“Melomakarona” are traditional Christmas treats in Greece made with oil, flour and cinnamon. The traditional recipe calls for nuts but in our house we have a nut allergy so we make a nut free version. I got the basic recipe from Vicky. Here you can see what they’d look like with the beautiful nut toppings.
- 500 ml olive oil
- 100 grams sugar
- 125 ml cognac
- 125 ml orange juice
- Zest from 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 800 grams all purpose flour
- 150 grams fine semolina
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- (100 grams chopped nuts for the nutty version)
- For the syrup: 700 grams sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, two orange wedges or 1 teaspoon orange extract, 100 grams honey
How to make: Use a food processor to mix the oil, cognac and juice with the sugar the cinnamon, the clove and the zest. Stop the processor add the flour, semolina (and the nuts if using them) and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands. The dough should very soft but not leaking oil. Use a small quantity to shape the treat. You can also use a cutter if you wish. Place the “melomakarona” on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for half an hour until they are very lightly browned. The next step is to soak them in syrup. You can either soak them cold in hot syrup or hot in cold syrup. I find that they become more “wet” when you soak them hot in syrup, drier in the middle when you soak them cold in hot syrup.
To make the syrup, boil 500 grams water with the sugar, the cinnamon sticks and the orange wedges (keep the skin on). When the syrup is ready (test by letting syrup drop from spoon, if you can see the drops falling and the last one drops slowly, it’s ready), add the honey. Stir until the honey is folded in and then remove from the fire. Remove the cinnamon sticks and orange wedges. You can either a) pour the hot syrup on melomakarona after they have cooled off completely (and let the syrup on) or b) dip hot melomakarona in syrup at room temperature for 10-20 seconds and then place them in a serving dish. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and, optionally, decorate with chopped walnuts.