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Melomakarona, the traditional Christmas dessert in Greece

Melomakarona are delicious honey cookies that the Greeks treat themselves to during the holidays and especially during the Christmas period. They are syruped with honey and sprinkled with nuts. This festive dessert has become synonymous - along with kourabiedes and diples - of the Christmas table, one of the most welcomed Greek recipes during the holiday season. And despite the fact that we enjoy kourabiedes more or less all year round, we only prepare melomakarona at Christmas. With melomakarona, your home will be filled with wintery flavors, aromas of orange, honey, cinnamon and cloves!

Melomakarona, the traditional Christmas dessert in Greece
  • Preparation time

    Preparation time

    00:15

  • Cooking time

    Cooking time

    00:30

  • Serves

    Serves

    80

  • Cuisine

    Cuisine

    Greek

Ingredients

For the syrup:

  • 500g water
  • 800g of sugar
  • 150g of honey
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 orange, cut in half

For the dough:

  • 1 kg of flour
  • 200g fine semolina
  • 400g orange juice
  • 400g seed oil
  • 180g extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
  • 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • orange zest from 2 oranges

For the composition:

  • honey
  • nuts passed through a blender
  • Why do we eat melomakarona at Christmas?

    Why do we eat melomakarona at Christmas?

    It's not Christmas in Greece until the pastry chefs start stacking mounds of Melomakarona and Kourabiedes. And this divides Greek society into two groups: those who prefer melomakarona and those who prefer kourabiedes. But how did these sweet and honeyed Christmas cookies get their name?

    The word "melomakarona" comes from the ancient Greek μακαρία (makaria) which were cakes that were offered after the funeral.

    The Latins and later the Italians used the word μακαρωνία (makaronia) as maccarone, which eventually meant spaghetti.

    Finally, as early as the Middle Ages in France and England, a type of macaroon was called a “macaroon” (the well-known “macaroon”).

    Today, with the prefix "melo" which means "honey", these cookies, soaked in honey syrup, have lost all connotation of mourning and sadness and rightly claim their place at the holiday table.

    From the beginning of November, pastry shops across the country begin to bake fresh melomakarona, officially kicking off the Christmas season ... at least in the kitchen!

  • The melomakarona recipe in easy steps

    The melomakarona recipe in easy steps

    Prepare the syrup first, which will need to be cold to put the melomakarona in.

    1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, cloves and the halved orange. Let it boil for a few minutes then remove from the heat.
    2. Then add the honey, mix well and let the syrup cool completely.
  • For the delicious cookies, traditional recipe

    For the delicious cookies, traditional recipe
    1. Preheat the oven to 190 ° C in air.
    2. Then put all the liquid ingredients in a large bowl and mix them with a whisk.
    3. In a second bowl, combine all the solid ingredients.
    4. Add the mixture with the liquid ingredients to the mixture with the solids and mix very gently with your hands, for a very short time (maximum 10 seconds). Warning, kneading the dough in the proper way is really important! The dough doesn't need a lot of kneading because the oil will come out and it won't be crispy afterwards!
    5. On a baking sheet covered with baking paper, shape the melomakarona by giving them an oval shape 3-4 cm in diameter, 30g each (or use a cookie cutter). Prick them lightly with a fork
    6. Bake for 30 minutes until crispy and golden.
    7. Once they are ready, add the hot melomakarona to the cold syrup and let stand 10-15 seconds. Then drain them and sprinkle with honey and crushed walnuts.
    8. Arrange them on a pretty Christmas plate and enjoy!
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