Melomakarona (Greek Honey-Spice Cookies)

By • December 15, 2012 • 11 Comments



Author Notes: These are a traditional Greek holiday cookie that my fiancé's family makes every year. His cousin, Lisa, graciously shared her recipe with me and I've adapted it slightly. For a more sandy texture, try replacing some of the AP flour with semolina. Kristy Mucci

Makes about 60 cookies

Cookies

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Finely crushed walnuts, for topping the cookies

Honey Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder.
  2. Beat the butter until it is light in color and fluffy, about 10 minutes in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and continue mixing for about 5 more minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and orange juice together. Add to the butter mixture and make sure it is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, mixing after each addition, then add the teaspoon of honey. Mix just until a soft dough forms. Chill dough 30 minutes to 1 hour before shaping.
  5. Shape the dough into small ovals and flatten a little on the cookie sheet. These cookies do spread a little, so be sure to leave enough room in between. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the syrup ingredients over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
  7. When cookies are cool enough to handle, dip into syrup on both sides for about 10-15 seconds. Gently press freshly-dipped cookies top side down onto crushed walnuts, then place on wax paper top side up. Let dry completely before you store.
  8. NOTES FROM COUSIN LISA: Cookies should be stored in an air tight container and can be kept fresh for several weeks if properly stored. Cookies can be baked and frozen until ready to dip into syrup and ground walnuts, just bring them to room temperature before dipping. Be sure to cool dipped cookies before storing to prevent them from becoming soggy.
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19 days ago Rivka

lovely recipe. a couple notes for others who might have wondered: the cookie sheet doesn't need to be lined or greased - the cookies don't stick. I placed the cookies 2 inches apart and they had plenty of room to expand.

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8 months ago alexandra.cook

The original greek recipe uses olive oil (instead of butter) and no eggs (therefore suitable for the pre-Christmas lent observed by some people in Greece) and they do keep very well until after New Year's day.
Still this version of the recipe (primarily due to the boiled syrup which "seals" the cookies) should keep well. Remember to cover your cookie trays with saran wrap; moisture from the environment can make them soggy if left uncovered. Under a cake bell on a cake plater: that's how I keep mine visible and protected.

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8 months ago jackie

Do these keep well stored? Can I make these now 12/15 and serve for Christmas? Merry Christmas all

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9 months ago bkmmtl

Made them today and stuck an almond in the top rather that walnuts. They were a hit!

1863

9 months ago Jen0315

Huh... so this is what the singer of Passion Pit eats during the holidays!

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over 1 year ago alexandra.cook

You can sub oil for butter; the way to "whip it up" like butter by fridging (do not freeze). Put the oil in a glass bottle (i.e. old fashioned single serving soda), chill for 2-3 hours. Seal tighly and holding with a towel (don't want to get it warm and liquid) shake well for 1-15 mins. It will be cloudy and fluffy enough to whip in the recipe. This is how they used to do it in old times in greece before technology introduced food processors. I've only done it once (I prefer to tone my arms in the gym!) :)

Me

over 1 year ago Amanda Li

Amanda is a developer at Food52.

wow that's incredible! thanks for the info alexandra!

Me

over 1 year ago Amanda Li

Amanda is a developer at Food52.

Made these for a holiday party and subbed out 1/2 cup of the flour with semolina, and used crushed almonds. They were soooo good! The OJ was a nice touch to the cookies. It might be fun to try freezing/fridging some olive oil and subbing out some of the butter - wonder if that will cream as well as butter.

Sophia

over 1 year ago Sophia R

My sister made these the other day and the were so so so good - the entire family loved them and devoured these sticky spicy cookies in a blink. Am already bookmarking the recipe to make these myself once I have come down from m holiday-induced sugar high and have a craving for cookies again!

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over 1 year ago abbygayle

Made these today using spelt flour. They are excellent. My greek husband approves and says they are the real deal. Great recipe. Now I need to scrub the honey off all the surfaces of my kitchen.

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over 1 year ago alexandra.cook

I always enjoy finding "new twists" for ooold ooold recipes! This is definitely the "cookie" version of a traditional Xmas sweet in Greece. Butter and eggs are not supposed to go in this recipe, as it is intended to remain "vegan" (hence the olive oil) since a lot of greeks (still today) fast from animal foodstuff anywhere from 40 to 7 days prior to Xmas.
To keep them from getting soggy they can be arranged on decorative platters and covered tightly with plastic wrap.

P.S. Love, love, love your blog! 'following it for a few months now.
Happy Holidays