Melomakarona - Greek honey cookies are a delicious Christmas dessert. With orange zest, cinnamon, and olive oil, they are dipped in a honey syrup and sprinkled with crushed walnuts; they are an irresistible sweet treat.
If you love Greek desserts and sweets, you will also love these Christmas phyllo triangles with an almond filling, the heavenly tsoureki bread and portokalopita, a syrupy orange phyllo cake.
What is a melomakarono?
The melomakarono is an egg-shaped Greek dessert cookie made mainly from flour, olive oil, and honey. They are a traditional dessert prepared primarily during the Christmas holiday season.
They are impossible to resist; no one I know has only one melomakarono in one sitting. One batch lasts about 3 days during the holiday season in our house, so I usually make a fresh batch of these honey cookies every week or so.
How to make these cookies
It is pretty easy to make these Greek honey cookies.
Typical ingredients are flour or semolina, sugar, orange zest, fresh juice, cinnamon, and olive oil. Immediately after baking, melomakarona are immersed for a few seconds in cold syrup made of honey, sugar, and water. In the end, they are decorated with chopped walnuts and drizzled honey on top. I make my melomakarona with all-purpose flour.
- All-purpose flour
- Cinnamon, stick & ground
- Orange zest and orange juice
- Ground cloves
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sunflower oil
Make the syrup first. Put the water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the honey, stir and simmer for 10 min. Leave pot aside to cool. (Image 1)
Pour all the oils into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix oils slowly. (Image 2)
Add the flour gradually. Then add the cinnamon, baking powder, orange zest, sugar, orange juice, and baking soda. Mix all ingredients well. (Images 3+4)
Using your hands, shape each melomakarono into an oval shape, about 2 inches long each.
Place cookies on the baking sheets and bake for about 20 minutes in a 400 F preheated oven until they are crunchy and golden brown.
Once cookies are out of the oven, soak them into the cold syrup for 10-15 seconds. Place them on a wire rack to drain. (Image 6)
Drizzle melomakarona with honey and chopped walnuts.
Chocolate honey cookies
Are you a big fan of chocolate and can't do without it? You can cover these Greek cookies with chocolate. They are equally delicious and will satisfy all chocolate fans.
When the cookies are on the wire rack, you can pour melted chocolate over them and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
To make the chocolate you will need 3.5 oz baking chocolate and 1 tablespoon seed oil.
- Chop and place chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe bowl—microwave for 1 minute at 70% of the power.
- Remove and mix well to dissolve and melt the chocolate.
- Repeat, this time for 10-15 seconds, and mix well to dissolve any chocolate pieces.
Be cautious; melting chocolate in the microwave requires continuous attention since the melting time depends on its quantity, how much cocoa butter it contains, and how strong your microwave oven is. I suggest gradually melt the chocolate and stir in between. If your oven does not have a rotary motion, avoid it and melt the chocolate with the bain-marie method.
Tips and tricks
- Melomakarona will be even better the next day. The syrupy cookies easily absorb moisture from a humid environment and soften or, the opposite, dry in a dry air environment. Keep them stored in an airtight container or protect your platter with cling film.
- You can also roll the cookie mixture using a rolling pin about half-inch thick and cut the cookies with a cookie cutter.
- Melomakarona will keep at room temperature for up to a month.
- You can also freeze Greek honey cookies. Store them in a freezer appropriate container in layers. Protect each layer with some parchment paper so cookies won't stick to each other. They keep for up to a year in the freezer.
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Check out my Greek pantry staples
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Melomakarona - Greek Honey Cookies
- Medium saucepan
- Mixer (hand mixer or tabletop)
- Rimmed baking sheet
- a citrus squeezer
- 8½ oz extra virgin olive oil
- 8½ oz sunflower oil
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 lb all purpose flour
- 7 oz sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 5½ oz fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ⅓ teaspoon ground cloves
- walnuts finelly chopped
For the syrup
- 14 oz water
- 14 oz sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10½ oz honey
- Preheat oven to 410 F
- Line a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the syrup
- Put the water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the honey, stir and simmer for 10 min. Leave pot aside to cool.
Make the cookies
- Pour all the oils into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment , mix oils slowly. Add the flour gradually, then add the cinnamon, baking powder, orange zest, sugar, orange juice, and baking soda. Mix all ingredients well.
- Using your hands, shape the melomakarona into small oval shapes, about 2 inches long each.To achieve a textured look on the top, press each cookie on the side of a grater. You can also create a texture using a fork. Place cookies on the baking sheets and bake for about 15 minutes, until they are crunchy and dark golden brown.Once cookies are out of the oven, soak them into the cold syrup for 10 seconds.Place them on a wire rack to drain.
- Drizzle melomakarona with honey and chopped walnuts. Enjoy!
- Do not overwork the cookie mix for long, keep it short and sweet :-). Overworking will affect the texture of the mix, it will become harder to shape and the taste will be too "floury". It will affect how they will soak in the syrup.
- When you shape the cookies, again don't overwork. You want them to be soft and oily, easy to mold like pay dough.
- The melomakarono should always be hot and the syrup cold when you immerse them in. Keep them in the syrup for 10-15 seconds then drain on a wire rack.