Melomakarona are a delicious little spice cookie that’s dipped in a honey infused simple syrup and topped with chopped walnuts. Like the other recipes I’m posting this week, these are traditionally only made at Christmas. Greeks are quite particular about reserving certain dishes for specific events, which is sometimes quite unfortunate because I’m in love with a sweet dish that’s only made for funerals and memorials and my mother refuses to teach me how to make it when our family gets together during the holidays. Even though she has a Ph.D., the superstitions of her homeland are still alive and well.
Alright, let’s make these little guys. Our ingredients are:
1 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cognac o brandy
1/4 cup orange juice
3.5 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts for garnishing
Using a mixer, mix together the oil and sugar. Add in the cognac and the orange juice. In a separate measuring cup, mix together the baking soda,powder, cinnamon and cloves and add it to the mix. Now, slowly add in additional cups of flour until you can roll the dough into a seamless ball (without it cracking). I usually stop using the mixer at this point and start mixing by hand so that I can make sure to get the consistency right. This is the consistency and shape that we’ll be making.
Truly, you can mold them into whatever shape you’d like, just make sure that they’re all the same size. Of course, this is the traditional shape of the cookies in Greece and, you guessed it, the only shape that we make them here. Once they’re all shaped, lightly score the tops with the flat top of a fork, which both slightly flattens them and makes criss-cross marks across the surface.
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Just like yesterday’s recipe, we’re going to allow the cookies to cool completely before proceeding.
Once they’re cool, let’s put the simple syrup together. In a sauce pan, add in the sugar, water and honey and allow the mixture to softly boil for 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off of the syrup. Using tongs, we’re going to drop in 5 cookies at a time, allow them to soak in they syrup for about 30 seconds, and then put them back on the cookie sheet.
After they’ve all been dipped, sprinkle the tops with the chopped walnuts. Using a ladle, spoon the remaining syrup on top of the cookies.
Like the other cookies, these are meant to get better as time passes so while you’re definitely free to pop a couple into your mouth immediately, they’ll be phenomenal the following day.
If you’re serving these to others or taking them with you, put each cookie in a muffin liner and put a piece of wax paper in between each layer.
**This recipe was first posted in December, 2009.