At Christmas time in Australia we would make gingerbread houses, shortbread, fruit mince pies, plum pudding and of course a fruity Christmas cake. My mum would start soaking the fruit for the mince pies, plum pudding and Christmas cake a year in advance.
However, now I live in Greece.
I have kept the tradition of making gingerbread cookies and decorate them with my two boys, but now I bake the two traditional Greek Christmas cookies that everyone seems to love.
Once these delicious goodies start appearing in your kitchen… it basically means that Christmas, is fast approaching!
Traditional melomakarona are small oblong shaped, aromatic cookies dipped in a delicate syrup. And with each delicious bite, you are instantly transported to Christmas time. However, this year, I have tweaked the recipe and added some chocolate. These instantly, became a hit with my two boys!
Despite the name being a little funny to say… it basically translates for delicious aromatic honey cookies with chocolate! But don’t let that fool you, Mekomakarona with chocolate are really are fun and easy to make.
Foremost and utmost, the most importantly thing you will need to is to make the syrup. It is beyond easy to make, aromatic and really delicious. Bring the sugar and water to a boil for 2 minutes. Add in a few essential ingredients: half an orange, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and an anise star or two. The heat will permeate the sweet scent throughout your home, guaranteed to smell “Christmas-y” good.
Set the syrup aside for a few hours allowing it to cool completely. In truth, the syrup can be made ahead of time to ensure it’s completely cold when the cookies are submerged into it.
In order to achieve the delicate almost cake like treat, I include fine semolina together with my flour mix. Surprisingly, the semolina helps the finished melomakarona to have a slight crisp crunch.
Equally important, is the chopping of the chocolate, small pieces. Of course, if you prefer the vegan version please use the same quantity of vegan chocolate. However, as I made these for my boys, I added 150 grams of Nestle 65% cacao. As a result of the chocolate being cut into small pieces, this helped the chocolate to blend without becoming too overpowering. In essence, it just seems to melt into the cookie leaving you with a delicate melt-in-your-mouth cookie.
To achieve the square pattern all around the cookie, gently press and roll the cookie dough diagonally across a wire cooling rack.
Once baked, remove from the oven and dip just a few at a time, into the bowl of beautifully cooled syrup. No longer than 10 seconds, rotating them. You want to ensure both sides have been well coated with the syrup. Allow them to drain on a cooling rack. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.
Ultimately, when you finish with the remaining cookies, you may find that you have some syrup leftover. Feel free to use the remaining syrup to drizzle a little more over the cookies for a little extra gooey yumminess. Or you may prefer to serve them on a large platter and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chopped walnuts 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 cute packed up in gorgeous little gift boxes. Especially great for kids teachers Christmas gifts.
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Ultimately, when you finish with the remaining cookies, you may find that you have some syrup leftover. If you would like, you could use the remaining syrup to drizzle a little more over the cookies for a little extra gooey yumminess. Or you may prefer to serve them on a large platter and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chopped walnuts and spices.
Melomakarona with Chocolate
- 250 ml water
- 400 gr sugar
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/2 orange cut into quarters
- 75 gr honey
- 200 gr sunflower oil
- 90 gr olive oil
- 200 gr orange juice freshly squeezed
- 25 gr icing sugar
- 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- zest 1 orange
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 500 kg all purpose flour
- 130 gr fine semolina
- 150 gr chocolate 65% chopped finely
- 100 gr honey
- 100 gr crushed walnuts
Place all of the ingredients excluding the honey into a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the honey and allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven 190 degrees.
Into a large mixing bowl, mix the liquid ingredients. Whisk together. Set aside.
Sift the flour and semolina together. Add the chopped chocolate pieces. Mix to incorporate the chocolate pieces.
Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Quickly and gently mix the two together to just combine. You don’t want to over mix the dough as this could cause the oil to split. Mix for no longer than 15 seconds.
Take approximately 1-2 Tablespoons (or as I like to make sure I have even cookies, I weigh the dough to approximately 25 grams to 35 grams depending on the size of cookie you like) of dough. Shape into oval oblong shapes.
Press the cook into the wire to form the # lines or simply use a fork and prick some holes down the center of the cookie.
Place onto a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper. I like to place 20 cookies per tray. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden in colour.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and gently place 3 or 4 into the cooled syrup. Leaving them in the syrup for approximately 10 seconds, constantly rotating the cookies in the syrup to ensure that both sides are well coated. Remove from syrup and drain on a cooling rack.
Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and drizzle a little honey on them just before serving.