Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Melomakarona - Greek Christmas Cookies With Honey & Walnuts

It's been awhile since I had a christmas cookie baking fest. I have a few things planned for this year including these Greek Christmas cookies. These are not healthy at all, but they are very delicious. I made them 3 times last year because they were such a hit. For a vegan version, you may be able to use maple syrup in place of honey, but I haven't tried it.

Aren't they beautiful? The indents I made with the fork help the syrup absorb.

Nice and crumbly inside.

I used a cookie scoop to get them all the same size, and then shaped them.

Soaking in the syrup.

Melomakarona - Greek Christmas Cookies With Honey & Walnuts
Adapted from OMGfood
Makes 65-70 Cookies

2 cups olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cognac or brandy*
1/2 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups honey
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven at 350F and line a cookie sheet (or multiple sheets) with parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix the olive oil, cognac or brandy, orange juice, sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and orange zest. * I used more orange juice in place of the cognac. 1 cup of juice total.

In another bowl sift flour with baking powder and baking soda.

With a wooden spoon, slowly add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture.

The dough should come together into a ball. If it's a little sticky, add a bit of flour as needed.

Roll the dough into walnut size balls, then, flatten them slightly and shape them into an oval. This is the traditional shape, but you could leave them round if you wish.

I used a fork to make little indentations on the tops of the cookies.

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes. The cookies should be firm. They don't spread that much, so 1" of space between cookies should be enough. Continue until all the dough is used up.

When the cookies are almost done, start your syrup.

Over medium heat, place the honey, sugar and water in a small pot and let it boil for about 5 minutes. You want it to thicken a little.

Keep the syrup warm until all of the cookies are done. You want to pour it over them while it's still hot.

I like to place the cookies in a glass baking dish in even layers, and then pour the hot syrup on top. Use more than one dish if you have to. You need to be able to turn them every few hours so both sides get to absorb some of the syrup. Sometimes it takes a day to absorb the syrup.

To decorate these, combine the nuts and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the cookies. For a nut free version, just sprinkle with the cinnamon.

Store the decorated cookies in a sealed container at room temperature. I have not tried freezing them, because they don't last that long anyway.

The other treats I'm making this year are equally as unhealthy as the recipe above, but all extremely delicious. 

Gingerbread Cookies
White Chocolate Raspberry Slice Cookies
Small Batch Brown Sugar Cookies
Brownies and Blondies
Chocolate Rum Truffles
Cranberry Coconut Lemon Squares

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