greek honey cookies
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Melomakarona, the taste of Christmas

The birth of Jesus Christ, the Christmas manger, the Christmas tree, the school events, the angels, the three
wise men obviously attracted the most attention, but above all the sweet anticipation of Santa Claus.
When does he visit your home? On Christmas or New Year’s Eve? And all these ‘were sprinkled’ with plenty of
icing sugar, honey and walnuts in every bite of the most traditional Greek Christmas sweets, kourambiedes
(κουραμπιέδες) and melomakarona (μελομακάρονα). This is how Christmas in my childhood was like.

Customs and traditions from other cultures introduced something new, the ‘gold dust’ which dominated during the
holidays. Like the ittle wooden cottages made by Athanasios, our Christmas craft for this year.

But it is also something that does not change and we  will always be looking for it … the taste that is always so strong and unforgettable. Shortly before Christmas, the windows of the patisseries, in my unique and favourite city, Thessaloniki (known for its numerous and top quality patisseries), are decorated with these classic
traditional sweets.

The intoxicating smells of the oranges, clove, cinnamon as well as butter waft through the doors of the houses in
my city; ingredients which are necessary for kourambiedes and melomakarona.
There are countless recipes for those sweets and the truth is that every housewife has … the best!
My own recipe comes from a great, traditional cook, Athanasios beloved aunt, who I am very lucky I have met but also that
she has shared with me her secret recipes which take you to paradise!

Recipe

(we measure in a cup of the sour cream size)

  • 1+1/2 cup of sunflower +  1+1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of orange juice +zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup of cognac
  • 15gr baking soda
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1100gr flour for all purposes shifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon cinammon 1/2teaspoon clove powder

Syrop

  • 3cups sugar + 1 1/2 cups water + 150 gr honey + one orange cutted in half
  • chopped walnut mixed with 1 teaspoon cinammon and honey for the top

mix together liquid ingredients, add sugar, the sifthed flour, baking powder, soda, cinammon + clove and zest. Mix softly by hand (not too much) and shape to oval shape (would be nice to weight the dough 40gr approximately each)

bake in 180degrees (in the air) for 25 minutes and we wait to cool

for syrop (always hot the syrop and room temperature the cookies) : boil all the ingredients 3 minutes approximately and leave the sausepan in a low temperature on fire. Add the cookies and turn over the syrop for 20 seconds approximately. Leave them to cool and springle with lots of honey* and chopped walnut.

*honey but which one…? you only have to check the Tinos island and….honey

always for you

Athina

1 The word μελομακάρονο (melomakarono) derives from the word μακαρία (makaria) which was a piece of bread
offered after a funeral. Later, when μακαρία (makaria) was sprinkled with honey, it was named μελομακάρονο <
μέλι + μακαρία.

1 ΤΑ ΝΕΑ. Πώς πήραν το όνομά τους κουραμπιές και μελομακάρονο; December, 17 2021.

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