They are greek traditional little cookies called melomakarona, which translates as “honey macaroons”, and they are actually made with olive oil and lots of Christmas spices which are then soaked in honey syrup and topped with chopped walnuts.
- 2 cups of olive oil, light in taste
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup of semolina
- 650-700 gr of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon clove powder
- 250 gr walnuts, chopped
- 1 & 1/2 cups of water
- 2 cups sugar
- 10 tbsp honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- piece of orange peel (optional)
- You have to begin by preparing the syrup as this needs to be ready when cookies come out of the oven. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, stir together then bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Discard any foam that forms on top of the syrup.
- Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Lower the heat to lowest setting and keep the syrup warm until cookies are ready.
- Preheat the oven to 170C (340F). Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat together sugar and olive oil.
- Add the orange juice with semolina and spices.
- Gradually add flour, mixed with the baking powder, until the dough forms a ball. Stop adding the flour once cookies hold their shape.
- Shape by taking a small fist full of dough (size of a walnut) and making a short oval shape.
- Place on the trays, slightly spaced apart.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until evenly coloured.
- Remove from the oven and drop them, a few at a time, into the simmering syrup for 1-2 minutes, flipping them over to soak evenly. Continue until all the cookies are used up.
- Layer the cookies on a platter and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.
- Keep at room temperature, loosely covered with foil.
- They keep very well for a couple of weeks, their taste actually improving over time.
Every time though, we leave a few without syrup…. just for the morning coffee!!!