No eggs, no milk, no butter in these cookies, only olive oil!
This is a traditional Greek cookie, usually made during Christmas. They’re called “melomakarona” in Greek which means something like “honey macaroons”… So, the name honeyroons seemed fitting! Though there are several variations, the basic recipe is very old and it doesn’t require a mixer since at the time it was developed there weren’t any! Another reason it doesn’t require a mixer is because it has no butter. Olive oil gets mixed with sugar and some orange juice and then the mixture is beaten with a whisk until sugar is almost dissolved. I have seen my grandmother do this using not a whisk, but her hand! Yes, she actually poured the wet ingredients into a large bowl along with the sugar and mixed them together with her bare hand – if thinking of trying this for yourself, you’ll want to use only one hand and keep the other clean, unless you want to make a mess in your kitchen! Oh, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly first 🙂
This is the time to mention that during the holidays the whole country is divided in two opposite sides. There are the ones in favor of honeyroons and the ones in favor of kourabiedes (kourabiedes are a type of almond sugar cookies, also baked at the same period). It’s hard to say which side is the most hardcore because both have very high standards and are not willing to make any sacrifices! Luckily, most households are filled with both kinds of cookies, so no one feels left out!
Another plus of these cookies is that they’re perfect for people who follow an egg free or dairy free diet. Yes, they have no eggs and no milk! The basic ingredients are olive oil (or vegetable oil), orange juice, sugar and flour. You make a simple dough and then form elongated, oval shaped cookies (though I prefer to make them round).
The dough is meant to be a little oily, so don’t be afraid if you see some oil coming out of it. Just form the cookies and let that olive oil treat your hands like an expensive hand cream – another plus of this recipe! After the cookies are baked, they’re soaked in honey syrup, and get covered with crashed walnuts (my mom makes a mix of crashed walnuts and sesame which is a lot better, so that’s the way I do it, too). Optionally – but as far as I’m concerned, obligatory – you can first cover them with chocolate and then top with some crashed nuts. And there you have it, the best cookie of your life! I’ve also made some without the chocolate, just to show you how they turn out!
OK, let’s sum up:
And to think that this is really a traditional recipe that didn’t need any modifications to it! How cool is that? Could someone say that these honeyroons are healthier than your average cookie? I guess he could!
Use a mild olive oil or a 50-50 mix of olive oil and another vegetable oil. You don’t want the olive oil flavor to be overpowering.
After you add the flour, mix very gently until just combined and let the dough rest for half an hour. Don’t over mix, because the more you mix, the more oil will come out of the dough.
This recipe makes a lot of cookies, but since they have no eggs nor dairy, they keep really well when stored in an airtight container, up to 10-12 days or maybe more!
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- ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- zest of an orange
- zest of a lemon
- 1 ⅓ cup (300 grams) mild olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
- ½ cup (120 grams) orange juice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup (60 grams) brandy or cognac
- ¼ cup (60 grams) water
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 cups (720 grams) all purpose flour (if dough is too soft you may need some more)
- a pinch of salt
- For the syrup
- ½ cup honey (thyme honey works best)
- 1½ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For coating
- 1 cup crashed walnuts mixed with
- ½ cup toasted sesame, crashed
- 24.7 oz (700 grams) melted chocolate, about 55% cocoa
- In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and zest.
- Add the olive oil and stir.
- Bring a glass with the orange juice over the bowl, add in the glass the baking soda and stir it. It will foam a lot, but the foam will fall in the bowl. Pour the rest of the juice in the bowl, add the brandy and water and stir until well combined.
- In a separate bowl mix the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add them to the olive oil mixture and stir gently until just combined. If dough is too soft and sticky, add some more flour to make it pliable.
- Let it rest for 30 minutes and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Make balls the size of a ping pong ball (about 25 grams) flatten them a little and bake for 30 minutes or until browned.
- Let cookies in a rack to cool.
- For the syrup, heat the water, cinnamon stick and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the honey and the vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Place the cookies upside down in a large pan or two smaller pans. With a spoon pour all of the syrup over them. Let them there for about an hour and then turn them over, face up. Let them soak the rest of the syrup (it will take a few hours but you can also do that overnight; just cover the pans with some cling film).
- Coat the cookies with the nut mixture, or cover them with melted chocolate and sprinkle with some nuts.
For best results, the chocolate should be tempered before coating. The easiest way is to finely chop the chocolate, melt the two thirds, and then add the remaining third and stir until smooth. If it begins to thicken, just heat it briefly on a water bath or in the microwaves.
Store in an airtight container for up to 10-12 days or maybe more!