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Melomakarona recipe (Greek Christmas Honey Cookies)

Melomakarona (Greek Christmas Honey Cookies)

Melomakarona recipe (Greek Christmas Honey Cookies)

Posted in ***Most liked recipes***, Baked, Desserts, Extra syrupy desserts, Intermediate, Mainland Greece, Our hand picked recipes, Tea and Coffee nibbles, Traditional Greek Christmas Recipes Originally published on Last updated on By


Making these sweet little cookies always makes me realise that it’s Christmas time! Melomakarona (Greek honey cookies) are one of the most popular treats throughout Greece during the Christmas Holidays and their intense homely smell makes every house smell like Christmas.. These sweet little Greek honey cookies (melomakarona) are super quick to bake, so much fun to make and highly addictive to eat! So consider yourself warned! This easy to follow traditional Greek melomakarona recipe makes 60 of these delicious festive Greek Christmas cookies, plenty for everyone to try. Serve over a hot cup of coffee and you have a match made in heaven…

Melomakarona recipe – A delicious Greek Christmas tradition

As with most holidays in Greece, Greek Christmas also revolves around food! This means that these are these festive days of the year to make all these traditional Greek recipes, like kourabiedes, vasilopita, diples and of course these amazing sweet little honey cookies, the traditional Greek melomakarona! Melomakarona are my absolute favourite Greek Christmas treat. And how couldn’t they be! Greek melomakarona are incredibly soft, moist and flavorsome and soaked in a delicious honey syrup. For an authentic last touch sprinkle the melomakarona with chopped walnuts and just a pinch of cinnamon and clove. Once put in the oven, the intense aromas of the sweet spices permeates the house and brings back childhood memories. Just heaven!

Try out this traditional sweet delight and let the smell of freshly baked cookies, orange and cinnamon remind you it’s Christmas! Enjoy! Oh and you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Συνταγή για τραγανά μελομακάρονα με σιμιγδάλι.

For the melomakarona

  • 150g thin semolina (5.3 ounces)
  • 500g flour (soft) (17.6 ounces)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 100g orange juice (3.5 ounces)
  • 3 tbsps cognac
  • 100g sugar (3.5 ounces)
  • 1 flat tbsp powdered cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg (powder)
  • 1/3 tsp clove (powder)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 90g water (3.2 ounces)
  • 125g olive oil (4.4 ounces)
  • 125g vegetable oil (4.4 ounces)
  • 50g honey (1.8 ounces)
  • zest of 2 oranges

For the syrup

  • 300g water (10 ounces)
  • 600g sugar (20 ounces)
  • 90g glucose (3 ounces)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 180g honey (7 ounces)

To garnish

  • 200g chopped walnuts (7 ounces)
  • powdered cinnamon (optional)
  • powdered clove (optional)

Instructions

  1. To prepare this melomakarona recipe start by making the syrup first. In a pot add all the ingredients for the syrup, except the honey and bring to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and remove from the stove. Stir in the honey and  set aside to cool completely.
  2. Prepare the dough for the melomakarona. In a bowl add the semolina, flour and baking powder and blend with a whisk to combine.
  3. In another large bowl add the orange juice, the cognac, the sugar and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, vanilla). At the end add the baking soda and whisk immediately the ingredients for 5-10 seconds, until the ingredients combine and the baking soda dissolves and starts to foam. Pour in the bowl the water, the oil, the orange zest and honey and whisk to combine.
  4. Now it’s time to combine the two mixtures. Add the mixed flour, semolina and baking powder (from step 2) in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients from step 3 and start kneading the dough for the melomakarona. Knead the dough for the melomakarona using your hands, until the ingredients combine and the dough is smooth and soft. When preparing a melomakarona recipe, it is very important not to overwork the dough. Knead lightly with your hands (like working with a meringue) until the flour has incorporated the mixture and the dough is really soft. Be careful not to add any more flour than this melomakarona recipe calls for, as this will make them tough.
  5. Preheat the oven at 180C. Layer the bottom of 2 baking trays with parchment paper and start shaping the melomakarona. Pinch a portion of dough about the size of a walnut/ 50g (or bigger, if you prefer) and shape with your palms into a smooth oblong shape, like a small egg. Place on the baking tray, push lightly the top with a fork and make some holes on top (not all the way down). Continue with the rest of the dough.
  6. Place the baking trays with the melomakarona in the oven and bake for approx. 20 minutes, until the melomakarona are lightly browned and cooked through.
  7. When the melomakarona come out of the oven, place them in the cold syrup, flipping them with a slotted spoon to absorb the syrup for approx. 10-20 seconds, depending on how syrupy you like them. (When syrupying the melomakarona it’s best do so in 2-3 batches). Remove the cookies using a slotted spoon, place on a platter and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
  8. Store the melomakarona at room temperature in an airtight container. They will last for all your Christmas Holidays!

Recipe image gallery:

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17 Comments

  1. Soulli Kleanthous says:

    How many does this make????

  2. Recipe didn’t work out for me. Dough too dry to work with, and did follow all instructions step by step…:(

    • Hi Rita, oh no, let me see what could have happened:

      1. Possibly the flour was sifted and then weighed? Should weigh the flour before sifting
      2. Used a mixer by any chance or kneaded the dough for too long? If yes, gluten has developed and made the dough hard / almost bread like.
      3. Did you use bread flour by any chance? Should be using normal, plain flour
      4. Possibly the cup was too small? It should be 250ml for a cup and if the dough feels a bit dry try adding a little extra oil mixture….

    • The dough needs more liquids. I use 1 and1/4 cups of orange juice and 1/2 cup of brandy in 3 pounds of flour. Yield 93 pieces.

  3. Demetria Makarios says:

    Hi Eli Katerina – If I made these in the next few days 8th Dec would them keep until christmas or am I better to make them closer to the time?

    • Thats what I always do every year, make them about 2 weeks before Christmas and they are just fine for the whole holiday season. The problem is that they are never enough and they usually get eaten up pretty quickly!

      Love

      Eli

    • No it’s okay, they last a long time, also I’ve put them in the freezer before adding the honey, actually taste better ,when ready remove from freezer make syrup, make sure syrup is hot and dip each cookie in syrup

  4. For the butter do you use salted or unsalted butter ?

  5. I am having a hard time using the exact amount as is in the recipe because when I convert to cups it doesn’t give me the right amount…. Is there an easier way?

    • Carol Ann Speight says:

      In my 50 years + of baking I have found that a good kitchen scale is worth its value in gold for certain recipes! (I noted that your post was made in April 2015 BUT also noted that no one had responded!)

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  7. This recipe is perfect, I used Kalymnian thyme honey and Iliada kalamata extra vergin olive oil… They were the best that ever came out of my oven. Instead of cognac I used grand marnier liqeur and I had fresh oranges, the ingredients really made the difference I think!

  8. Great recipe except I was left over with lots of syrup and 20 mins was a little too long for me. I think I will make half the amount of syrup next time. Left over syrup is my incentive to make another batch 🙂

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