Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Traditional Greek Christmas Honey Cookies with Walnuts (Melomakarona)

For about 55-60 cookies:
2 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup brandy
1 teaspoons baking soda
Zest of one orange
Pinch of salt
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, ground coarsely
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the syrup:
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
4-5 whole cloves
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 200oC.
Cookies: In a large mixing bowl blend using an electric mixer the liquids (vegetable oil, orange juice, brandy) with the sugar, and orange zest.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, and baking soda and salt.
Slowly incorporate the flour mixture cup by cup with the liquids mixture until a dough is formed that is not too loose but not quite firm either. It will be dense and wet but not sticky.
To roll cookies, collect a small portion of dough in your finger (same as a medium meatball). Shape in your palms into a smooth oblong shape, almost like a small egg. Arrange the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Let some space among the cookies.
Using a fork, press slightly each cookie downwards to form light line patterns on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes until lightly browned.
In a small bowl combine the walnuts with the ground cinnamon.
Syrup: While baking the cookies, prepare the syrup.
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and stir in lemon juice.
As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven and while they are still very warm, deep the cookies in the syrup and allow the cookies to absorb syrup on both sides.
Using a spatula, remove the cookie from the syrup and arange on a platter. Sprinkle over each cookie some ground walnuts with cinnamon and press it lightly into the tops of the cookies.
Serve this traditional Greek Christmas Cookies with some tea and…. Enjoy!