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!
- Ready In:
- 1 1⁄2 cups light olive oil or 1 1/2 cups corn oil
- 1⁄2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup beer (or more) or 1 cup orange juice (or more)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 oranges, zest of, grated
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups fine ground semolina (cream of wheat or farina)
- 6 cups flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 1⁄2 cups greek thyme honey
- 1 cup water
- 3⁄4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 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!).