How is Miami? Here in London it is snowing and absolutely getting the spirit right for Christmas!! N5FG9VU5JH9D
In the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to prepare some cookies for the house, which we make in Greece, in anticipation of the holidays :) These cookies are dairy-free & egg-free walnut cookies, dipped in a honey syrup and are an absolute treat. (Melomacarona literally mean: honeyed macaroons) Around this season, they are offered in any store or home as a sign of welcoming.
When I was still living in Chicago, Zoe and J were visiting over Thanksgiving. We tried to make them, so as to bring them as a treat for some friends who were having us over for Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunately for us, our hosts and the rest of the party had no idea what these cookies were meant to taste like, so for their purposes, they were a tasty Greek version of biscotti. Unfortunately for them, they had no idea what they were really missing! A deliciously soft and luxuriously honey-soaked piece of goodness!!!
Well today, well over 3 years later, I decided to give it another whirl… and thankfully for all those trying these, they came out FANTABULOUS!!!! Thanks to an amazing book that Yiayia Matina gave me for my birthday on “The recipes and history of the breads and sweets of the Greeks”, and Zoe’s tips and tricks(learnings from The Sweet Spot) for amazing Melomacarona!!
For the Syrup:
- 650gr honey
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon(zest & juice)
For the Melomacarona:
- 3 cups sunflower oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 oranges (zest & juice)
- 1/2 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 cup whiskey (or Cognac)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1.5 kg self rising flour
- 100gr (3/4 cup) coarsely chopped walnuts
For the garnish:
- 200 gr chopped walnuts
- Make the syrup first, so that it gets cold by the time your cookies are out of the oven. Place sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. When the sugar is dissolved, stir in the rest of the ingredients and heat through. Turn off heat and leave to cool.
- Beat the oil and sugar until creamy. Keep beating and add the cinnamon, cloves, the orange zest and juice, soda, whiskey and water. Change mixer to hook attachments slowly add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until just barely beaten, be careful not to overbeat. Leave dough to rest for 1/2 hour.
- Preheat oven to 180˚C. Form into small ovals (about 1 tbsp quantity) place on oiled baking sheet about 1 cm (0.5 in) apart. Score each cookie with a sharp knife 3 times along the longest part of the oval, and 2 times down the length of the cookie. Bake for 20 minutes.
- As soon as they come out of the oven, dip as many as are able to fit in a single layer in the cooled syrup and leave to soak of a good 20 seconds. Transfer to a cooling rack with a paper towel underneath, to allow the excess syrup to drip off.
- In the final serving dish, you will be making a cone shaped tower of your finished melomacarona. To begin, make a broad bottom layer placing the cookies in a radial design, sprinkle with cinnamon and walnuts. Place the next circular layer on top of the bottom layer, arranging the cookies in a smaller radius, sprinkle with cinnamon and walnuts. Keep going in this manner until you reach the top, where you will have the last melomacarono to crown your cone.