Today my husband and I went to our son’s classroom to talk about Greek Christmas carols. We explained that kids in Greece sing carols door-to-door on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and make their first real money earnings! We played for the New Year’s carols sung by the beautiful Typaldos choir. The kids were surprised to know that Santa in Greece comes on New Year’s Eve and not on Christmas Eve. It was fun to spend time with the kids. All of the kids were wonderful and open to learning new things. After they took a short quiz on Greek traditions we gave them the “melomakarona” I made with Mel the other day. They loved them! Some of them were so cute to come to me with their beautiful shy voices and ask for seconds.
Well, coming back empty-handed, I made a whole new bunch. Same recipe. This time I gave them a different shape. As for the syrup, I let them cool down entirely and dipped them into the hot syrup for 2 minutes, one by one! I guess I was in a good mood today.
Ingredients for the biscuits
- 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)
Ingredients for the syrup
- 500 grams water
- 700 grams sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 orange wedges (wash the orange before cutting the wedges)
- 100 grams honey
How to make the biscuits: 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 to give them different shapes. 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 prefer soaking them cold in hot syrup.
How 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, add the honey. You know the syrup is ready when you let the syrup drip from a spoon and see that the drops falling and the last one drops slowly. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes. Don’t overcook. When you add the honey, stir to help it incorporate and take it off the fire. Remove the cinnamon sticks and orange wedges. Here are some options for combining the syrup with the “melomakarona”.
a) Pour the hot syrup on the cooled “melomakarona” and let them soak in it for a few minutes.
b) Dip hot “melomakarona” in cooled syrup (room temperature) for 10-20 seconds and then place them in a serving dish. I, actually, never tried this method.
c) If you are not lazy, dip the cooled “melomakarona” into the hot syrup one by one and keep them dipped for a minute or two until they absorb as much syrup as you like.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top and, optionally, decorate with chopped pistachios.
Notes and tips: If your “melomakarona” dry by the time you want to serve them, make some more syrup and give them a refreshing dip!