Greek christmas honey cookies or melomakarona
Traditional Greek Honey-Dipped Christmas Cookies With Walnuts
Melomakarona are traditional Greek Christmas honey cookies. They are absolutely delicious, crispy on the outside and soft and syrupy on the inside and there is no Greek household without a considerable stock of melomakarona to offer guests during the Chrismtas holidays.
Santa-Claus snubs any other kind of cookies in Greece, except melomakarona! That's what you should leave for him as a favor under the christmas tree on Christmas Eve! He just thrives on them!
Melomakarona are not the easiest christmas cookies to make, but they are worth every moment spent in the kitchen preparing them. There are numerous recipes for traditional melomakarona - every Greek family seems to have its own treasured recipe which is passed down from one generation to the next.
Today I will share with you the recipe passed down to me by my Mother-in-Law, who was renowned for baking the best melomakarona in town.
Baking melomakarona for Christmas
Photo credit: downtownforyou.blogspot.com.
My Mother-in-Law bakes a huge batch of melomakarona a little before Christmas, keeps a small amount for herself and gives the rest out to our family.
When my husband was a young boy, she used to hide them, trying to find a new hiding place every year, because he would turn the whole house upside down to find them and eat them! I am sorry to say that he still does it and one Christmas long ago, we had to spend the holidays without a single melomakarono because he had managed to find them and eat all of them before Christmas! "Well, why didn't you buy some?" you might ask. Well, if you had ever tasted one of my Mother-in-Law's melomakarona, you would know that it would be inconceivable to eat ready-made ones!
So, what do you need to make these traditional Greek christmas cookies?
Kitchenaid Artisan 5 quart mixer - I would never be able to do all this baking without this!
If you are planning to bake a lot this Christmas, you might as well do it the easy way. This fantastic 5-quart Kitchenaid stand mixer in an equally fantastic christmassy color will take a lot of the load off your hands.
The Kitchenaid artisan mixer is my favorite kitchen appliance, or to be more accurate, my left hand at cooking and baking. With 325 watt power it kneads, mixes and whips even the thickest and stickiest mixes with ease and the large stainless steel bowl and 10 speeds to choose from make any kitchen task so much easier! It comes with three beaters, a flat one for light to medium mixes, a dough hook for kneading and a wire whip for eggs and cream.
It has a special place on my countertop and I use it almost daily. In any case, the appliance is so beautiful it would be a shame to keep it hidden in a cupboard. I simply love the red color but it is available in many other colors as well.
my melomakarona recipe
300 ml fresh orange juice
100 ml brandy
530 ml sunflower oil
1.200 gr white flour
30 gr. powder sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsb baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
50 gr melted butter
the zest of 1 orange
For the syrup
500 ml water
700 gr sugar
100 gr honey
What else do you need to make perfect melomakarona?
Baking sheets obviously! You can never have enough of these if you are baking, especially over the holidays!
Photo credit: anoixti-matia.blogspot.com.
First prepare the honey syrup
In a saucepan mix the water, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Let it boil for 3-4 minutes and take off the heat. Stir in the honey and let it cool down.
In the meantime, start preparing the melomakarona
In a mixing bowl mix the sunflower oil, sugar, orange juice, orange zest and brandy for approximately 3-4 minutes. In another mixing bowl mix the flour, soda and baking powder. Make a little hole in the middle and pour in the liquid mix. Knead lightly, until you have a uniform, not sticky, not too hard dough. You may add a little more flour if the dough is very sticky, but take care, it should not be too hard either!
Take little pieces of dough, shape them into small ovals approximately 4 cm by 2 cm and place them in rows, slightly apart, in a large baking sheet. Take a flat cheese grater or similar kitchen tool (even a fork will do) and press it lightly on each of the melomakarana to form the traditional criss-cross pattern on top of each one.
Bake the melomakarona in a preheated oven at 175 degrees (Celcius) for approximately 30 minutes, until dark golden brown. As soon as you take them out of the oven, dip them in the syrup, turning them around a few times, and let them soak for 3-4 minutes.
This is the tricky part! They should absorb enough syrup not to be dry, but should not be left too long or they will become soggy!
Then take them out and place one row in a christmas serving dish. Sprinkle them with a rich mixture of chopped walnuts and ground cinnamon and place a second row on top. Repeat until you have used up all your melomakarona, topping the whole thing up with chopped walnuts and cinnamon.
Christmas themed serving plates
Gorgeous Christmas serving plates and trays to display your Christmas cookies in. I have handpicked these among many many available on Amazon but you can click on the pictures and browse for yourself
Have you ever had melomakarona? Do you like them?
Do you like melomakarona?
Christmas cookie plates to buy
And what about Santa Claus and his Christmas Eve cookie snack?
© 2012 Aquamarine18