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Melomakarona (Greek honey cookies)

Melomakarona are Greek honey spiced cookies usually baked for Christmas. They're made with oil and have no eggs, no milk, and no butter. They're covered in walnuts or chocolate!

Course Dessert, Sweet
Cuisine Greek, Lenten, Mediterranean
Keyword chocolate, Christmas, cookies, honey, melomakarona, spiced, walnuts
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 40
Calories 197 kcal
Author The Hungry Bites

Ingredients

For the Melomakarona cookies

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest of an orange
  • 1 1/3 cup (300 grams) mild olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) orange juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) brandy or cognac
  • 4 3/4 cups (600 grams) all purpose flour (if the dough is too sticky you may need some more)

For the honey syrup:

  • 1/2 cup honey (thyme honey works best)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the coating

  • 1 cup crashed walnuts
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds, crashed
  • OR
  • 17 oz (500 grams) melted chocolate, about 55% cocoa

Instructions

  1. Make the cookies: In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, the cinnamon, the cloves, the baking soda, the baking powder, the salt, and the zest. Add the oil and mix until the sugar is almost dissolved. Add the orange juice and the brandy and stir until homogenized.

    Add the flour and stir gently until just combined (don't mix too much because the oil will start coming out of the dough). The dough should be soft.

  2. Rest: Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime, line your baking pans with parchment paper, and preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

  3. Form the cookies: If the dough is too sticky, add some more flour to make it pliable. Make balls the size of a ping pong ball (about 1 ounce / 28 grams), flatten them a little between your palms and place them on the baking pan leaving some space between them.

    Traditionally, the cookies are pierced with a fork 3-4 times or a grater is gently press on their surface to create a pattern.

  4. Bake: Bake for 30 minutes or until cookies are well browned. Let them cool on a rack.

  5. Make the honey syrup: Transfer the water, the cinnamon stick and the sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and add the honey. Stir until well combined.

  6. Soak the cookies: Place the cookies upside down in a large pan (or two smaller pans) that just fits them. Spoon the hot syrup over the cookies. Let them soak for about an hour and then flip them. Let them soak the rest of the syrup (it will take sometime but you can also do it overnight).

  7. Coat: Coat the cookies with the nut mixture, or cover them with melted chocolate and sprinkle with some nuts.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • If you want your melomakarona extra extra fresh you can soak half of them in half of the syrup and keep the rest for another time. without the syrup the cookies will keep well in an airtight container for many days.
  • If you want more honey in the syrup you can use these quantities: 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup water, 3/4 cups sugar, 1 cinnamon stick .
  • You can halve the ingredients for the coating and make half cookies with chocolate and half with walnuts.

Chocolate Cover:

  • For the best results, the chocolate should be tempered before coating. The easiest way is to chop the chocolate and melt the two thirds over low heat. When it is totally melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining third, stirring until smooth.
  • Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate one by one and remove them with a fork. Let the chocolate drain for a few seconds and transfer them onto a piece of parchment paper. Let them rest until the chocolate has hardened.
  • If the chocolate begins to thicken while coating the cookies, heat it briefly on a water bath or in the microwaves.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 12 days (or even more).

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