookies will become too dense; and the shape should be rounded, not flat or they will harden during baking. The baked cookies should have a texture slightly more dense than spice cake in order to absorb the syrup.

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


* 9 cups of soft flour
* 3 teaspoons BP
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 cup of fresh orange juice
* 1/2 cup brandy
* 3 cups of sunflower oil
* 1 cup of sugar
* 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon of grated cloves (or ground cloves)
* grated peel of 1 orange
* grated peel of 1 lemon


To make the cookies

Preheat the oven to 320F (160C) with a convection oven, or 350F (180C) with a conventional oven.

Dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice.

Put all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spices) in a bowl and mix until blended with a whisk. In the middle, create a well and add the liquid ingredients (oil, brandy, orange juice). Knead the dough until it sticks to your hands.

To shape the cookies, take a fistful of dough and make it into a log. (Not a big one as it will double in size once baked). Press the dough gently with your fingers on one side to flatten slightly. The shape of the cookies can be rounded, small log shape, or oval like those shown in the photo.

Place the cookies well spaced in a greased cookie sheet (or on parchment cooking paper, or on a non-stick cookie sheet), place on the middle rack in the oven and bake until browned (about 15-20 minutes}. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking racks.

For the Syrup and Topping

* 2 cups of water
* 2 cups of sugar
* 2 cups of honey
* 1 stick of cinnamon
* 3-4 whole cloves
* 2 cups of finely chopped walnuts

The cooled cookies will be dipped in the hot syrup, so don't start the syrup until the cookies have cooled.

Put the water, honey, sugar, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a wide pot (like a deep frying pan) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low. (As soon as it starts to boil, a foam rises to the top - scoop this off and throw it out.) Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.

Put in cookies (as many as will fit on the bottom) into the hot syrup and use a spatula to hold them down for about 45 seconds to a minute, depending on how syrupy you want them to be. Once the cookies have been soaked, remove them with a slotted spoon, letting some of the syrup drip, place on a large serving plate in layers, sprinkling each layer liberally with the finely chopped walnuts before adding another layer on top.

Melomakarona are not refrigerated. Cover them well with plastic wrap to keep for several days or store in tins so they don't dry out, and they'll last for weeks or months - if they aren't eaten by then.

Note: If there's any syrup left over, don't throw it out. It will keep for several days. These cookies move fast and the syrup can be used in the next batch!

1 comment:

  1. This recipe seems easy to prepare, however it takes time, but I think it is worthy because at the end you are going to eat a very delicious dessert! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I recommend to take generic viagra while cooking so that you are very relax.