Traditional Melomakarona Cookies

We’re deep in the throes of holiday season, and nothing screams “holidays” more than some home-baked goodies! These traditional Greek Christmas cookies are like the glorious lovechild of baklava and shortbread – soaked in honey syrup and coated in walnuts, they’re sure to be the star of any Christmas feast. As they say in Greece, “Kala Christougenna!

  • Serves: 2 Dozen Cookies
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Orange, zested
  • 1 c. Olive Oil
  • 1 c. Butter, melted
  • 3/4 c. Sugar
  • 6 1/2 c. Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 c. Orange Juice
  • 1/4 c. Brandy
  • 1 c. Honey
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • 1 (1 inch) piece Lemon Zest
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 c. Fresh Walnuts, coarsely ground

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and orange zest in a small bowl using fingers to rub zest and sugar together; this will release the essential oils in the zest. Add olive oil and butter and beat until well mixed, then beat in orange juice and brandy; in a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  2. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet until a loose dough forms that should be wet without being sticky. Stop mixing when flour is fully mixed in. Roll out cookies using a little over a tablespoon of dough; form dough into a smooth oval shape, then place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press a fork into a crosshatch pattern on the center of each cookie so it is lightly flattened. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

  3. While the cookies bake, combine honey, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon zest with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Place on medium-high heat until mixture boils, then lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon zest and stir in lemon juice. Immediately after cookies are removed from oven, carefully float cookies in syrup, turning once. Remove from syrup and transfer to a plate, then top with ground walnuts. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store cookies in a sealed container.

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