This year, like all of us, I will spend the holidays with a lot of restrictions. In addition to the people I will miss, I will also miss their delicacies. So, this year, I decided to pick up my apron and make my own melomakarona for the first time.
Melomakarona (a.k.a. Greek Christmas honey cookies) is a personal matter. Some people want them very sweet, others want them crunchy, while there are also those who want the melomakarono so soft that it dissolves with just one bite. And somewhere in between here I am. I want my melomakarono crunchy on the outside, perfectly syrup-drenched on the inside and not too sweet.
Difficult huh? I thought so too until I decided to combine all the recipes I had tried in the past. So I got the use of flour and fine semolina from Akis Petretzikis. The addition of beer to the mixture from an old recipe of my mom, but also from my online friend, Lena. While, I could not resist and not add a little melted butter.
And this is how I ended up with a melomakarono that for me is the ideal. As soon as you approach it, the aromas of orange, cinnamon and clove tickle your nose. You hold it and you think that this is a typical cookie. But one bite is enough to convince you that it is a perfectly syrup-drenched soft cookie.
CAN I MAKE VEGAN MELOMAKARONA?
Making a vegan melomakarono is the easiest thing. You only have to substitute honey in the syrup, and the butter. You can substitute honey with an equal amount of maple syrup or agave. While, as it concerns the butter, you may substitute it with an equal amount of melted margarine or sunflower oil.
WHY SHOULD I ADD BEER IN THE MIXTURE?
In my recipe for these little Christmas delicacies you will see that I have included beer. I first saw the addition of beer in an old recipe of my mom. At first I hesitated but my online friend Lena convinced me to add some beer by sending me her mother-in-law’s recipe.
I really think that this year my melomakarona were very fragrant and aromatic. While the beer seems to have had a positive effect on their crunchiness too.
DO I NEED A MIXER FOR MAKING THE MIXTURE?
The mixture is very delicate and sensitive. So, no, there is no need for using a mixture. Actually it is forbidden. The mixture for the melomakarona does not need kneading, almost not at all. Mix the ingredients until the flour is wet. Otherwise you will end up with a dough from which you will have literally taken out the oil. And a recipe without fat will not have great luck.
What should I watch out for when syruping?
The syrup phase. It always worries me. Some people prefer melomakarona with a lot of syrup, others with less. As for me the ideal time during which the melomakarono should soak in the syrup. I soak them for about 20-25 seconds. Maximum 30.
Regardless of the time, what you should pay attention to is its temperature. The syrup should be cold in order to welcome the melomakarona. Cold syrup, hot melomakarona.
Since as you soak and remove melomakarona from the syrup, it will heat up, it would be good to divide it into two bowls. In this way, part of the syrup will remain cold to welcome the rest of the melomakarona.
Finally, you can prepare the syrup from the previous night so that you are ready in the morning.
May I substitute fine semolina?
Some people do not like the feeling that semolina gives to melomakarono. The semolina makes the melomakarono a little more crunchy. So if you also prefer a softer version of it, then you can substitute it with a corresponding quantity of flour.
May I use olive oil?
In the past I have tried melomakarona which had been made with olive oil, and I have to confess that I didn’t like them. Olive oil makes melomakarona a little heavier, especially in terms of their aroma. But if this is something you like, then of course you can use olive oil instead of sunflower oil or seed oil.
Any other tips?
In addition to the above I will give you two more tips for the perfect melomakarona:
- During their formation you should keep the same size amount them. Otherwise some will be baked more, some as much as needed and some less.
- Before adding them in the oven, lightly carve them with a sharp knife. This way the melomakarona will be cooked better, while the syrup will easier enter their inner world easier.
Tetis’ Greek Christmas honey cookies (melomakarona)
For the syrup
- 2 cups water
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 cloves
- 4 tbsp honey
For the mixture
- ½ cup melted butter (120 gr)
- 1 ½ cup sunflower oil
- ½ cup beer
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup zest from 1 medium orange
- ⅔ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 180 gr fine semolina
- 800-850 gr all-purpose flour
- finely chopped walnuts
For the syrup
- In a medium saucepan add the ingredients for the syrup, except the honey, and bring to boil.
- Once the syrup has boiled and the sugar has melted, remove from the heat.
- Add the honey. Stir and let the syrup cool for about 3 hours.
For the mixture
- In a large bowl add all the liquid ingredients, plus the sugar, orange zest, spices, baking powder and baking soda. Mix very well.
- In another bowl add the flour and the semolina. Mix by hand and then add it to the bowl with the liquid ingredients.
- Mix very gently by hand, for a very short time, until all the flour is wet.
- Mold cookie dough into oval shapes (30 gr each). Try to keep them as similar as possible.
- With the help of a sharp knife, lightly carve the melomakarona to create streaks.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for about 20-22 minutes until they get golden brown.
- Add hot melomakarona in the cold syrup and soak for 20-25 seconds.
- Drizzle with honey and chopped walnuts.
After years of testing, my palates know it, the day has come as I proudly presented you Teti’s Greek Christmas honey cookies. There are definitely many recipes out there, countless. But for me this is the ideal the one. Melomakarona with perfectly flavored by orange, clove and cinnamon. Crispy on the outside, and at the same time wonderfully syrup-drenched. Every bite, a small feast for your palates.
I would be thrilled to hear from you. Even more, if you make my recipe and post a photo of it. Just don’t forget to share your photo under the hashtag #tetisflakes. Please do not hesitate to comment below or contact me on Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter!
BECOME A MEMBER OF TETI’S FLAKES FAMILY
Have you subscribed to Teti’s flakes newsletter? As a subscriber, you will have access to exclusive content such as the series of the ebook “The flavors of the Seasons”and “Food photography – going from Auto to Manual“.
So if you want to become a subscriber, you may sign in here. After signing in you will receive a confirmation email. Attention, the email may end up in the Spam folder. Once you find it, all you have to do is confirm your email and that’s it!