Every year, around Christmas time, in Greece, the melomakarona cookies show up magically in every single home in Greece. Their smell alone wakes up so many memories…What is there not to love?
Cinnamon and cloves, honey syrup and chocolate combined! Little bites of heaven that are almost too good for you as they are made primarily with oil instead of butter. The name ” melomakarona“in greek means “honey pasta” but don’t let the name fool you .
Try these delicious Greek Christmasy (or any holiday )cookies and let me know what you think. With or without chocolate, they are simply heavenly!
Spiced cookies, dipped in honey syrup and glazed with chocolate
- 240 grams vegetable oil
- 240 grams olive oil virgin
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 50 grams brandy
- 1/2 cup orange juice fresh squeezed
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp orange zest grated
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- nine hundred grams all purpose flour sifted
- four hundred grams sugar
- four hundred grams water
- four hundred grams honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 1 cinnamon stick
- bittersweet chocolate chips
- walnuts finely chopped
- pistachio nuts unsalted, unroasted and ground
For the dough:
Sift the flour along with the baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl combine the olive and vegetable oils along with the sugar and and stir with a whisk for about 5 minutes till it becomes whitish in color. Then add the brandy along with the cinnamon and the cloves. In a glass on top of the bowl with the oil,combine the orange juice with the baking soda and once it starts foaming purr it in the bowl with the oil.
As you wisk slowly add the flour till it all becomes one and the dough is soft and pliable, but be careful not to overmix, because the oil will start coming out of the dough.
Preheat the oven at 340 degrees F.
Line 3 pans with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. Roll small balls of the dough of about 1 tbsp each place about 1 inch apart and flatten them. Do a small imprint on them with a fork and bake for about 25 minutes till they get slightly crispy and golden brown.
Once done, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely, preferably on a cooling rack.
For the syrup:
Combine all ingredients but the brandy in a pot and stir till the sugar dissolves and it starts boiling.From the minute that it starts boiling we lower the heat to medium low and we let it boil for 3-4 minutes. Once it is done, lower the heat to the lowest setting and remove all the white foam that has accumulated on top. The brandy is finally added ( be careful because it will boil rapidly for a second).
Dip the cooled cookies , a few at a time, in the syrup. count to 7 and flip them over so both sides are covered . Count again till 7 and remove promptly.Place them in a pan or big platter. Repeat with all cookies.
Once all cookies are dipped in the honey syrup and cooled, melt 1 1/2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave and add 4 tbsp of butter. Melt together and stir till it combines. You may add a teaspoon of extra butter if needed.
Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate mixture and place on a cooling rack. Sprinkle with pistachio nuts or walnuts and let them cool off completely.
You may store them in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
Just some things you need to know:
- You may omit the chocolate and this way the melomakarona cookies will be Vegan eligible and cholesterol free.
- Don't forget not to overmix the dough because it will start pulling the oil out of the dough. If that happens the melomakarona will be equally tasty but will not absorb as much syrup and will not be as "airy".
- You may make them just with olive oil but the flavor might differ a bit.
- They are always better the next day as the syrup settles throughout the cookie.
- Each serving is measured as approximately 2 cookies per person