Greek Christmas Cookies: Melomakarona!

IMG_7426Are you going to trust a common, nameless recipe or a tested one that is part of the family tradition of a home?

Menelaos Tsaoussis ( a good friend and a fine man working for the SOS Villages Greece), who volunteers at the Sunday Collective Kitchen we put up in 2012 at the premises of Organization Earth (www.ogi.org), always uses his aunt Litsas’ recipe to prepare homemade melomakarona.

“You wouldn’t feel it’s Christmas if the house didn’t smell of melomakarona” , he says while he reminisces back in his childhood days when his aunt visited his family to prepare the melomakarona at his house for the holidays.
The aroma of these super moist Christmas cookies is indeed so wonderful and festive!

Menelaos’ Aunt Litsa’s Melomakarona
(well, yes, it makes 150-170 small melomakarona)

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1 liter vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1/2 liter) beer
  • 1 tea cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 level tsp clove powder
  • 2 kilos all-purpose flour
  • 1 small cup Metaxa cognac
  • Zest of one orange
  • 150 gr chopped walnuts

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar

Preparation:

In a large bowl combine vegetable oil and beer.

In a separate bowl whisk the sugar, the cinnamon, the clove and the orange zest then combine with the oil and beer mixture.

Slightly heat the cognac and mix in the baking soda until dissolved.

Pour to the bowl and softly mix. Add the flour and knead until you get medium dough.

Shape the melomakarona and place them on a baking tray. Prick them lightly with a fork to create decorative lines.

Preheat the oven at 180C and bake for 20 minutes.

When ready, remove from the oven and let cool completely.

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The melomakarona before baking.

To make the syrup heat the water, honey and sugar in a pan and, while steering, bring to the boil.

Drizzle the syrup over the melomakarona and let cool.

Sprinkle the melomakarona with finely chopped walnuts.

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