Advent Calendar – Day 16 – Melomakarona (Greek honey-syrup cookies)

Yields: 35 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 50 Mins

If there’s one thing that really marks the festive season getting underway in earnest for me, it’s making melomakarona (μελομακἀρονα). These honey-syrup “cookies” are very traditional around Christmastime and Easter in Greece and Cyprus, and each family will have their own way of making them with varying ratios of semolina vs. flour. People will normally make some for themselves and some to give to others, leading to a mountain of melomakarona big enough to see you through to the new year! This is my mum’s recipe, which we’ve used since I was big enough to see over the counter and help. A last word of advice – if you can rope a partner/flatmate/sibling into helping you with the “syrup-dunking” at the end, it will make things a lot easier!

Written by Natalia Fantetti, IES PhD Candidate.


0/14 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the syrup
  • For the cookies
  • For the topping


0/9 Instructions
  • Put the semolina, sugar, flour and optional orange zest into a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, pour the orange and oil and mix together. In a glass, mix the brandy and bicarbonate of soda and dissolve. It should start to react and fizz a bit because of the brandy. Mix this into the bowl with the other liquids.
  • Slowly pour the liquid mix in with the dry ingredients and begin to stir.
  • Stir the mixture first with a spoon and then use your hands to properly blend. It is a fairly greasy mix, but you should be able to form oval shapes with it in the palm of your hand. Add extra flour if necessary. Pro tip: squish the dough that you’re working on a couple of times in your hands before forming the cookie shape - it bonds better together that way!
  • Lay out on greaseproof paper on a baking tray and put it in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes at 200°C /180°C (conventional/fan oven respectively).
  • Whilst your cookies are baking, start to work on the syrup and topping. For the syrup, bring all of your syrup ingredients to the boil in a large saucepan. You want to make sure your syrup is hot when the cookies come out of the oven, so be prepared to reheat the syrup if necessary.
  • In a small bowl, mix the crushed walnuts, cinnamon and sugar together for your topping and leave to one side.
  • Lay some greaseproof paper on a tray and bring it close to your saucepan with the syrup. For this part, you’ll need to be quick - once the cookies are ready to be taken out of the oven, gently submerge them into the syrup mixture a few at a time for a few seconds and then put them onto your cooling tray with the greaseproof paper. Once you have done all of them, drizzle a bit more syrup for good measure on top of all of your cookies.
  • Lastly, using a teaspoon, put a generous helping of the topping on each of your cookies. Then simply allow to cool and enjoy!

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