Melomakarona are one of my favorite cookies on the planet. Like most Greek desserts, they have honey, cinnamon, and walnuts. What can I say? We don’t like to mess with a good thing. But, it’s this mixture that makes them perfect for the holidays (or really, year round, if you’re me!).
The dough for this cookie is pretty basic, but what makes them unique is the honey/simple syrup mixture the cookies are dunked into and the texture that arises from that process. The dipped cookies are pretty soft, due to the syrup, but are not chewy. The finished cookie has sweetness from the honey and sugar, a little spice from the cinnamon and cloves, and a nice crunch from the walnuts. That’s why they’re pretty much my perfect cookie.
makes 5-6 dozen cookies
6.5 cups flour
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1.5 cups vegetable/canola oil
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups honey
1/2 lb. walnuts, crushed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
To make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just incorporated. Add the oil and orange juice, mixing just until smooth and combined.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. (If necessary, add more flour to make a workable dough.) Knead lightly for just a few minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Roll cookies into oval shapes with the palm of your hand and place on a baking sheet. Prick the tops of each cookie lightly with a fork a few times (just to make the holes from the tines visible). Bake the cookies for about 20-25 minutes or until done. Set aside to cool completely. These are best dunked in the syrup after sitting out overnight, or for several hours.
To dip the cookies:
Mix the walnuts, cinnamon and cloves together in a bowl and set aside.
Once the cookies have cooled completely (preferably overnight), start making your syrup. Bring the water, honey and sugar to a boil in a large sauce or saute pan (I like using a high saute pan, the bigger surface area across will let you dip more cookies at once). After it has boiled for a minute or two and thickened slightly, skim the foam off the top. Turn burner to low, just to keep the syrup warm.
In batches, dunk the cookies in the honey syrup. Leave them in there for about a minute, before removing them with a slotted spatula and placing them on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Spoon the dipped cookies with the walnut mixture (you’ll want to do this as you go, so the tops remain sticky enough from the honey to make the walnuts adhere).
Store these in an airtight container and they should keep for quite a while (if they last that long :)