Melomakarona – Christmas Honey-Dipped Spice Cookies

Melomakarona (on the lower right)

As most people who know me will know that I am not a sweet dessert person. Sure I would eat a dessert once it is put in-front of me but I would never seek it.  Being raised on fruit I much prefer their sweetness and sharpness to the sugary end of meal sweet foods.  Having said that, at Christmas time in Greece the shops and homes are filled with the Christmas Cookies, Melomakarona(in Greek: μελομακάρονα, pronounced: meh-loh-mah-KAH-roh-nah) and once you have eaten one you cannot stop with just one.  With ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, walnuts, and oranges, these little, soft cookies that are dipped into a spiced, honey syrup, cannot be more representative to the season festivities.  They are made from the end of November to the Christmas holidays and there is no home that will not have them on its table. After baking, the most unbelievable fragrance wafts through the house for a couple of days which subliminally prepares you for the holidays!

This version of the recipe is based on Stelios Parliaros recipe.  Although this youtube recipe is in Greek (my apologies to my non-Greek friends!), I think most of you will be able to see how he does it.  Like they say  a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’!!

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough

  • 400 gr. fresh orange juice
  • 530 gr. good olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 50 gr. butter
  • 30 gr. powdered sugar
  • 1 whole finely grated orange zest
  • 1200 gr. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves

For the syrup

  • 500 gr. water
  • 700 gr.  sugar
  •  one orange cut in two
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 100 gr. thyme honey

For assembly

  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed walnuts
  • thyme honey

For the syrup: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, 2 half of orange and water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, without stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then boil for 2 minutes and take off the heat. The syrup will thicken slightly and deepen in colour. Add honey and leave to cool, preferably in another saucepan to cool down quickly.

Preheat oven to 200°C and Line two cookie sheets with parchment.

For the dough: In a bowl, combine all the wet ingredients,  the oil, butter, orange juice and citrus zest.  To this you add all the spices, baking soda and powdered sugar.  With a wooden spoon or spatula we mix this and add all the flour.  We continue to mix this with our hands from the center towards the outside.  We don’t need to mix it too well so that the dough will not harden, just enough for the liquids and flour to be absorbed.

We take pinches of dough around 35 gr. each and roll it into oval balls with a fork press the tines of a large fork in a crosshatch pattern in the center of each cookie.  A wire mesh will do this beautiful by just rolling them! Place the cookies on baking sheets.  Bake them for 22-28 minutes until lightly browned.  When they come out of the oven, we place the hot cookies into the cold syrup for about 1 minute and place them on a wire mesh to drip dry.

Place one layer of cookies on a large platter and drip some honey on them followed by some crushed walnuts.  We continue to do this until all the dough is used up.

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5 thoughts on “Melomakarona – Christmas Honey-Dipped Spice Cookies

  1. Thank you Judy for the spanish translation…..

    Melomakarona – Cookies Navideñas con miel y especias.

    Nota: Yo he hecho la mitad de las cantidades y se han hecho más que suficientes cookies.

    Ingredientes:

    Para la masa de las galletas
    • 400 gr. zumo de naranja natural
    • 530 gr. buen aceite de oliva o aceite de girasol
    • 50 gr. mantequilla
    • 30 gr. azúcar en polvo
    • 1 cáscara de naranja entera rallado
    • 1200 gr. harina para todo uso
    • hornear 1 / 2 cucharadita de bicarbonato
    • 1 / 2 cucharadita de canela molida
    • una pizca de clavo molido

    Para el almíbar
    • 500 gr. de agua
    • 700 gr. azúcar
    • una naranja cortada en dos
    • 2 ramitas de canela
    • 100 gr. miel de tomillo

    Para el montaje
    • 1 1/2 tazas de nueces finamente picado
    • miel de tomillo.

    Para el almíbar:
    Combine el azúcar, la canela, 2 mitades de naranja y agua en una cacerola grande a fuego alto. Llevar a ebullición, sin revolver hasta que el azúcar se haya disuelto, luego hervir durante 2 minutos y retirar del fuego. El jarabe se espese un poco y el color se pone mas oscuro. Agregue la miel y dejar enfriar, de preferencia en otra cacerola para enfriar con más rapidez.
    Precaliente el horno a 200 ° C y forrar dos bandejas para hornear con papel para hornear.

    Para la masa:

    En un tazón, combine todos los ingredientes húmedos, el aceite, la mantequilla, el zumo de naranja y la ralladura de cítricos. A esto se suma todas las especias, el bicarbonato y el azúcar en polvo. Con una cuchara de madera o una espátula mezclamos esto y añadamos toda la harina. Amasamos esta mezcla con las manos desde el centro hacia el exterior. No es necesario que lo mezcle mucho para que la masa no se endurezca, solo lo suficiente para que los líquidos y la harina están absorbidos.
    Tomamos pizcas de masa alrededor de 35 gr. cada uno y formamos bolas ovaladas y con un tenedor marcamos con los dientes para hacer una impresión cuadriculado en el centro de cada galleta. (¡Una malla de alambre puede hacer este fácilmente simplemente rodándolas!) Coloque las galletas en las bandejas. Hornear durante 22-28 minutos hasta que estén ligeramente doradas. Cuando salen del horno, ponemos las galletas calientes en el almíbar frío durante aproximadamente 1 minuto y las colocamos sobre una rejilla metálica para escurrir.
    Coloque las galletas en un plato grande y echar a goteo por encima la miel y seguidamente salpicar con las nueces picadas. Continuamos hasta que toda la masa se ha agotado.

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