Learn how to make the famous Greek Christmas cookies “melomakarona”! Recipe and video!
The history behind “melomakarona”
“Melomakarona” are the traditional Christmas cookies in Greece. Everyone loves them because they are moist with honey! The best melomakarona are those which are crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside! They are really delicious and they smell spices! The best Christmas proposal!
The etymology of the word “melomakarona” is Greek from the words meli (honey) and makaroni (spaggeti). The word makaroni comes from the dinner that ancient Greeks offer after the funeral of a beloved person. This dinner has the name “makaronia” and the pie they make in the memory of that person called “makaria”. Later in the “makaria” pie, Greeks added honey (in Greek the honey is translated as “meli”), thus we have meli + makaria, which over the years called “melomakarona”. The reason why those spiced melomakarona became the traditional Christmas cookies is that they have lots of honey which from ancient times in Greece, symbolized the creativity and the wellbeing, two things that we want from the new year to bring us!
The recipe is by Akis Petretzikis, who is one of the most famous chefs in Greece. He was also the winner of the Greek TV show “Master Chef”. In the video you can watch him prepare his delicious Christmas cookies “melomakarona” !
Ingredients for your “melomakarona”:
- 500 ml water
- 800 g granulated sugar
- 150 g honey
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 orange, cut in half
- 400 ml orange juice
- 400 ml sunflower oil
- 180 ml olive oil
- 50 g caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- grated zest of 2 oranges
- 1 kilo all-purpose flour
- 200 g fine semolina
Method to make “melomakarona”:
For the syrup:
- Boil all of the ingredients for the syrup, apart from honey, for 3-4 hours. This is done so that by the time the cookies come out of the oven, the syrup will have cooled.
- When the syrup is ready, remove from heat and add the honey. Stir and set aside to cool completely.
For the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 190* C (370*F) Fan.
- To make the cookies, you need to prepare 2 separate mixtures.
- For the first mixture, add all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix, using a hand whisk.
- In a separate bowl, add all of the ingredients for the second mixture.
- Combine the first and second mixture.
- Mix by hand, very gently and for a very short time (10 seconds at the most). If you mix longer the mixture will split or curdle.
- Mold cookie dough into oval shapes, 3-4 cm in long, 30 g each. Try to keep them as similar as possible.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until they are crunchy and dark golden brown.
- As soon as you remove them from the oven, soak the hot cookies in the syrup for 10 seconds.
- Allow them to drain on a wire rack.
- Drizzle with honey and chopped walnuts.