Melomakarona (A Greek Christmas Cookie)

"These are a coarse-grained cookie soaked in a honey syrup (the semolina achieves this), popular throughout Greece during the Christmas Holidays. They are wonderful and are THE recipe that makes my house smell like Christmas - orange peel and cloves and cinnamon. The most unbelievable perfume wafts through the house for a couple of days after baking!"
photo by limeandspoontt photo by limeandspoontt
photo by limeandspoontt
photo by limeandspoontt photo by limeandspoontt
photo by limeandspoontt photo by limeandspoontt
photo by bigpetez photo by bigpetez
photo by mizboxster photo by mizboxster
Ready In:
40-50 cookies




  • Put the corn oil, butter, beer (or orange juice), cinnamon, cloves, orange peel and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until they are thoroughly blended.
  • Sift about one cup of flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt and blend into the oil mixture.
  • Add the semolina, a cup at a time, into this mixture.
  • Add enough of the remaining flour, a cup at a time, until you get a rather firm dough (you may need a bit more or less than the amount of flour mentioned in the ingredients list).
  • Use your hands to do the mixing, as an electric mixer will be useless after the first two or three cups of flour have been added.
  • Roll the dough into cylinders, about two inches long and one inch in diameter, flatten them with your hands, and place them on cookie sheets that have been greased with a little olive oil.
  • Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for half an hour.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and pour hot syrup over them.
  • Lay the cookies out in a rimmed baking pan large enough to contain them and pour the hot syrup over the cookies, sprinkle them with the chopped walnuts and let them soak overnight.
  • (Alternatively, if you do not have enough rimmed baking sheets to accommodate all the cookies, you can dip them in batches directly into the hot syrup - keeping the syrup at the lowest possible simmer - and allow to soak in the syrup for 8-10 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon).
  • For the syrup: mix the sugar, honey and water, and bring to a boil.
  • Cook on low heat for four minutes and skim off the foam that forms on top.
  • The next day put them on your prettiest platter, sprinkle each layer evenly with the finely chopped walnuts and wrap with plastic wrap (or put in an airtight container) and serve.
  • These are great keepers and will last for months (my Mom's 'big' batches sometimes made it nearly up until Easter!).

Questions & Replies

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  1. I was looking for a recipe for authentic Melomakarona that I could make this holiday season as a nostalgic treat for my Greek husband, and this recipe really fit the bill! I followed the recipe exactly as is (using OJ instead of beer), and baked them for the full 30 minutes. They turned out perfectly. Next came the syrup part -- which did take a bit of adaptation to get them to the right consistency that my husband recalls. Perhaps I should have done the slotted spoon method in the pot over the stove, but I opted to pour the simmering syrup over the cookies after they had cooled for 1/2 an hour in the pan. Perhaps the cookies had cooled too much (??), as it took several hours for the cookies to even BEGIN to soak up some of the honey syrup. We decided to put the whole sheet pan (cookies & syrup) back in the oven at a "warming" temp of 170F to help the absorption process along. We did this several times throughout a 5 hour period, and even flipped all the cookies over to try to get the tops to absorb the liquid. Finally, this method worked, and we ended up with DELICIOUS authentic Greek Christmas cookies! They really are very tasty. **Note for next time -- we will either try the slotted spoon method to incorporate the syrup into the cookies, OR try pouring the hot syrup over the cookies only 5 minutes after they come out of the oven (instead of waiting until they cool). **ALSO, of note, I used a regular ice cream scooper (not the kind that is round and has the spring lever) but a typical oblong ice cream scooper, to pack the raw cookie dough into to form the flattened egg-shaped cylinders. WORKED LIKE A CHARM & was far more efficient than molding each one by hand. Thanks Evelyn for a great recipe that I feel will become an annual Christmas tradition in our family!
  2. After receiving the Greek honey from Evelyn I just had to make these. Although they are a little bit of work to make they turn out wonderfully and make a LOT of cookies. Took some to work and a coworker told me that tasted like baklava in a cookie. Really wonderful with a cup of tea. Thanks Evelyn for such a great recipe!
  3. These were lovely. Having never had these before, I wasn't sure what a good version was. But thumbs up, very nice and even drenched in syrup were not overly sweet. Reminded me of baklava. I was looking for something different for Christmas. Will be fabulous with coffee. Thanks and will make again. I only made half a batch to try but rest assured it is worth making a lot and packing up in containers for future use. I stored mine in the fridge, in containers with the biscuits between layers of non stick paper.
  4. What a wonderful recipe. Thank you for posting it. I used the orange juice, also. I might add just a pinch more cinnamon and clove next time, just for personal tastes. I dipped the cookies in simmering syrup and let them soak for a minute. Removed them to trays and continued to dip remaining cookies, just warm, right out of the oven. After all cookies were dipped, I drizzled the remaining syrup over all, and sprinkled on the walnuts. I let them soak for 2 more days, then put them in tins. I poured any remaining syrup over them, again. I found that when stacking them in tins, it helps to alternate the direction of the layers. This makes it easier to remove them for eating. They're very sticky you know. Thanks again, Evelyn.
  5. Perfect! If there are any vegans in the room, I subbed earth balance for butter and noticed no difference whatsoever.


  1. earth balance for butter


<style>body { background: url(""); background-repeat: repeat-y; }</style> OK, here goes. I live in Athens, Greece. I moved out here many, many years ago from Ottawa, Canada - so I am blessed in having two wonderful heritages! I suffer from compulsive obsessive behaviour with regard to food and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea to find a 'society' where many have the same problem and try to find a cure. So far, I've copied a couple of thousand recipes from this site and my psychiatrist has thrown the towel in and refuses to answer the phone when I call. What did I do wrong? Got 3 kids that keep me on the go - 10 and under at this point (2008) - I may not get round to updating this for a few years, so you'll have to do your own maths. I teach English full-time and Greek Cookery part-time. I would like to make the cooking part of it full-time and the English Grammar part of it part-time. That's all for now.
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