Melomakarona or Greek Honey Cookies are small oblong shaped cookies. Aromatically spiced cookies that once dipped in a gorgeous syrup almost resemble little cakes. Served during the Christmas holiday season.
If you have ever visited Greece during the Christmas season, then no doubt you will have eaten many of these delectable treats. Here in Greece, they start appearing in the bakeries which also seems to include the S360 Headquarters, very first week of November.
As with most holidays and celebrations here in Greece, they all revolve around the family gathering. And that of course means one very important thing… lots of delicious food! Christmas is no exception. Consequently, during the Christmas period, you will find most Greek households have large platters, piled sky high with these delicious homemade honey cookies and kourabiedes on their Christmas treat table.
And rightly so!
- Christmas spicy – think cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg.
- incredible soft and flavoursome
- super easy to make
- easy to share and give as gifts
- absolutely delicious
- very addictive
In truth it’s really hard to stop at just one!
Of course, these are completely free of dairy and eggs. And if you make your own vegan honey then they can indeed be 100% completely vegan too! Head on over to see my 2 ingredient vegan honey or perhaps you would like to try my Melomakarona with chocolate! The melomakarona with chocolate are my boys absolute favourite, hence we are up to making our third batch already this month!
Super easy to make!
The first and most important thing you will need to do, is to make the syrup. It is beyond super easy to make and really delicious. Begin by bringing the sugar and water to a boil and then turning down the heat to a gentle simmer with a few essential ingredients such as: an orange or lemon, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, vanilla bean paste (just a little) and perhaps an anise star. The heat permeates the sweet scent throughout your home guaranteed it will smell “Christmas-y” good. Set it aside for an hour or two and allow to cool completely. In truth the syrup can be made the day before to ensure it’s completely cold when the cookies are submerged into it.
To achieve the delicate almost cake like end result, use some fine semolina mixed in with the flour. The semolina will help the delicate melomakarona to have a little crisp crunch to it.
Let me try and explain how to achieve the mini square pattern all around the cookie. To achieve the pattern, press the cookie dough along a cake cooling rack and gently press and roll diagonally until pattern overlaps upon itself.
Once the cookies are baked, you want to remove them from the oven and place just a few at a time into the beautifully cooled syrup for approximately 10 seconds rotating them. You want to ensure both sides have been coated well with the syrup. Allow them to drain on a cooling rack. (Place some parchment paper underneath the cooling rack, to help keep the clean up, quick and easy). Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.
When you finish repeating all the remaining cookies, you may find that you have some syrup leftover. If you like, you could use this to drizzle a little more over the cookies for a bit more gooey sweet yumminess. Or you may like to serve on a large platter and drizzle with honey and more nuts and spices.
Despite what you might be thinking, Melomakarona do not go soggy! They actually are, a really great treat that can be made ahead of time. However, if you are wanting to gift to family and friends, double the batch. As they really do look so cute packed up in gorgeous little gift boxes. Especially great for gifting the kids teachers, Christmas gifts.
Did you make these?
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- For the Syrup:
- 250 ml water
- 400 gr sugar
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 anise star
- ½ an orange
- 1/16 vanilla bean paste
- 75gr honey
- Bowl 1 Ingredients:
- 200 ml orange juice- freshly squeezed
- 200 ml sunflower oil
- 90 ml olive oil
- 25gr icing sugar
- 1-2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- zest of 1 orange
- Bowl 2 Ingredients:
- ½ kg all purpose flour
- 100gr fine semolina
- 100 gr honey
- 100 gr crushed walnuts
- ground cinnamon (optional)
- ground cloves (optional)
- Start by preparing the syrup first. Place all the ingredients except for the honey into a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil for 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour into a medium sized bowl and add the honey. Stir the honey through and allow to completely cool. Approximately 1-2 hours. The syrup can be made the day before if you like. It's important that the syrup be completely cooled before submerging the cookies in it.
- Preheat the oven to 190*C/370F with fan.
- Prepare baking trays with parchment paper.
- Ιn a large sized bowl whisk together the ingredients for bowl 1.
- Sift the flour and semolina together in a separate bowl.
- Add the flour to bowl number 1. Using your hands, mix gently and quickly kneading the dough for about 10 seconds maximum. You just need to combine the ingredients. Any longer and you run the risk of the oil seeping and splitting the dough.
- Take 25 - 35 grams of dough, (about the size of a walnut) and shape into small oblong oval logs using your hands.
- Press and roll the dough along a cooling rack to achieve the cool criss-cross design all around the cookie.
- Place cookies onto prepared baking tray. Approximately 20 cookies per tray.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crunchy and golden brown.
- Remove from tray and place the cookies in the cooled syrup. Best to do this in batches. Make sure to turn the cookies over in the syrup to ensure all sides are covered. No longer than 10 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack and allow to drain.
- Sprinkle with crushed walnuts and extra spices in using.
- Repeat with remaining cookies.
- To serve, sprinkle a serving platter with crushed nuts. Top with melomakarona in a circular shape and build a pyramid. As you build each layer, be sure to sprinkle with a little more syrup and extra crushed walnuts.
- To finish off you could drizzle a little more honey all over and dress with more crushed nuts.