Melomakarona – Greek traditional Christmas Cookies

Christmas is nearly there and in Greece this means we buy, eat, treat or make Melomakarona.

What does melomakarona mean? 

The melomakarono (Greek: μελομακάρονο plural: μελομακάρονα, melomakarona) is an egg-shaped Greek dessert made mainly from flour,olive oil, and honey. Along with the kourabies it is a traditional dessert prepared primarily during the Christmas holiday season.

Typical ingredients of the melomakarono are flour or semolina, sugar, orange zest and/or fresh juice, cognac (or similar beverage), cinnamon and olive oil. During rolling they are often filled with ground walnuts. After baking they are immersed for a few seconds in hot syrup made of honey and sugar dissolved in water. Finally, they are decorated with ground, as well as bigger, pieces of walnut. Dark chocolate-covered melomakarona are also a more recent variation of the traditional recipe.

They are not difficult to make and you can find many recipes in the internet as well as videos showing you how to start. It is also a nice activity to do together with kids.
A lot of OMILO students have baked those delicious Christmas cookies with success! Impress your family and/or friends and treat them with self-made melomakarona! Good luck.

A recipe for melomakarona

2 cups oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 cup fine semolina
1 kilo flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
Lemon and Orange zest
Simple syrup: (In a pot, mix together 1 cup each of water, honey and sugar and
bring to boil while stirring constantly.)
Crushed walnuts

Preheat oven to 200c

1. Beat oil well with a mixer, then add the sugar, both zests, orange juice, semolina, and then, a little at a time, the flour mixed with the baking soda.
2. Form the dough into small shapes, as the pastries will get quite big while baking. Make sure the oven is hot before baking, otherwise the pastries will flatten. Bake for about 30 minutes until pastries are firm and golden brown.
3. When completely cooled, arrange in rows in a pan and pour warm syrup over them. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.

Tip! If you want to be on the ideal Greek Christmas mood, while baking cookies, you can also listen to or sing the Greek Christmas Carols!